FAIRFAX, Va. -- Chet Bulger, a top lineman on the last Cardinals team to win the NFL championship, died Thursday. He was 91.
Bulger died from natural causes, said De La Salle Institute, the school in Chicago where he coached and taught for three decades.
Bulger played in the NFL from 1942-50, starting with the Chicago Cardinals and spending his final season with the Detroit Lions.
In 1947, he helped the Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Eagles 28-21 for the NFL crown. The Cardinalslost the 1948 title game to the Eagles 7-0, then did not play for the championship again until reaching this year's Super Bowl.
"I'm still a Cardinal, always a Cardinal," Bulger told The Associated Press in a telephone interview a few days before the game. "I can't see too well anymore, but I'm going to get up real close to the TV to watch that game. Maybe we'll win that Super Bowl. Wouldn't that be something?"
Bulger was born in Maine and went to Auburn as a track star. He walked onto the school's football team and later joined the Cardinals during the era of leather helmets and two-way linemen.
In 1944, the Cardinals and Steelers merged their franchises for one year, splitting home games in Chicago and Pittsburgh. The combined team went 0-10, and drew the nickname of the Car-Pitts -- as in, every opponent walked right over them.
"We were terrible," Bulger said last month. "You'd get beat so bad, you'd cry."
Bulger scored seven points in his NFL career, kicking an extra point in 1943 and returning a fumble for a touchdown in 1945.
Bulger stayed in Chicago after his playing days and worked at De La Salle, where he stayed through 1982. He became the athletic director and the school named its main athletic field for him. In later years, he remained active and continued to help raise money for De La Salle.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press