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As a cartoonist, often the most difficult cartoon I'm called upon to draw is when a living legend, such as Eagles Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik, passes on to the great stadium in the sky.
How do you sum up all the complexities, emotions and contradictions contained within a larger than life figure like Bednarik into a single image that somehow remains true to the person, yet resonates with the fans who loved them?
As with most cartoons, I winnowed through several ideas before coming up with one I liked.
The first thought I had was to show Frank Gifford walking calmly on a street for the first time in almost 55 years, now that he didn't have to watch over his shoulder for a charging Bednarik. I thought it would've been funny, but not showing "Concrete Charlie" in his own obituary cartoon seemed wrong.
Another idea was to have Death, complete with his scythe, coming to capture the cantankerous Eagles legend. Instead, Death gets knocked to the ground with a gloating Bednarik towering over him saying, "You're early. Come back in 30 minutes" as he walked out onto the field for the last time.
I finally settled on this idea, with a hulking Bednarik bashing his way through the Pearly Gates into heaven. I hope it conveys the toughness of an athlete who played both sides of the ball equally as tough, someone whose football philosophy is best summed up on his plaque in Canton - a "rugged, durable, bulldozing blocker … a bone-jarring tackler."
Plus, there's this: