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Davey O'Brien: Wikis

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Davey O'Brien
Position(s)
Quarterback
Born June 22, 1917(1917-06-22)
Dallas, Texas
Died November 18, 1977 (aged 60)
Fort Worth, Texas
Career information
Year(s) 19391940
NFL Draft 1939 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
College Texas Christian
Professional teams
Career stats
TDs-INTs 11-34
Passing yards 2,614
Passer rating 41.8
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards

Robert David O'Brien (June 22, 1917 – November 18, 1977) was an American football quarterback in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football at Texas Christian University and was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1939 NFL Draft. In 1938, O'Brien won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, and the Walter Camp Award. The Davey O'Brien Award, given annually to the best quarterback in collegiate football, is named for him.

Contents

Early life

O'Brien was born in Dallas, Texas. He attended and played high school football at Woodrow Wilson High School. While there, he was an All-State selection and led the high school to the Texas state playoffs in 1932.[1]

College career

O'Brien began playing college football at Texas Christian University (TCU) in 1935, and was backup for Sammy Baugh. He became the starter in 1937, and was named to the first-team All-Southwest Conference.[1]

In 1938, O’Brien threw for 1,457 passing yards — a Southwest Conference record that stood for ten years. He had only four interceptions in 194 passing attempts, and his NCAA record for most rushing and passing plays in a single-season still stands today.[1] That season, he led the Horned Frogs to an undefeated season, as they outscored their opponents by a 269-60 margin and held nine of their ten regular-season opponents to seven points or less, including three shutouts.[1] They finished the season with a 15–7 victory over Carnegie Tech in the 1939 Sugar Bowl and the National Championship title.[1] O’Brien was named to 13 All-America teams and became the first player to win the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp trophies in the same year. He was also the first Heisman winner from TCU and the first from the Southwest Conference.[1]

Statistics

Year Comp Att Comp % Passing TD
1937 96 237 40.5 947 5
1938 93 166 56.0 1457 19

Professional career

O'Brien was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1939 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles offered him a $12,000 bonus and a two-year contract. In his first season in the NFL, he led the NFL in passing yards as a rookie with 1,324 yards in 11 games,[2] breaking his old TCU teammate Sammy Baugh's single season passing yardage record. In 1940, he again led the league in several passing categories including attempts and completions.[2] The Eagles gave him a $2,000 raise, but he retired after the 1940 season.[1]

In his professional career, O'Brien completed 223 of 478 passes for 2,614 yards, and 11 touchdowns. He also played as a defensive back and punter and intercepted four passes for 92 yards and punted nine times for an average of 40.7 yards per kick.[2]

Life after football

After two seasons with the Eagles, O'Brien retired from football to become an agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he worked for ten years. After completing his training, he was assigned to the bureau’s field office in Springfield, Missouri. He was a firearms instructor at Quantico, Virginia, and spent the last five years of his FBI career in Dallas.[1] He resigned from the bureau in 1950 and went to work for H. L. Hunt in land development. He later entered the oil business working for Dresser Atlas Industries of Dallas.[1] O'Brien also served as president of the TCU Alumni Association, a YMCA board member, a chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, a supporter of Golden Gloves youth boxing programs, and a deacon of University Christian Church. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1956. From 1960–1964 he served as a color commentator for Dallas Cowboys television broadcasts.

In 1971, O'Brien was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery to remove a kidney and part of his right lung. He died from cancer on November 18, 1977.[1]

References

External links

Preceded by
Clint Frank
Heisman Trophy Winner
1938
Succeeded by
Nile Kinnick
Preceded by
Clint Frank
Maxwell Award Winner
1938
Succeeded by
Nile Kinnick

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