Frankie Albert
refer to caption
Frankie Albert in 1949
No. 63, 13
Personal information
Born:(1920-01-27)January 27, 1920
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died:September 4, 2002(2002-09-04) (aged 82)
Palo Alto, California, U.S.
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:166 lb (75 kg)
Career information
High school:Glendale
(Glendale, California)
College:Stanford (1939–1941)
NFL draft:1942 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
  • San Francisco 49ers (1956–1958)
    Head coach
Career highlights and awards
As a player
AAFC record
  • Most passing touchdowns in a season: 29 (1948)
Career AAFC/NFL statistics
Passing yards:10,795
Completion percentage:53.1%
Passer rating:73.5
Rushing yards:1,272
Rushing touchdowns:27
Punting yards:12,866
Punting average:43
Head coaching record
Regular season:19–16–1 (.542)
Postseason:0–1 (.000)
Career:19–17–1 (.527)
Player stats at · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Frank Cullen Albert (January 27, 1920 – September 4, 2002) was an American professional football player and coach. He played as a quarterback and punter with the San Francisco 49ers in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and later in National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Stanford Indians, where he led the 1940 football team to an undefeated season and the 1941 Rose Bowl.

Many who saw Albert in action credit him as being the greatest left-handed quarterback ever to play the game.[1]

Early life

Albert was born in Chicago and attended Glendale High School in Glendale, California. He went to Stanford University, where he was coached by T formation innovator Clark Shaughnessy. Albert played as Stanford's quarterback and in 1940–41 became an all-American. He was the first college T-formation quarterback in modern football history. He led the team of 1940 to a 9–0 regular season, 21–13 victory over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl and a No. 2 national ranking, behind Minnesota. He was also a member of Stanford's chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

Professional football career

Frankie Albert circa 1947.

After graduation Albert served in the Navy during World War II for four years. In the 1942 NFL draft the Chicago Bears selected Albert with the 10th overall pick. After quarterbacking the Los Angeles Bulldogs of the Pacific Coast Football League in 1945, he launched his All-Pro career with the San Francisco 49ers of the All-America Football Conference in 1946. He played seven seasons with the 49ers.

Albert, a 5-foot-9-inch (1.75 m), 166-pound, left-handed passer, was credited for inventing the bootleg play, in which the quarterback fakes a handoff then runs wide with the ball hidden on his hip.[2] In 1948, he had the record for most passing touchdowns in a season in the league's history, and was named AAFC co-Most Valuable Player with Otto Graham. He played his last two seasons competing with Y. A. Tittle.

In 1950, Albert was named to the Pro Bowl when the 49ers joined the National Football League. He had 14 touchdown passes that year, and with his twelfth, he became the third quarterback in NFL history (after Sammy Baugh and Sid Luckman) with 100 career touchdown passes, which was the highmark for the position at the time (Otto Graham joined the 100 mark to end the season as well).[3] He retired after the season of 1952. In seven pro seasons, Albert threw for 10,795 yards and 115 touchdowns.

Albert played one final season with the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders.[4]

Coaching career

Albert as new coach of the 49ers, 1956.

After his retirement, the 49ers hired him as a scout and coach. He was named head coach in 1956 by owner Tony Morabito.

In his second year, Albert led the 49ers to their first winning record since 1954. They won five of their six games before a three-game losing streak had them at 5–4. They won the final three games to finish 8–4. They finished in a tie for first in the Western Conference with the Detroit Lions, with both teams winning against the other at home. As such, they had to play a one-game playoff to determine who would play in the NFL Championship Game, with this being their first playoff game since 1949.

On December 22, they played the Lions at Kezar Stadium. Facing backup Tobin Rote (subbing in for Bobby Layne, hurt two weeks earlier), the 49ers led 24–7 at halftime on the strength of three touchdown passes from Y. A. Tittle. They led by twenty after a field goal in the third quarter, but Detroit roared back in a monumental comeback, scoring 24 unanswered points to win 31–27.[5]

Albert led the team to a 6–6 record the following year before he was replaced by Red Hickey; the 49ers would not threaten for a playoff spot until 1970. He coached the 49ers for three seasons, compiling a 19–16–1 record.

The Professional Football Researchers Association named Albert to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2007.[6]

Head coaching record


Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SF 1956 5 6 1 .458 3rd in NFL Western
SF 1957 8 4 0 .667 T–1st in NFL Western 0 1 .000 Lost to the Detroit Lions in conference playoff game.
SF 1958 6 6 0 .500 4th in NFL Western
SF total 19 16 1 .542 0 1 .000
Total 19 16 1 .542

Later life

After football, Albert got into real estate as he helped raise three daughters with his high school sweetheart and wife of 60 years, Martha.[7] All three of his daughters attended Stanford. One of his daughters, Jane Albert Willens, ’67, was an All-American tennis player.

He died on September 4, 2002, from Alzheimer's disease. In addition to his wife, Martha, Albert was survived by his three daughters: Nancy James of Bend, Oregon; Jane Willens of Palo Alto; and Terry Levin of San Francisco; and as well as seven grandchildren.[8]


  1. ^ "NFL story". Archived from the original on October 28, 2005. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  2. ^ Hession, Joseph (1985). "FRANKIE ALBERT: "MR. 49ER"". The Coffin Corner. 7 (5).
  3. ^ "NFL Career Passing Touchdowns Leaders Through 1950".
  4. ^ Maher, Tod; Gill, Bob (2013). The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946–2012. Maher Sports Media. p. 141. ISBN 978-0983513667.
  5. ^ "Divisional Round - Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers - December 22nd, 1957". Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  6. ^ "Hall of Very Good Class of 2007". Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  7. ^ "Martha Albert Obituary (2006) - Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles Times".
  8. ^ Goldstein, Richard (September 9, 2002). "Frankie Albert, a Pioneering Quarterback, Is Dead at 82". New York Times.
  1. ^ During the AAFC era, various outlets designated players as a First- or Second-team All-Pro, with Albert being designated an All-Pro by: the league itself (1946, 1948, 1949) and newspapers such as the AP (1946, 1947, 1949), the NYD (1946, 1948, 1949), the UP (1946, 1948, 1949), and SN (1948). Albert was named a first-team All Pro by the Daily News in 1946 and 1948 but named a second-team All-Pro by every other outlet in various years.
Preceded byFirst NFL on NBC lead analyst 19601961 Succeeded byPaul Christman