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  • Gerald Ford's two greatest regrets in life were losing the starting center job in college to All-American Chuck Bernard and losing a presidential election?

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Chuck Bernard
Date of birth: August 29, 1911(1911-08-29)
Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois
Date of death: March 1962 (aged 50)
Career information
Position(s): C
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
College: Michigan
Organizations
 As player:
1934 Detroit Lions
Playing stats at NFL.com

Joseph Charles "Chuck" Bernard (August 29, 1911 – March 1962) was a professional American football center who played for the Detroit Lions in 1934 and was a two-time All-American at the University of Michigan. He was born in Chicago, Illinois.

Contents

An All-American Center at the University of Michigan

Bernard attended Benton Harbor High School before enrolling at Michigan. Bernard was a 60-minute player who was said to be equally brilliant on offense and defense. In 1928 and 1929, Bernard was named the Michigan outstanding prep athlete. Bernard was an All-American center on the Wolverines back-to-back undefeated National Championship teams in 1932 and 1933. The 1932 team went 8-0 (including six shutouts) and outscored opponents 123 to 13 -- an average of 1.6 points per game by U-M's opponents.[1] The 1933 team went 7-0-1, outscored its opponents, 131 to 18, and its only blemish was a scoreless tie against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Little Brown Jug game.[2]

In an article in Collier's magazine, famed sports writer Grantland Rice said of Bernard: "His height, weight and physical power combined with a keen football intelligence, made him an ideal man backing up the line. He was quick at diagnosing plays and went to the right spot. He was one of football's best defenders against the forward pass and adept at intercepting passes."[3]

Bernard was a consensus first-team All-American, being selected by Walter Camp and Associated Press, among others. In a January 1934 article announcing the All-American selections, Time magazine noted: "Michigan's Bernard, a 215 lb (98 kg). cyclone ... (was) picked by practically every All-American selector of standing."[4] Associated Press sports editor Alan Gould wrote: "Without Bernard, the Wolverines could hardly have topped the toughest league in the country."[5] Along with Whitey Wistert, Bernard was one of chief reasons why 1933 Wolverine lines were said to be "impregnable."[6]

Gerald Ford: Backup to an All-American

Bernard is also remembered as the All-American center for whom U.S. President Gerald Ford served as a backup in the 1932 and 1933 seasons. When President Ford was asked in his later years about his greatest regret in life, he thought for a moment and said: "Well, I wanted to play more football as a sophomore and junior, but one year ahead of me, Michigan also had an All-American center, Chuck Bernard. I was the better offensive center, but Chuck was 25 pounds heavier and better on defense. And in those days a coach played one guy. So that was my great regret." The interviewer asked, "But, Mr. President, what about losing the election in '76?" Ford laughed and said, "Oh, well, that too."[7]

Ford told his biographer that it was a terrible let-down to sit on the sidelines. Ford noted: "So here I am, great prospects as a sophomore, and my competition is All-American." Ford was forced to watch and play backup as Bernard started for the 1932 and 1933 National Championship teams. "Not playing was tough," Ford said, "but I learned a lot on the bench. I learned that there was the potential always that somebody could be better than you. And Chuck was better overall."[8]

NFL Playing Career

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Bernard played 10 games for the Detroit Lions in 1934.

External links

Notes

  1. ^ "University of Michigan Athletics History: 1932 Football Team". The Regents of the University of Michigan. 2007-01-10. http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fbteam/1932fbt.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-31.  
  2. ^ "University of Michigan Athletics History: 1933 Football Team". The Regents of the University of Michigan. 2007-01-10. http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fbteam/1933fbt.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-31.  
  3. ^ The 1934 Michiganensian yearbook, p. 104.
  4. ^ "All-America". Time. 1934-01-01. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,746678,00.html?iid=chix-sphere.  
  5. ^ "University of Michigan All-American: Chuck Bernard". The Regents of the University of Michigan. 2007-01-10. http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fballam/aabernar.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-02.  
  6. ^ "University of Michigan All-American: Francis Wistert". The Regents of the University of Michigan. 2007-01-10. http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fballam/aawistf.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-02.  
  7. ^ "Recollections of the public and private Gerald Ford". Newsweek. 2007-01-08.  
  8. ^ Cannon, James (1998). "Time and Chance: Gerald Ford's Appointment With History, p. 19". University of Michigan Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=F6Fwarz6BOgC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=%22chuck+bernard%22+football&source=web&ots=DP3IOONDgn&sig=SVG0PhNUQPMKz6ZJSjxyYOv1VnA.  

See also


Simple English

Joseph Charles "Chuck" Bernard (August 29, 1911(1911-08-29) in Chicago, Illinois) was a professional American football center who played for the Detroit Lions in 1934 and was a two-time All-American at the University of Michigan.








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