February 25, 2012

MVP Profile: Pat Harder, 1948

Fullback/Linebacker, Chicago Cardinals

Age: 26
3rd season in pro football & with Cardinals
College: Wisconsin
Height: 5’11” Weight: 205

Chosen in the first round of the 1944 NFL draft (second overall) by the Cardinals, Harder joined the club in ’46 after completing military service. A straight-ahead power runner who also blocked well, he proved to be a good complement to halfbacks Elmer Angsman and, from ’47, Charley Trippi. He also kicked five extra points as a rookie and added field goal kicking in 1947, leading the league with 7 in 10 attempts for a 70 % success rate, which also topped the NFL, and was the top scorer with 102 points. He was a second-team All-NFL selection by Pro Football Illustrated in 1946 and a first-team choice by Pro Football Illustrated, the New York Daily News, and UPI in ’47 as the Cardinals won the NFL title.

1948 Season Summary
Appeared in all 12 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 126 [6]
Yards – 554 [6]
Yards per attempt – 4.4 [9]
TDs – 6 [4, tied with Charley Trippi]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 13
Yards – 93
Yards per catch – 7.2
TDs – 0

Field goals – 7 [2]
Field goal attempts – 17 [1]
Percentage – 41.2 [3]
PATs – 53 [1]
PAT attempts – 53 [1]
Longest field goal – 35 yards at LA Rams 10/31

TDs – 6 [16, tied with four others]
Field goals – 7
PATs - 53
Points – 110 [1]

Postseason: 1 G (at Philadelphia, NFL Championship)
Rushing attempts – 11
Rushing yards – 30
Average gain rushing – 2.7
Rushing TDs – 0

Field goals – 0
Field goal attempts – 1

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: UPI, Chicago Herald-American, Pro Football Illustrated, NY Daily News
2nd team All-NFL/AAFC: Sporting News

Cardinals went 11-1 to win the Western Division while leading the NFL in total offense (4694 yards), rushing yards (2560), and scoring (395 points). Lost NFL Championship to Philadelphia Eagles (7-0).

Harder again received first-team All-NFL recognition in 1949 from UPI and the New York Daily News as he rushed for a career-high 554 yards and led the league in scoring for the third straight year with 102 points. The team was going into decline, however, and after a Pro Bowl year in ’50 he threatened to retire unless traded. Harder was dealt to the Detroit Lions, a team on the rise, and continued to be a valued contributor at fullback. When HB/PK Doak Walker was lost to injury in ’52, Harder again handled the bulk of the placekicking and booted a career-high 11 field goals for the NFL Champion Lions, again gaining selection to the Pro Bowl. By 1953, however, bad knees forced his retirement. In eight years, he rushed for 3016 yards and 33 TDs, caught 92 passes for another 864 yards and 5 TDs, kicked 35 field goals and 198 extra points, and scored 531 points.


MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/9/14]