Al Wistert Pro Football Hall of Fame Petition
Albert Alexander "Ox"Wistert was born December 28, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois and attended Foreman High School. He played college football at the University of Michigan (1940-42) and professionally with the Philadelphia Eagles (1943-51). He played his entire nine-year NFL career for the Eagles and became the team captain in 1946 through 1950. Al Wistert played college football for the University of Michigan Wolverines. He is one of the three Wistert brothers, also Alvin and Francis, who were named All-American tackles at Michigan and were later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (Al was inducted in 1968). He was the first Michigan Alum to be selected to the NFL Pro Bowl (1950). He and his brothers are three of only seven players to have had their numbers retired by the Michigan football program. When asked about his family's football careers at Michigan, Wistert stated, "If I'm not mistaken I think this is unprecedented in the annals of college football, that three brothers all would go to the same school, all play football, all play tackle, all wore the same number 11 and all made All-American. Two of us played on four different National Championship teams. And we all were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame." Wistert, an offensive and defensive tackle, introduced the stand-up style of blocking to the NFL. Instead of crab blocks and roll blocks, Al preferred to remain on his feet and use his outstanding strength and agility to position himself between the defender and the ball. This style allowed Wistert to execute multiple blocks at the line of scrimmage and down field. A member of the NFL's 1940's All Decade Team, Wistert was an eight time All Pro during his nine seasons. Five of those seasons he was a unanimous First Team consensus selection, being named First Team All Pro on EVERY wire service's selection. Unfortunately, during all but one year of Al's career, the NFL had suspended the Pro Bowl, thereby limiting him to only one Pro Bowl selection. Pro Bowl selections are a crucial number that many NFL Hall of Fame voters seem to use as a criteria. It is safe to say that had the Pro Bowl been active during the length of Wistert's career, he would've made the Pro Bowl at least 8 of his 9 NFL seasons. When asked if there was anything lacking from his great career, Wistert added, "The two things that would really make my career complete is to be inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll. "It would be an honor for me because I would be with so many former teammates. I feel my play spoke for itself." While Wistert still has not been added to the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll, both of the Championship teams he captained in 1948 and 1949 are included. Teammates Chuck Bednarik, Steve VanBuren, Pete Pihos, and Alex Wociechowicz are not only Honor Roll inductees, but also members of the NFL Hall of Fame. Bednarik, when asked recently who he felt was the player from his era most deserving induction into the Hall of Fame did not hesitate. "Without question, 'Ox' (Wistert) should've been there years ago. It's a crime that he's been ignored for so long," Bednarik said.