Deep in the heart of Redskins Park lies a treasure trove of memories stored in large manila envelopes and tucked away in filing cabinets. There are game programs, news clippings, and of course, black and white photos.
Every now and then we take a trip down memory lane, and this week, I have a particularly timely sequence of photos of soon-to-be Hall Of Famer, Chris Hanburger.
Hanburger was a dominant linebacker and a lifetime Redskin. Among his many accolades, he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year, and was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection.
General Manager Bruce Allen said of Hanburger’s induction:
“He was a great competitor. Like you hear coaches today talk about the details, Chris was into the details. He made his teammates accountable.”
“Obviously his achievements even today when you look back are significant. Remember in his era, he called all of the defenses, not just the audibles,” Allen continued. “There was no radio in the helmet from the coaches. He had to work to prepare and call all of the plays.”
“I think it’s magnificent for Chris and all of his teammates that he got honored with a selection to the Hall of Fame,” Allen continued. “It’s going to be a special weekend. Chris’ speech will probably be about one minute long, but the party we are having for him and his teammates is going to be a great tribute for him and the Redskins.”
Hanburger also holds the distinction of playing over a 12-year period, during which the team changed helmet designs twice.
His own personal taste in hair style changed a couple of times too. It’s not exactly clear when the yearbook photos were taken, but we can indicate from the helmet design approximately when it was.
The old Redskins helmet with the spear design was the team’s helmet from 1965–when Hanburger entered the league–to 1969:
In 1969, the team hired former Packers legend Vince Lombardi to coach the Redskins. Let’s just say that he brought more than his playbook to Washington, adapting the team’s helmet to something a little more familiar.
The change in helmet design also ushered in a change in yearbook poses and hairstyle:
After only one season at the helm of the Redskins, Lombardi passed away. The team used the “R” style from 1970-71 seasons, but in 1972, they were looking for a change.
Hanburger is long-overdue in his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, and should have a tremendous celebration this weekend at Canton. If you’re free, try to make the drive out there, and fill Ohio with Burgundy and Gold. If you’re anywhere else this weekend, then tune in to coverage on the NFL Network, starting Saturday at 1 p.m.
(Many thanks to Larry Michael for the assist on the photos)
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