Thursday, February 3, 2011
Chris Hanburger Of The Washington Redskins Is On The Cusp Of Immortality
The Pro Football Hall of Fame voters meet on February 7, 2011. In the group of players that they will decide from, Washington Redskins legend Chris Hanburger, a Seniors nominee, could very well find himself being inducted into the heralded walls of Canton.
Some of you may recall my quest to get Chris his long overdue respect. His nine Pro Bowls are the most in Redskins history, and his four First Team All-Pro honors is tied with the legendendaty "Slingin" Sammy Baugh as the most in franchise history. He was also named 1972 Defensive Player of the Year by the NFL 101 Committee.
I wanted to give you real Redskins and NFL fans a gift. I spent months talking to players and coaches Chris played against or with. They graciously gave me quotes and letters, which I compiled into a package and submitted to the Seniors Committee of the Hall of Fame a few months ago.
For those who saw Hanburger play, none of these quotes will surprise you. For those younger fans oblivious to his greatness, this may help educate you on the impact Chris Hanburger had on the game of football while wearing a Redskins jersey.
Please enjoy :
1963 - 1978
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1994
As tight end playing for St. Louis and in the same division as the Redskins,
I played against Chris twice a season for quite a few years. When I first
started playing, linebackers were big strong guys, not very mobile and
geared more to stopping the running game.
Chris should be the "poster boy" for the new era of linebackers that could
not only be effective against the run, but equally effective against the
pass. His combination of strength and speed made it very difficult to block
him or even get position on him. His ability to anticipate and then react
allowed him to knock down passes in the intermediate distances and make
tackles on the opposite side of the field.
He had to be the first linebacker to broaden the scope of the linebacker and
increase the expectations of other teams of their linebackers.
I seriously doubt if I ever effectively blocked Chris. My guess is I only
got in his way for a split second, because he was intent on being where the
ball was on every play.
He was a player all teams had to prepare for...or at least try to.
Added to his great skill is another important aspect of Chris Hanburger. We
need to remember the gentlemen that played this game. These are players that
played the game with their heart because they appreciated the opportunity
and wanted to do their best. They modestly reflect on their accomplishments
simply because they would not have been satisfied with less.
Chris Hanburger belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Former Head Coach, The Washington Redskins
1981 - 1992, 2004 - 2007
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1996
When Chris was an active player, I coached against him when I was an
assistant coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. When we prepared our game plans,
we always considered how Chris might react against our plays. We considered
him to be an exceptional player and we always took that into consideration
during our game planning. He was an all around player who made the most of
his abilities. He was tough and smart – two player qualities that I always
wanted in my players.
Even though I never coached Chris, I have respect for him as a person and a
football player. He is a big part of the Washington Redskins history.
With great pleasure I would like to tell what a great football player Chris
was for the Washington Redskins Football Team during his professional
During my 9 years as an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys I had many
opportunities to block Chris, which was a very hard task for anyone.
His knowledge of the game and exceptional speed made him a difficult target
Coach Tom Landry would always point out the ability that Chris had and would
emphasize the need to block him on every play. There was only a few players
that we would call out for special attention and Chris Hanburger was one of
We played back in the days when we played with pride and dignity and no one
displayed this better than Chris Hanburger. He is a credit to the NFL and a
member of the retired players who played with and against him.
Chris Hanburger is genuinely worthy of induction into the NFL Hall Of Fame.
His long Pro Bowl career where he was chosen by his peers speaks for itself.
This shows what his opponents thought of him.
This is the kind of player we need in Canton, OH.
1953 - 1998
Chris is the type of individual that belongs in the Hall of Fame. He would
be a good fit, he really, really would.
He was spectacular, but you would never know by his personality. He did his
job and went about his work, every week, every day. Chris was a team player
all the way.
He was just a great person, a tremendous athlete and of great, great
character. He was a very intelligent linebacker and moved very well. At
that time, he was probably faster than most linebackers. He was very
serious, serious in life and serious in football.
To who it may concern,
This letter is a vote for Chris Hanburger to be inducted into the Pro
Football Hall of Fame.
While other Redskins have been inducted, Chris went to the pro-bowl 9 times;
more than any other Redskin. Light for a linebacker (220), his play was year
in and year out at the top of the NFL.
Chris made up for his lack of size with extreme quickness and textbook
tackling. He was undoubtedly the quickest linebacker off the ball that I
have ever seen.
He also did a fantastic job in pass coverage being able to cover excellent
backs one on one.
And something that is frequently overlooked was his ability to call defenses
on the field. I doubt seriously that any defensive player nowadays had the
ability to look at a formation and to get the defense into the right call
99% of the time.
Chris was a leader by example and shunned the limelight. He was strictly a
If the committee to elect will look into his playing career, they will see
exactly what I am talking about.
Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia 1994-1998
U.S. Senator, 2001-2007
“Chris Hanburger was a perfectionist and an always prepared leader and
captain of my father’s Redskins Defense. Chris Hanburger was consistently in
great physical shape, mentally tough and prepared, having meticulously
studied opposing offenses. He was always in position to make a play or break
a QB’s nose if he ventured into Chris’s territory.
“Because of his leadership and outstanding record of play, Chris Hanburger,
a quiet man, surely deserve strong consideration for the Pro Football Hall
of Fame. He was a premier LB during his playing days as his record shows,
including numerous Pro Bowl appearances.”
JOHN E. McVAY
1976 - 1978
1989 NFL Executive of the Year
Chris Hanburger played on those great Redskins teams, and for a super coach
in George Allen. The fact that Chris was a perennial Pro-bowler should help
his cause greatly. He was truly one of the best LBs in the league.
Chris was a little undersized but was very productive and could cover
receivers out of the backfield with ease. I remember him as being
outstanding, on a team loaded with great players.
1961 - 1973
To :Senior Committee HOF
I am sending this letter to you to recognize and give Chris Hanburger his
place in the HOF
In my thirteen years playing in the NFL I had the honor to play with ten
teammates that are in the HOF. Chris has the qualities that all of these ten
Hall Of Famers possess.
1. Leadership on the field
2. 9 Pro Bowls
3. Longevity – 14 yrs
WILLIE J. YOUNG
1966 - 1975
As a former professional football player, I would like to recommend Chris
Hanburger, to the National Football Hall of Fame.
Chris possesses all of the qualities a talented athlete should have in order
to receive this prestigious recognition. Chris is a valuable asset to the
sport of football. He is a professional person on and off the playing field.
Teammates and friends compliment his character of not just a player but
also, as an outstanding man.
You'd be hard pressed to find a player who was more dedicated than Chris,
and I recommend him as a rock solid addition for this outstanding honor.
1967 - 1980
I FIRST MET CHRIS AT A MINI CAMP IN WASHINGTON DC. I HAD JUST BEEN TRADED TO
THE SKINS FROM THE LA RAMS ALONG WITH JACK PARDEE, MAXIE BAUGHN AND OTHERS
INCLUDING RICHIE PETTIBONE.
I WAS DEFENSIVE RIGHT TACKLE AND I WAS HAPPY TO HAVE CHRIS ON THE RIGHT
LINEBACKER. I HAD WATCHED HIM PLAY FOR A FEW YEARS, AND I KNEW HE WAS THE
BEST IN THE LEAGUE.
ALWAYS A GOOD LEADER, OUR DEFENSIVE CAPTAIN AND DEFENSIVE GENERAL ( SIGNAL
HE MADE BIG PLAYS, AND WAS THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER ON OUR TEAM FOR ALL THE
YEARS I PLAYED THERE.
WITH 9 PRO BOWL APPEARANCES, AND ALL THE OTHER CREDENTIALS, THERE IS NO
DOUBT THAT CHRIS HANBURGER BELONGS IN THE NFL HALL OF FAME ALONG WITH MY
GOOD FRIEND KENNY HOUSTON.
I WILL BE HAPPY TO DISCUSS WITH THE SENIOR COMMITTEE IF NEEDED.
1961 – 1972
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1988
Chris was a hell of a player. He could beat you with finesse. He was always
in position, and was smart and quick. He also could use power.
He was quiet and did his job, having a great career without the attention he
People get too caught up in statistics. He knocked me on my ass.
When I was in Dallas, Coach Landry would always tell us to watch him.
He belongs in the Hall Of Fame.
1968 - 1977
Hall Of Fame Inductee 2007
Chris was smart. He was a real student of the game, and studied his opponents. He had a nose for the ball, and was very hard to block. He always gave me a headache.
Wide Receiver/ Coach
1955 – 1967, 1968-1992
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1973
He should be in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Nine Pro Bowls speaks for themselves.
I remember one play I caught a pass, and Hanburger absolutely blasted me. As he was laying on me, I fixed my helmet, looked at him and asked, “Are you OK?” Hanburger looked at me stunned by the question.
1957 – 1974
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1983
Chris Hanburger is the smartest linebacker to ever play in the NFL. He was a
coach on the field.
Chris belongs in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. His nine Pro Bowls is proof.
1973 – 1985
Hall Of Fame Inductee 2003
You cannot talk about the NFL, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, without talking
about Chris Hanburger. He had more heart than anyone in the game.
Do not judge a book by its cover. He played like a giant.
I cannot believe he is not in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame!
1969 - 1979
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1985
Chris was an outstanding linebacker in the NFL. Even though we had our great rivalry and I didn't like the Redskins, I respected him.
1973 - 1985
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1991
He was, at that time, the smartest player in the league. We did everything we could to try to eliminate him from the play. We knew if we didn't neutralize him, then we had less of a chance of winning.
1968 - 1979
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1987
Chris Hanburger was a fine and dedicated player who certainly has the qualifications to be seriously considered for induction in to the Pro Football of Fame.
1964 - 1974
Hall Of Fame Inductee 2000
Chris belongs in Canton. His nine Pro Bowls is proof.
1960 – 1970, 1974
Hanburger very much should be in Canton. There are less qualified player
than him already in.
He played to win, and was smart. He was seldom fooled, and he played even
when he was injured.
1973 – 1986
Chris Hanburger was one of the best. It takes an All-Pro, such as myself, to
know another All-Pro.
He was the toughest linebacker I ever went against in my career.
He was extremely difficult to block, and he was never out of position. He
was a smart, hard working player who got the job done.
He could read you. He knew what you were going to do before you did.
1964 – 1970
I feared Chris Hanburger much more than Dick Butkus, or any other linebacker
in the NFL. He could run with me, and he could hit very hard. He was also
Chris Hanburger deserves entry into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
1970 – 1979
Chris Hanburger should be in Canton. The voters must wake up. He went to
nine Pro Bowls!
Voters do not realize how hard it is to just make an NFL team, let alone be
voted to the Pro Bowl by your peers.
He is at the top of my list of linebackers I played against in my career.
I respected him. He had great football sense. He was very fast, and hard to
block. His knowledge of defense was excellent, and he always got to the
Tight End/ Punter
1963 – 1970
Chris is the most intelligent, intense, and disciplined player I have ever
been around. He had his game face on 24/7. He was a great leader, and I
liked having him lead our team.
He was active, tough, quick, and very hard to fool.
1958 – 1970
Chris Hanburger deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. He was a
great player. It is sad he has been overlooked all of these years.
1973 – 1984
He was one of the best, and never got the credit he deserved. He ran the
defense for the Redskins, and changed the way defenses were operated.
He had the respect of every member of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was smart,
and he would wear us out. I was always chasing him, but never caught him. I
used to watch him in amazement.
1972 – 1974
Chris Hanburger was the first defensive quarterback ever in NFL history.
Coach George Allen put him in charge of the defense, and he was never out of
He was an invincible warrior, and his nine Pro Bowls were voted by his
peers. There is no way that Chris Hanburger should not be in Canton.
1970 – 1978
I cannot believe Chris Hanburger is not in Canton already!
He was outstanding. Intelligent, sneaky, and unblockable. He always was
ready to play, and did everything a great linebacker is supposed to do.
1973 – 2003
Chris Hanburger played a mistake free game. He just never made mistakes. Don
Coryell, Joe Gibbs, and I would game plan on him, but it did not work.
He was intelligent and excellent. He deserves induction into Canton. .
I will always remember one particular game. George Allen had Hanburger
reading the hand signs Gibbs and I was flashing to Jim Hart, our
quarterback. Hanburger kept making play after play, destroying our game
plan. I got so mad. On the next play, I saw Hanburger looking over at our
sideline. I flashed him the middle finger, which caused Hanburger’s jaw to
drop as he looked at me in disbelief. I still laugh today at this memory.
1959 – 1968
Chris Hanburger is as fine a linebacker who has ever played. It is a mystery
as to why he has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame yet.
1969 – 1981
The best outside linebackers I ever faced were Chris Hanburger, Jack Ham, and Chuck Howley. It was Hanburger, however, who gave me the most trouble and taught me the most. Hanburger made me a better player.
He was scary.
He was the guy who captained the Redskins defense, and called their signals. I hardly ever beat him, and it usually took me all game just to beat him on a play.
You never knew when he was going to blitz, and he often jumped over me on a blitz. He was smart, and gave you different looks. He was a nightmare to oppose.
You would just hope to try to beat him some of the time. He was slippery, and was resourceful. He was difficult to beat athletically, because he was such a great athlete. He was great at the point of attack.
He could really run, and was fluid in his flow. You had to game plan specifically against him, because you knew he was a top opponent.
When I was with the Redskins, he was a great teammate. He was really great in practice also.
He was a big play guy who defined the WLB position. There is a reason he was a Pro Bowl player nine times.
The fact he is not in Canton shows the voters do not understand how good he was.
1966 – 1977
Chris Hanburger is one of the all-time greats. He was a strong leader both on and off the field.
It is inexcusable that he has yet to be mentioned for induction. He went to nine Pro Bowls, the most in franchise history.
He knew how to read plays. He would argue with Sam Huff in the huddle over what play to call, which kept the team loose.
He was a great friend and teammate.
1967 – 1980
I had lots of clashes on the gridiron with him, and I never looked forward to opposing Chris Hanburger. He was an all around linebacker.
He was studied, and he knew his opponents. He was always well prepared.
Not only was he very smart, but he was a hard-hitting linebacker. He was really, really tough. He deserves induction.
1961 – 1975
Chris Hanburger was a force that was a factor on every play. He deserves entry into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
You had to watch him play in order to consider him. He was smart and reliable.
1974 – 1981
Chris taught me everything I know how to play linebacker.
He was our “one” general on the team. He knew over 300 audibles for our defense.
He was modest, smart, quick, and fast. He was always one step ahead of the opponents. He had this amazing ability to read the eyes of running backs. He had a sixth sense.
Chris Hanburger should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
1963 – 1969
Chris Hanburger belongs in Canton.
He was very smart and had great speed. His strength was his ability to diagnose a play.
1964 – 1977
I was Chris Hanburger’s roommate for eight seasons on road games. He was always a smart player, and one of the hardest hitting players in the league.
He had a quiet, business like approach. He was not a “look at me” type of player, meaning he would never blow his own horn. He put the team first.
He would study the opponent’s non-stop. He knew the opposition, and was excellent at studying their tendencies.
He was a great player, and a team player. He deserves to be in Canton.
1964 – 1994
Chris Hanburger deserves induction into Canton.
He was a complete linebacker who I respected. He was a winner who could beat you in several ways.
1965 – 1972
Chris Hanburger was the smartest player I ever played with. I really respected him.
He taught me how to read a defense, and he often covered me on the field. He was so smart; you knew you could depend on him to play a defender. It made my job easier.
Our defense was dependent on him to get us in the right position. He was regimented on defensive duty, and knew all of our assignments.
He could run with everyone in the NFL, and he often covered wide receivers on pass plays. He is also one of the best blitzers I ever saw play.
Chris Hanburger was a great player, and he deserves induction into Canton.
1971 - 1984
I had the opportunity to play against Chris Hanburger several times.
Although small, he was an outstanding NFL linebacker.
He was equally good versus the run and pass and was one of the chief reasons the Redskins were so good during that era.
1966 – 1973
Chris was very smart. He knew the game, and the game plan. He was always in position, and knew his assignments. He was prepared.
Hanburger was quick and elusive, and made blockers miss. He had good finesse. He was a great teammate, level headed, and was never in a fracas.
Offensive Guard/ Tackle
1970 – 1979
Chris Hanburger deserves induction.
Look at his nine Pro Bowls. He is a more complete linebacker than guys who are already in Canton.
He was a fantastic linebacker. He supported the run and pass with excellence.
1960 – 1970
Chris was a team player, and not arrogant. He was really bright, fast, and tough. He came to play every day, was durable, and highly respected in the locker room.
He was a student of the game, and would learn from Sam Huff often.
Chris was a great linebacker, and he should be inducted into Canton.
1963 – 1975
Chris Hanburger is one of the best linebackers I ever saw play the game.
He was tremendously quick. No one could block him.
He was great defending the run and the pass, and was also excellent at rushing the passer.
1963 – 1972
I highly recommend Chris Hanburger being inducted into Canton.
He deserves it. He was dynamic and enthusiastic.
Defensive End/ Linebacker
1961 - 1969
Chris was a sure tackler, and a devastating blindside hitter on the blitz.
On certain plays, we would switch responsibilities. He would blitz, and I would watch for the pass.
He loved to hit right-handed quarterbacks.
He was also a great human being.
1970 – 1980
Chris was a great leader. He was the captain of the defense.
He was smart, and could diagnose a play in a hurry. He studied film non-stop.
Chris was tough, strong, quiet, and he was also a heck of a guy.
If he said something, while watching film with the team, you knew something was very, very wrong in the way we executed a play.
1961 – 1978
Chris Hanburger was the best player we had on the Redskins.
He was the captain of the defense, and ran the show.
He deserves induction into Canton.
1973 – 1984
There has never been a finer linebacker in the history of the NFL than Chris Hanburger.
There was also none neither smarter nor tougher than him either.
I cannot see why he is not in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
1961 – 1969
Chris was smart, fast, and hit hard.
He deserves consideration for the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
1965 - 1978
187 Games Played
17 Fumble Recoveries
9 Pro Bowls
4 First Team All-Pro Teams
1972 NFL 101 NFC Defensive Player of the Year
Christian G. Hanburger was an 18th round draft choice of the Redskins in 1965. He was the 245TH player chosen that year. He was a 25 year old rookie, due to his service in the Army before going to the University of North Carolina.
At UNC, he was a 2 way player who was named All ACC at Center his junior and senior years. In 1963, his team won the ACC Championship.
Hanburger played right away and was in the Pro Bowl by his second year in the league. He would then begin a string of Pro Bowl appearances until 1969.
He then resumed that string in 1972 until 1976.
Sacks and tackles were not recorded in those days, but Hanburger was a playmaker.
He is considered one of the best of his era. He was known for his blitzing ability and pass coverage.
Ever the complete player, he returned three fumbles for touchdowns, the third most in NFL history, in his career to go with two more on interceptions.
In 1972, Hanburger captained the Over The Hill gangs defense to a Super Bowl appearance and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year by the NFL 101 Club.
Hanburger was known not only for good speed, but his exceptional intelligence and quickness.
He had the innate ability to diagnose a play before the ball was hiked. He often would cover the other teams tight end and peel off to knock passes down meant for wide receivers.
Hall Of Fame coach George Allen liked to leave Hanburger in charge of the play calling on defense, and named his team captain for many seasons.
Chris Hanburger's nine Pro Bowl appearances are still the most by any player in the entire history of the Washington Redskins.
His four First Team All-Pro honors are tied with Hall Of Famer Sammy Baugh as the most in team history.
Please compare Chris Hanburger's achievements and all around game to some other linebackers already inducted into Canton.
Of the 18 linebackers that are inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, only seven are outside linebackers like Hanburger.
As you will be able to see, Hanburger exceeds or equals all of these football legends in several categories.
19 Fumble Recoveries
5 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro
19 Fumble Recoveries
9 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro
11 Fumble Recoveries
10 Pro Bowls
8 First Team All-Pro
9 Fumble Recoveries
9 Pro Bowls
6 First Team All-Pro
16 Fumble Recoveries
8 Pro Bowls
4 First Team All-Pro
12 Fumble Recoveries
7 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro
21 Fumble Recoveries
8 Pro Bowls
6 First Team All-Pro