(Over the course of the summer we will be unveiling the 50 Greatest Badgers of All-Time every Monday – Friday)
We’ve managed to get to the end of the first week and haven’t talked about a single football player? Ha, you didn’t think we’d go that long on this list without the flagship program of the University of Wisconsin, did you?
So, let’s just move right in to introducing you to one of the biggest legends in Wisconsin sports history, not just the University of Wisconsin sports history folks.
No. 47 — Howard “Cub” Buck, football
Chances are modern college students wouldn’t recognize the game of football as football if we transported them back to the 1910’s. Still, there was a pioneer and trailblazer in the midst of the University of Wisconsin football team…his name was Howard “Cub” Buck.
Buck was a member of the Badgers from 1913 to 1915, captaining the team that final season all while playing the non-glamorous spot of tackle (remember this is a very different version of football we’re talking about).
What made him such a dominant player? Try being a 280-pound lineman and linebacker in an era that didn’t have that kind of size readily. Still, it wasn’t just the size, as Buck was a dangerous athlete on the defensive side of the ball throughout most of his career too.
Just how good was Buck in his playing days? The best part of the old time’s of college football is that radio, let alone TV or the internet, wasn’t a prevelant part of the landscape. Instead it was the beat reporters and writers that gave us the insight.
Upon his induction in to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, this story tells one all one needs to know about Buck’s popularity and accomplishments.
He’s also a member of the Wisconsin Badgers All-Time football team…so there is that.
Interestingly, “Cub” may have had a bigger impact on the professional game than he did the college game — even though he was a player and coach at the collegiate level. Buck was a member of two of the original names of the NFL’s founding era, the Canton Bulldogs and the Green Bay Packers. He’s a member of the Packers’ Hall of Fame too boot.
Perhaps that is some of what made our voters hesitant to put him higher on the list.
Personally, if Jim Thorpe calls you the greatest player at your position he’s ever seen, that’s all the endorsement of talent needed.
Full 50 Greatest Badgers List: