Printer-friendly page

Jurgensen, Christian Adolph ("Sonny")


By Kelly Agan, N.C. Government & Heritage Library, 2015


23 Aug. 1934 --


Christian Adolph Jurgensen was born on August 23, 1934 in Wilmington, North Carolina.   Known as Sonny, the colorful character and once redheaded Jurgensen is considered one of the best all time quarterback passers in professional football history.


Jurgensen got his start in sports as a multi-talented high school athlete at New Hanover High School in the 1940s and 1950s.  He played baseball, basketball, football, and tennis before attending Duke University where he joined the varsity football team in 1954 as a defensive back.  He became starting quarterback in 1955 and led the team to the Orange Bowl the same year. 


He signed on to the Philadelphia Eagles as a 4th round draft pick in 1957 and played there for seven seasons until he was traded to the Redskins for quarterback Norm Sneed in 1964.  Jurgenson spent the next 11 years with the Redskins, helping to change the team’s fortunes and image beginning in the 1969 season under coach Vince Lombardi. 


Nicknamed "Red Roach", Jurgensen’s success as a quarterback did not come from running ability. Instead, he achieved legendary status by his arm strength and pin point accuracy in passing.  He was able to throw and drop tight spirals on target and by career's end he had chalked up an astounding 57% pass completion rate.  Relunctantly forced into retirment in 1975 by the Redskins at age 41, Sonny Jurgenson had logged some 32,000 yards in passing (more than 18 miles) and 255 touchdowns, securing him numerous honors and accolades. His number, "9", was retired along with him. He then began a successful and enduring career in sportscasting, beginning with CBS and then as color commentator for the Redskins Radio Network beginning in 1980.


Jurgensen was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1971 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.  And in 2004 he was added to the Wilmington Walk of Fame. The 2015 season marks Jurgensen’s 35th in the radio booth calling plays for the Redskins.


 

References:


"#9 Sonny Jurgensen." Greatest Redskins, History.  Washington Redskins. http://www.redskins.com/team/history/70-greatest-redskins/sonny-jurgense... (accessed July 10, 2015).


"Sonny Jurgensen". Players, NFL.com. http://www.nfl.com/player/sonnyjurgensen/2518057/profile (accessed July 10, 2015).


Katzowitz, Josh. "50 years ago, Sonny Jurgensen made the Eagles pay for trading him." April 2, 2014. CBSSPORTS. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24511674/years-ago-sonny-ju... (accessed July 10, 2015).


"Christian A. "Sonny Jurgensen." December 14, 2005. Duke Sports Information. http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=220773 (accessed July 10, 2015).


"Sonny Jurgensen." Photograph. 1953. Cape Fearians. New Hanover County Public Library. http://cdm16072.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16072coll5/id/218 (accessed July 10, 2015).


Sonny Jurgensen Pictures. Getty Images. http://www.gettyimages.com/photos/sonny%20jurgensen (accessed July 10, 2015).


"Sonny, Billy & the Boys: Greatest Redskins Quarterbacks." October 1, 2006. Washingtonian. http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/sports/sonny-billy-the-boys... (accessed July 10, 2015).


"50 Years Later, Jurgensen is D.C. Institution." Redskins. CBSDC. http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/04/01/50-years-later-jurgensen-is-d-... (accessed July 10, 2015).


Duke University. Chanticleer. Durham, N.C.: Duke University. [328-329]. http://library.digitalnc.org/cdm/ref/collection/yearbooks/id/1761 (accessed June 10, 2015).


"Reskins Fall to Green Bay." The Carolina Times (Durham, N.C.), November 30, 1968. http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn83045120/1968-11-30/ed-1/seq-6/ (accessed July 10, 2015).


"Wilmington's Walk of Fame." CoastalCarolinaEscape. http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20070515/NEWS/704230423/1063/touri... (accessed July 10, 2015).


"Walk of Fame to Honor Jurgensen." Star-News Online. March 24, 2004.https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=20040324&id=HwtPAAAAIBAJ... (accessed July 20, 2015).


 

Subjects: 
Authors: 
Origin - location: 

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at https://ncpedia.org/about.