Former Card Ollie Matson passes away

Posted by Darren Urban on February 19, 2011 – 8:08 pm

Running back Ollie Matson, a one-time Chicago Cardinals No. 1 draft pick and Hall of Famer who made six Pro Bowls, died Saturday at the age of 80.

Matson is a member of the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor and was the star of the Chicago version of the franchise from 1952-58. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Rams for an astounding nine players prior to the 1959 season. Matson never missed a game in his six seasons with the  Cards (he sat out the 1953 season while in the military; h/t to reader Mike) and rushed for 3,331 yards and 24 touchdowns while catching 130 passes for 2,150 yards and 24 touchdowns in that span. He added nine touchdowns on kick returns. Matson also won a pair of medals as a sprinter in the 1952 Olympics.

Posted in Blog | 30 Comments »

30 Responses to “Former Card Ollie Matson passes away”

  1. By rick rizzuto on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    he will sadly missed my prayers to his family

  2. By phoenixraven1 on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    Beanie needs to study this guy…

  3. By ross on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    God bless the Matson family. Darren, why did he sit out a year?

  4. By Darren Urban on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    Ross —

    RE: Sitting out

    To be honest, I was trying to find out what happened and I could not. He didn’t miss any games before or after. I don’t think it was an injury — he’s not even listed with the team that year — so I don’t know.

  5. By georgiebird on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    Matson was definitely the best athlete to ever play for the Cardinal organization

  6. By Brad ONeill on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    rip to Ollie and Duerson also.

  7. By Kurt on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    Rest well Ollie, you gave your heart and soul to the Cardinals. I will always remember you well. Ollie was a true man among men.

  8. By Harry Murphy on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    Ollie was my childhood football idol. He could do it ALL!!!! He would have had an even greater career had he not been mismanaged by the coaching staff!!

  9. By Pheenic Cromartie on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    A Hall of Famer, a Pro Bowler, and an Olympic medal winner?

    Sounds like he led a full life. I hope his family can get through this, and may he always be remembered.

  10. By Big Red on Feb 19, 2011 | Reply

    May the lord bless you and your family “Ollie” thanks for all you did. Your Ring of Honor is well deserved.

  11. By Jake on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply


  12. By WarnerFan#13 on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    Ollie, he was absolutely great. God Bless his family. He will be remembered as a Cardinal GREAT.

  13. By Mike on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    According to his Hall of Fame page, Matson spent 1953 in the military service. (

  14. By Darren Urban on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    Mike —

    RE: “missing 1953”


  15. By ross on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, it looks like the olympics were summer of 1952, so maybe that’s why he sat out?

  16. By ross on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    Nevermind D, he went into the military for a year…you don’t have to post my comments. Thanks

  17. By Scott H on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    Before my time but always sad when a member of the family passes on. My best to his family, and may he RIP.

  18. By Nick on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    I understand that this is a horrible blog to ask this question upon, but what if the cardinals drafted Aj Green and with that Breaston goes back to the slot where he had the 1000 yard season, where he is acustomed too?

  19. By Darren Urban on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    Nick —

    RE: AJ Green

    I will be stunned if they take a WR at No. 5. And he won’t be there in the second round.

    And you still need a QB to get Fitz, Green and Breaston the ball.

  20. By chicaco cardinal on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    As a child I remember going to Cardinal games with my dad to watch the great Ollie Matson. Also listening to the Cardinal games on the radio and hearing Ollie run back another kickoff for a touchdown. One of the best Cardinal players of all time.

  21. By TBru on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    RIP Mr Matson

  22. By Nick on Feb 20, 2011 | Reply

    Thank you for your response, but what if the cards give up their second round for Kolb, yes i know he is no Warner but why not do that because than you can still draft Aj Green.

  23. By Darren Urban on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Nick —

    RE: First round WR

    Again, even if they trade for a QB with a second rounder, I’d want a pass rusher at No. 5 before a WR.

  24. By Phoenixraven1 on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    And pass up Von Miller or Quinn? That would be retarded! Either of those guys with Schofield on the outside, Williams and Lennon in the middle (maybe Casey Matthews if we can snag him in 3rd round), with Will Davis and a vet to backup! Your talking a solid LB core! Turn our D around with one pick!

  25. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Since Matson was before my time yet still a part of the Cards ancestry, I did some back reading, and the guy was impressive.
    To trade him for 9 players, when squads were only composed of 36 guys, is astounding. Even the Hershel Walker trade wasn’t the equivalent of one player for a quarter of the other team.

  26. By Phoenixraven1 on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Odd how you don’t hear more about him…

  27. By Peter in Canada on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    I was fortunate enough to see him play twice a year because we got to see the Cleveland Brown games on television in the 50’s. He was undoubtedly the best RB the Cards have ever had. Apart from his rushing and kickoff returns look at his average yards per pass reception. For a running back that is trulty amazing, far better than most wide receivers. And this was achieved playing for a team that was usually pretty bad. IMO it is between him and Night Train Lane as to who is the best Cardinal of all time.

  28. By robert mason on Feb 22, 2011 | Reply

    thx for playing for the cards.

  29. By Richie on Feb 23, 2011 | Reply

    My prayers go to the Matson family. I’m 74 yrs old and have been a Cardinal
    fan all my life. Born and raised in South Chicago I remember going to Comiskey
    Park to see the backfield of McCaan, Matson, Mann and Olczewski. I saw the
    Cards play in St. Louis many times and then Arizona. Go Big Red.

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