The Stanford football program has been extremely successful in producing NFL talent, which includes three Hall of Famers, two Super Bowl MVPs, "the best corner in the league," 11 First- Team All Pro players and 23 Pro Bowlers with a combined 68 appearances to date. This is part three of that series.
5. John Brodie
First-round pick in 1957 NFL Draft
6'1", 198-pound quarterback
NFL playing career: San Francisco 49ers (1957-1973)
A college football Hall of Famer, an NFL MVP and a senior PGA Tour golfer, Brodie led the NFL in passing yards three times, completion percentage three times and touchdowns twice.
After five roughly average seasons as the 49ers starter, Brodie broke out as a star in 1965, making the Pro Bowl, earning Second-Team All Pro honors and leading the NFL in a number of passing categories. In 1970, he would win the MVP and lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship game. However, he would never advance to the Super Bowl.
Brodie finished in the top-10 in passing yards and touchdowns in a season ten times between 1961 and 1971. He still ranks second in 49ers history - above Hall of Famer Steve Young and just below Hall of Famer Joe Montana - in career passing yards for the franchise. His number has been retired by the 49ers.
In just his third season in 1959, Brodie not only started two games for the 49ers but made the cut at the U.S. Open. He would later win an event on the Senior PGA Tour.
4. Ernie Nevers
Signed with Duluth Eskimos in 1926
6'0" 204-pound fullback and linebacker
NFL playing career: Duluth Eskimos (1926-1927), Chicago Cardinals (1929-1931)
If there was ever a man who deserved the title of the NFL's Iron Man, it's Nevers. His NFL career may have been short, but it was quite the incredible ride.
In 1926, Nevers left the St. Louis Browns baseball team, where he famously surrendered two home runs to Babe Ruth, to join Duluth. He rarely left the field for Duluth, playing on both sides of the ball, and earned First-Team All Pro honors both years.
Then in 1929, the former Rose Bowl MVP not only served as the fullback for the Chicago Cardinals but also the coach. That year, he scored 40 points singlehandedly in a game, scoring six touchdowns and kicking four extra points. He is still the only player to ever score 40 points in a game. He made the All-Pro First Team three more times in his time with the Cardinals.
Nevers was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963. He would also later be named to the NFL's 50th and 75th anniversary teams. NFL Network ranks Nevers as the 89th all-time best player in the NFL.
After his career, Nevers enlisted in the military and served in World War II.