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Elroy Hirsch Biography

Wolverine And Badger, Launches Pro Career, Wide-open Offense, Gm, Athletic Director


American football player

Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch was one of the National Football League's early pass receiving standouts

Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch

who helped glamorize that position, just as pro football offenses were opening up. "Start with those Crazy Legs, the long, muscular limbs that appeared to gyrate in six different directions when shifted into warp speed," the Sporting News wrote. "Elroy Hirsch walked like a duck but ran pass patterns like an awkward young gazelle trying to evade a hungry pursuer."

Defensive backs wore themselves out over 12 years trying to catch Hirsch, who starred for the Los Angeles Rams after three seasons with the Chicago Rockets of the All-America Football Conference. His best year was in 1951, when he caught 17 touchdown passes, nine of 44 yards or more, helping the Rams win the NFL championship. Hirsch, who was central to the Rams' revolutionary "three-end" offense in the 1950s, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968. Hirsch also starred in some movies before becoming a Rams executive. From 1969 through 1987, he was athletic director at the University of Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers to one of their best seasons ever, in 1942.

Sketch by Paul Burton

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Famous Sports StarsFootball