On the bus over to Franklin Field, two Mungermen remembered how Penn's campus used to be crazy on Friday nights; how their coach, George Munger, would get his team out of there, taking over Philmont Country Club for the night. All the players got enormous steaks.

"Except us Catholics ate scrambled eggs," said Ernie Prudente, Penn Class of 1951. "We almost cried."

Those were the days when Penn football dominated this city, leading the nation in attendance, dwarfing the local professional team in popularity, taking on the nation's best. Ever since, for six decades, the men who played for Munger at any time from 1938 to '53 have gathered one Saturday each year for a meal and a Quakers game and a chance to tell tales.

Although the group, which once numbered more than 100, was down to eight or nine Mungermen on Saturday, their stories filled the room at the Inn at Penn, which included some younger Penn football alumni and relatives. After lunch, each Mungerman made his way to a podium, to draw from a deep reservoir.

Prudente, who went on to a three-sport coaching career at Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, remembered how he went to Munger when he first got into coaching, asking for a playbook. Munger told him there was no playbook. They had playbooks for practically every opponent but no opponent had one for Penn.

"You played for Penn," Munger told him. "You have the fundamentals."

Dick Rosenbleeth said Munger, who had gotten the job when he was just 28, was a unique man, not a typical football coach. Human, sincere. They never saw him mad.

Frustrated? Sure.

Bob Fox told the story of playing Ohio State and how the players were waiting for Munger to come in and talk to them before the game. He was late. Finally, Munger showed up, saying: "That's the best band I ever heard."

The tales told Saturday had little to do with the talent of the storyteller.

"If they took the last minute of the fourth quarter out, I wouldn't have gotten in," said George "Punchy" McAndrews.

"I do have a record; you're looking at an icon here," said Harry Edenborn, Class of '49. "I punted 13 times in one game."

Tales included how Munger, who died in 1994, cut his own brother, Peter, who was in the room Saturday to confirm it. George Munger had told Peter Munger he was going to get hurt. Peter's reply was that he had been wounded in the war, at the Battle of the Bulge.

"The Germans only wounded you, these kids will kill you," Penn's head coach told his brother, who is now 89.

Peter, who ended up captaining the Penn lightweight team, said his older brother added: "If I let you play, Mother will kill me."

Fox didn't just have stories about teammate Chuck Bednarik, who was described in the room as the greatest football player ever. Fox was the one responsible for Bednarik's nickname, Concrete Charlie. He owned the concrete company Bednarik worked for in the Eagles' offseason.

Bill Talarico, 94, who had played and then coached under Munger said he missed only one of these Mungermen gatherings since they began in 1956. He now lives in an assisted-living place in Florence, N.J.

When Penn decided to join the just-forming Ivy League, deemphasizing football, this era was over, not to be repeated. There would be no more tales of tying Army in a season in which both were undefeated, that game the lone blemish for each. (The Quakers ended up ranked seventh that 1947 season.)

After Quakers head coach Ray Priore stopped in, 15 members of Penn's marching band showed up in the room and played "To Penn," and the room stood for the alma mater. Rosenbleeth told the room how the 1952 Penn-Princeton game that ended Princeton's 24-game winning streak is on YouTube.

There was some melancholy. "I guess this is it," one of the Mungermen said, looking around as things got started. Peter Munger said, "The odds are against you" as far as surviving forever. He suggested the group officially continue after their own days as the Mungermen, Sons and Daughters.

Only Prudente and Rosenbleeth got on the bus to get down to the game. They stayed until the end of the first quarter. Beforehand, they were in a tunnel underneath the stands when Penn's team ran by.

"Go, Quakers, go get 'em," Rosenbleeth, once a defensive end, called out to the passing players in their blue helmets. "Where's No. 87?"

@jensenoffcampus