Ed Healey
Ed Healey.jpg
No. 13, 16
Position:Offensive Tackle,
Personal information
Born:(1894-12-28)December 28, 1894
Indian Orchard, Springfield, Massachusetts
Died:December 9, 1978(1978-12-09) (aged 83)
South Bend, Indiana
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:207 lb (94 kg)
Career information
High school:Springfield (MA) Classical
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Edward Francis Healey Jr. (December 28, 1894 – December 9, 1978) was an American football player. Regarded as one of the best linemen in the early days of the National Football League (NFL), Healey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of its second induction class in 1964. He was also named in 1969 to the NFL 1920s All-Decade Team. In 1974, he was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Healey played college football at College of the Holy Cross in 1914 and at Dartmouth College in 1916, 1917, and 1919.

Healey played professional football as a tackle in the NFL for the Rock Island Independents from 1920 to 1922 and for the Chicago Bears from 1922 to 1927. He never played for a team with a losing record during his NFL career and, in 1922, became the first player in NFL history to be sold to another team. He was named as a first-team All Pro player by at least one selector for five consecutive years from 1922 to 1926.

Early years

Healey was born in 1894 in Indian Orchard, a neighborhood at the northeast end of Springfield, Massachusetts.[1] His parents, Edward F. Healey, Sr., and Nora Healey were the children of Irish immigrants, both born in Massachusetts. His father worked in the street sprinkler business and later as a contractor in the wood business. Healey had four older sisters and one younger sister.[2][3]

Healey attended Central High School in Springfield, Massachusetts.[4][5][6] He then attended and played college football at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1914 and at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, for three years.[7] In Healey's three years with the Dartmouth football program, the teams compiled records of 5–2–2 (1916), 5–3 (1917), and 6–1–1 (1919).[8] Walter Camp reportedly called Healey "the best tackle I ever saw."[7][9]

Professional football

Rock Island Independents

Healey began playing professional football with the Rock Island Independents in 1920, the inaugural season of the National Football League (known as the American Professional Football Association until 1922). He helped lead the 1920 Rock Island team to a 6–2–2 record, good for fourth place out of 14 teams.[10]

Healey remained with Rock Island during its 1922 season when the team compiled a 4–2–1 record and finished in fifth place out of 21 teams.[11]

Healey began the 1922 NFL season with Rock Island. The team opened its season with a 19–14 victory over the Green Bay Packers before losing a close game, 10–6, against the Chicago Bears. George Halas, owner, coach and player for the Bears, was impressed with Healey's tough tackling, including tackling of Halas, and bought Healey's contract for $100. Healey thus became the first NFL player to be sold to another club.[12][13] Healey later recalled his pleasure at joining a team with superior facilities: "At Rock Island, we had no showers and seldom a trainer. At Wrigley Field, we had a nice warm place to dress and nice warm showers."[14]

Chicago Bears

Healey spent six seasons with the Bears from 1922 to 1927.[1] During Healey's tenure with the Bears, the club never had a losing season, winning at least nine games in five of the six seasons.[15] Healey was selected as a first-team All-Pro by at least one major selector each year from 1922 to 1926.[1][14]

In 1924, he ran more than 30 yards to tackle teammate Oscar Knop who ran the wrong way after intercepting a pass.[14][16] In 1925, he was the only player to be selected as a first-team All Pro by Collyers Eye magazine, the Green Bay Press-Gazette, and Joseph Carr.[17][18] In 1926, the Green Bay Press-Gazette called him "the best tackle in the Pro loop,"[19] and Bears owner George Halas later called Healey "the most versatile tackle of all time".[20]

Family, later years, and honors

Healey married Lucille Falk in November 1927.[21] After retiring from football, Healey and his wife lived in South Bend, Indiana, where he worked as a salesman and later sales manager for France Stone Company. Healey and his wife had a son, Thomas, in approximately 1938. The family later moved to Niles, Michigan.

Interviewed in 1949, Healey opined that, with the development of the platoon system, modern linemen were "something akin to sissies" and added, "In the old days we used to go on the field prepared for 60 minutes of work and nothing short of a broken leg, arm, or ankle could get us out of there."[22]

During his retirement, Healey received numerous honors for his contributions to the sport of football. These honors include the following:

Healey's wife died in September 1975.[26] Healey died three years later in December 1978 at age 83 from multiple causes, including malnutrition, cardiac and pulmonary failure, and cancer of the stomach and lung. He died at the Cardinal Nursing Home in South Bend, Indiana.[27][28] His funeral service was held in Niles, Michigan, and he was then buried at Calvary Cemetery in that city.[28][29][30]


  1. ^ a b c "Ed Healey". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  2. ^ 1900 Census entry for Edward and Nora Healey and family. Son Edward born December 1894. Census Place: Springfield Ward 1, Hampden, Massachusetts; Roll: 652; Page: 32B; Enumeration District: 0570; FHL microfilm: 1240652. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
  3. ^ 1910 Census entry for Edward F. and Nora Healey and family. Son Edward F., Jr., age 15. Census Place: Springfield Ward 1, Hampden, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_591; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0596; FHL microfilm: 1374604. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
  4. ^ Freedman, Lew (September 15, 2008). Chicago Bears: The Complete Illustrated History. MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 9781610600934 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ The Pnalka, Vol. IV. Senior Class of Central High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. 1913. p. 68.(Edward Francis Healey listed as mid-year freshman).
  6. ^ The Pnalka, Vol. VII. 1913. p. 72.
  7. ^ a b "Ed Healey profile". National Football Foundation. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  8. ^ "Dartmouth Big Green School History". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  9. ^ "Football Pioneers Are Honored". Alexandria (LA) Daily Town Talk. April 28, 1974. p. B4 – via Newspapers.com. open access(The quote attributed to Camp cannot be located in contemporaneous sources and appears dubious insofar as Camp never named Healey to one of his college football All-America teams.)
  10. ^ "1920 APFA Standings & Team Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  11. ^ "1921 APFA Standings & Team Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  12. ^ "From the Hall of Fame Archives: The 1920s All-Decade Team".
  13. ^ Illustrated, Editors of Sports (October 30, 2012). Sports Illustrated Great Football Writing. Time Home Entertainment. ISBN 9781603204606 – via Google Books. ((cite book)): |first= has generic name (help)
  14. ^ a b c "Ed Healey Bio". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  15. ^ "Chicago Bears Franchise Encyclopedia". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  16. ^ Larkin, Will (August 7, 2019). "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 30 Ed Healey". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  17. ^ "1925 NFL All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  18. ^ Chris Willis (2010). The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr. p. 217. ISBN 9780810876705.
  19. ^ "Chicago Bears Coming Here Sunday With Great Team: Paddy Driscoll, Ed Healey, Trafton, Mohardt, Walquist Listed as Stars of Bruins". The Green Bay Press-Gazette. September 21, 1926. p. 16 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  20. ^ "Rooney, Six Ex-Players Elected to Pro Grid 'Hall'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 28, 1964. p. 16 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  21. ^ "Social Items". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. November 17, 1927. p. 19 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  22. ^ Harry Warren (December 5, 1949). "Bears' Alumni Gather, Replay Steeler Game". Chicago Tribune. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  23. ^ "Three More Ex-Bears, 2 Packers Voted Into Pro Football's Hall of Fame". Chicago Tribune. February 28, 1964. pp. 3–1 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  24. ^ "Pro Football Hall of Fame Honoring First Stars". Racine (WI) Sunday Bulletin. August 24, 1969. p. 4B – via Newspapers.com. open access
  25. ^ "Healey chosen". The Lowell Sun. April 29, 1974. p. 20 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  26. ^ "Lucille F. Healey". Find a Grave.com. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  27. ^ "Ed Healey Dies". Fort Myers (FL) News-Press. December 11, 1978. p. 2C – via Newspapers.com. open access
  28. ^ a b Indiana Death Certificate for Edward F. Healey, born December 28, 1894, died December 9, 1978.
  29. ^ "Services Held for Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Healey". Ukiah (CA) Daily Journal. December 13, 1978. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  30. ^ "Ed Healey". Find a Grave.com. Retrieved December 10, 2016.