NFL

Former NFL, CFL quarterback Tripucka dies at 85

{eot}
The Canadian Press
9/12/2013 6:40:19 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Frank Tripucka was the first quarterback for the Broncos and the original No. 18 in Denver.

His number was retired until 2012 when he gladly and graciously allowed Peyton Manning to wear it.

Tripucka died Thursday at his home in Woodland Park, N.J., at age 85. His son, Kelly Tripucka, a former Notre Dame basketball standout, said his father died of congestive heart failure.

"He is proudly remembered as one of professional football's first great drop-back quarterbacks," the Broncos said in a statement. "Frank will always hold a very special place in Broncos history for what he meant to this organization and community."

A former standout at Notre Dame, Tripucka joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1953 and stayed with the team until he was dealt to the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1959. He rejoined Saskatchewan in a coaching capacity later that year.

Tripucka also played for the Detroit Lions, Chicago Cardinals and Dallas Texans.

He was brought in as a coach before the 1960 season, but it became obvious he was Denver's best option at QB. Tripucka threw for 3,038 yards and 24 touchdowns that season.

He's also credited with tossing the first touchdown pass in American Football League history, a 59-yard connection to Al Carmichael.

His number was one of three retired by the Broncos, but Tripucka graciously gave Manning permission to wear it when he joined the team two years ago. At the time, Tripucka said: "If Peyton wants the number, they should give it to him. They definitely should."

Manning threw for seven touchdowns in a season-opening win over Baltimore last week, breaking Tripucka's team record of five set against Buffalo on Oct. 28, 1962, and later tied by John Elway and Gus Frerotte. Manning also threw for 462 yards against the Ravens, moving him past Tripucka and into a third-place tie for most in a game in franchise history. Tripucka threw for 447 in that Buffalo game.

Tripucka spent four seasons with the Broncos and played in the '62 AFL All-Star Game. He returned to Saskatchewan in 1963 for a final season as a player with the Riders.

In 96 CFL regular-season games over eight seasons, Tripucka threw for 15,506 yards and 87 touchdowns.

He was inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 1986. At Notre Dame, Tripucka led the Irish to a 9-0-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in 1948.

Before becoming the starter, Tripucka was a backup to Heisman Trophy winner John Lujack, who led the Irish to back-to-back national championships. As a senior, Tripucka threw for 660 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Irish won all their games except for a tie with USC.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the ninth overall selection in 1949.

Funeral arrangements were pending. He is survived by his wife, Randy, and seven children.

Frank Tripucka (Photo: The Canadian Press)

zoom

(Photo: The Canadian Press)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story


2014 NFL Draft

The Houston Texans selected defensive end Jadeveon Clowney first overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.


Round-by-Round Picks: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Hall Of Fame

Ray Guy, Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Michael Strahan, Andre Reed, and Aeneas Williams, headlined this year's Hall of Fame class. More...

Podcasts

TSN 1050: Game Night: Joe Horrigan - July 30

Pro Football Hall of Fame VP of Communications Joe Horrigan joined Game Night with Jim Tatti & Andy McNamara to talk NFL Hall of Fame Weekend

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: July 28 - John Kryk

SunMedia NFL Columnist, John Kryk joined Bryan Hayes to discuss the potential of Manziel & EJ Manuel's struggles in camp.

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: July 23 - Jim Trotter

ESPN NFL Analyst, Jim Trotter joined Bryan Hayes to discuss Tony Dungy's comments about Michael Sam, Brett Favre's Packers legacy & Johnny Manziel.


More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television