1949 Rose Bowl Sidebar: Professional careers after Northwestern

Danny Daly

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Dick Alban, defensive backSelected in the ninth round (103rd overall) by the Washington Redskins in the 1952 NFL draftAlban had one of the best NFL careers for a Northwestern graduate, but he had no impact on winning the Rose Bowl. He was only a freshman in 1948 but found success with the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers from 1952-1959, finishing with 30 interceptions and six fumble recoveries in eight years. A nine-pick season in 1954 gave Alban a spot in the Pro Bowl. Frank Aschenbrenner, halfbackSelected in the six round (38th overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1947 NFL draftThe Rose Bowl hero had a strange, yet brief, professional experience. In addition to being drafted by the Steelers, Aschebrenner was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the All-America Football Conference, the rival league to the NFL for four years. The Bills traded Aschenbrenner’s rights to the Cleveland Browns while he was still in Evanston, reuniting him with former coach Paul Brown. But Brown later included Aschenbrenner in a trade with the Chicago Hornets. Meanwhile, the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers sent Aschenbrenner to the Los Angeles Rams – all before he started his career. He played only six games for the Hornets in 1949, rushing eight times for 14 yards as well as catching two passes and returning two kicks. Chicago’s coaching staff tried to make Aschenbrenner a defensive player, but he had only played offense until then and the experiment didn’t work out. The NFL and AAFC merged the following year, with the Hornets disbanding, and Aschenbrenner went to play for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. Dick Flowers, quarterbackUndraftedFlowers didn’t contribute much to the 1948 team, as he was a backup to Don Burson. His NFL career wasn’t significant, either – he appeared in one game for the Baltimore Colts during the 1953 season. The 26-year-old was 2-of-4 for 18 yards coming off the bench. Art Murakowski, fullback / linebackerSelected in the third round (31st overall) by the Detroit Lions in the 1950 NFL draftThe former All-American wasn’t able to duplicate his collegiate success at the next level. Murakowski was a special teams player in his one-season stint with the Detroit Lions in 1951 and never got a chance to be a featured ballcarrier. Don Stonesifer, endSelected in third round (30th overall) by Chicago Cardinals in 1951 NFL draftAs a junior, Stonesifer caught the Cats’ only completion in the 1949 Rose Bowl. He came back the next season and was an All-American, setting an NU record with 13 receptions against Minnesota and Big Ten marks with 28 catches and 394 yards in six conference games. During his career with the Chicago Cardinals, which lasted from 1951-1956, he caught 231 passes for 2,901 yards and 14 touchdowns. Ray Wietecha, center / linebackerSelected in the 12th round (150th overall) by the New York Giants in the 1950 NFL draftIt was hard to earn playing time at center in 1948 with captain Alex Sarkisian making the All-America team, but Wietecha still earned a major role, mainly on defense as the right inside linebacker. He anchored the middle of the Giants’ offensive line in the NFL, enjoying a 12-year career with New York that included a decade as the starter, four Pro Bowls appearances and a first-team All-Pro selection. After his playing days ended, Wietecha turned to coaching – he was Vince Lombardi’s offensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers when they won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968.Other notable NU players that were drafted:George Maddock, tackleSelected in the 8th round (50th overall) by the Chicago Cardinals in the 1947 NFL draft

Alex Sarkisian, center / linebackerSelected in the 11th round (91st overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1947 NFL draft

Gaspar Perricone, fullbackSelected in the 6th round (72nd overall) by the Chicago Bears in the 1950 NFL draft

Tom Worthington, defensive backSelected in the 15th round (187th overall) by the Detroit Lions in the 1950 NFL draft

Ed Tunnicliff, halfbackSelected in the 18th round (235th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1950 NFL draft

Pee Wee Day, defensive backSelected in the 19th round (243rd overall) by the Chicago Cardinals in the 1950 NFL draftJoe Zuarvleff, endSelected in the 23rd round (292nd overall) by the Washington Redskins in the 1950 NFL draft

Don Burson, quarterbackSelected in the 28th round (365th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1950 NFL draft

Rudy Cernoch, tackleSelected in the 14th round (171st overall) by the Cleveland Browns in the 1951 NFL draft

Johnny Miller, halfbackSelected in the 25th round (301st overall) by the Chicago Bears in the 1951 NFL draft

danieldaly2012@u.northwestern.edu

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