The Philadelphia Eagles family lost one of their own on Friday morning. Pete Retzlaff, a captain of the 1960 NFL Champions, died peacefully in his home. He was 88 years old.
The Journey to the NFL
“Pistol Pete” Retzlaff grew up in Ellendale, North Dakota. He attended South Dakota State College, excelling in football and track. The hard work paid off in 1953 for Retzlaff. The Detroit Lions would select him in the NFL draft. Ultimately, the Lions would cut Retzlaff from the team. After his initial setback in professional football, Retzlaff would turn to the military. He served with the United States Army for 2 years. Pete was sold to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1956. This is the moment where Pete’s successful journey in the NFL would begin.
The “Baron” Pete Retzlaff began his football journey with the Eagles playing Fullback. He would transition to wide receiver in 1958. What a smart decision by management! Pistol Pete would burst on the scene and lead the NFL in receptions with 56 catches. Retzlaff became a key contributor for the Eagles through his remaining years with the team, including a world championship in 1960.
Throughout his excellent career, Pete earned five trips to the pro bowl. Additionally, he secured 1st team All-Pro honors twice. He excelled in his best season during the 1965 campaign. After a move to tight end, he finished the year with 66 receptions for 1,190 yards and 10 touchdowns. The hard work earned him the recipient of the Bert Bell award in 1965. The award is given by the Maxwell football club to the player of the year in the NFL. More recent winners include Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
In addition to his tremendous career on the field, he became a contributor to the game off the field. Pete moved to the front office of the Eagles as the General Manager and Vice president in 1969. He would serve in that role until 1972. in 1973, he transitioned to the booth as a broadcaster for 2 years. Pete served as a valuable member of the NFLPA for many years. Pistol Pete Retzlaff left behind a legacy that’ll never be forgotten. The legacy of Pete Retzlaff will live on forever through #44 hanging in the rafters of Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles family will always remember the impact Pistol Pete made in the organization.