When we watch a game of football now, we easily get engrossed in the action, the way the game is played, how the players handle the ball, and each other.
For some of us, we cannot help but watch the game, some of us love to bet on it thinking about the Moneyline, betting the spread, or NFL player props.
However, football has changed in its many years of activity, and when we watch the games we likely do not think about how much it has changed over the years. But the game has changed a great deal, there was actually once a period of time, where professional football players were expected to play multiple positions rather than just one.
When we watch an NFL game today, we find it hard to picture any players playing both offensive positions and defensive positions, there would just be too much work, and their bodies could easily burn out.
However, back nearly 70 years ago, this wasn’t the case.
What is a two-way player?
A two-way player is a player that appears in a sport, such as American Football, where an offensive and defensive system is needed. A two-way player is a reference to a player who excels at both of these positions. However, in American Football, because a player will typically specialize in either offensive or defensive play, it refers to a player who actually chooses to do both.
In the NFL, there are not many two-way players, as a majority of offensive players do not play on the defense and vice versa. A major concern of the NFL is that there is a high possibility of injury when a player is ‘overused’, as two-way players would likely be.
In the early years of the NFL, it was a more common play, but it has become rarer now, simply for the health and safety of the players.
At the college level, some players will play on both sides of the ball, especially the more ‘electric’ athletes.
The best two-way players in the NFL.
So, who were the best two-way players in the NFL? We have a few names for you. These players are ones we have the utmost respect for, as two-way playing is definitely not easy.
Lou Groza is our first noted two-way player. He was quite the physical specimen. He played from 1946 until 1959, and then again from 1961, until 1967 with the Cleveland Browns. He was named to nine Pro Bowls, as he was an elite offensive tackle, but he was also known for his fantastic field goals.
These were his two talents, being an offensive tackle, but also exceptional at field goals.
Richter was a Hall of Fame linebacker, Offensive Guard, and a kicker. He was very skilled and quite the athlete indeed. He played from 1954 until 1962, with the Los Angeles Rams, as he was named to eight Pro Bowls, as well as being named to two All-Pro Selections as well.
He retired with an outstanding 193 points to his name and was known as one of the best two-way players in history.
Bobby Layne is an all-time favorite of many, and is most certainly revered for his outstanding career. He is not only one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, but he is also one of the best kickers we ever did see.
He was the third overall pick in the 1948 draft, and he played for the Chicago Bears, New York Bulldogs, Detroit Lions, and the Pittsburgh Steelers during his career.
He threw an astounding 26,768 yards, which also included being named to five Pro Bowls. He is also a member of the 1950s All-Decade team too!
Another well-known player, and one of the players who is actually known for being an outstanding two-way player. If you type in ‘two-way player’ on the internet, Red Badgro’s name will always crop up in the results.
He is a Hall of Famer who played offensive end as well as a defensive end from 1927 until 1936 for the New York Yankees, New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was very skilled and very multi-faceted.
He recorded an amazing 25 career receptions for 560 yards, and seven touchdowns, while also being named as being an All-Pro four times too!
Alex Wojciechwicz sorted numbers 30 and 50 as an All-pro linebacker and center for the Detroit Lions and Eagles. He was named as being an All-Pro twice, and he won a fantastic two NFL Championships in his career. He was, of course, eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well.
Yet another very talented and multiskilled player.
George Blanda was never one of the best quarterbacks to play the game, however, he was a very skilled kicker, which really made up for it.
He was a Hall of Famer, and was named as being All-pro twice, as he was part of the AFL All-time-team. He recorded a great 4,008 pass attempts while he played for the Chicago Bears, the Baltimore Volts, Houston Oilers, and the Oakland Raiders.
While it is important that a quarterback be greatly skilled for their team, George certainly made up for the areas in which he lacked skill with his brilliant kicks.
Bronko Bagurski might actually have been best known for his playing as a fullback. In fact, he was so big for his position, and was actually much bigger than a majority of offensive linemen during his time in the game.
However, he did not only play as a fullback, but he also played as a defensive lineman as well and was also a standout at the position too.
All in all, we can safely say that Bronko was not someone you wanted to mess with on the field. He was a talented tank in his game, and he was remembered for it.