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Sidney Luckman (November 21, 1916 – July 5, 1998) was an American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) from 1939 through 1950.
Most passing was done by the tailback, and then usually only on third down with long yardage to go.
Halas and his coaches, primarily Clark Shaughnessy, invented a rather complex scheme building on the traditional T-formation, but needed the right quarterback to run it properly.
In 1940, during his second season with the Bears, Luckman took over the offense and led the Bears to the title game against Sammy Baugh and the Washington Redskins.
He competed on the football team from 1936 until the New College closed in 1939, when he transferred to Columbia College. In fact, the 1936 varsity football squad had five other New College students, Hubert Schulze, Edward Stanzyk, Oscar Bonom, Harry Ream, and Antoni Mareski.
Coach Little had a problem of getting good high school athletes because of the entrance requirements at Columbia, and Columbia didn’t have any physical education undergraduate program, and so, when New College was started Lou Little was happy because they had a P. At Columbia Luckman was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.
Keen to remain in Columbia to stay close to his family, he took on jobs such as dish-washing, baby-sitting, and messenger delivery around the campus.
At Columbia, as a part of the football team, he completed 180 of 376 passes for 2,413 yards and 20 touchdowns and finished third in the 1938 Heisman Trophy voting, behind Davey O'Brien and Marshall Goldberg.
Hearing of Sid Luckman's exploits as a single-wing tailback at Columbia University, Chicago Bears owner and coach George Halas believed Luckman had the ability to become an effective T-formation quarterback, and traveled to New York to watch him play.
Halas then convinced the Pittsburgh Pirates (later the Steelers) to draft Luckman second overall and then trade him to the Bears because he was interested in using Luckman's skills to help him restructure the offensive side of the game.