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Bob Swisher

Peoria has had only one athlete ever to play in three National Football League championship games: Bob Swisher of the Chicago Bears.

Swisher, who played college ball at Northwestern at 5-foot-10 and 158 pounds, joined the Chicago Bears in 1938 and played five seasons under legendary coach George Halas.

He appeared in the record-setting 73-0 Bears romp over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL title game, catching one pass for 35 yards, one of only seven passes the Bears, owning a crunching ground game, completed all day.

In the 33-14 win over Green Bay in the 1941 conference championship game he scored on a nine-yard run and then played in the NFL title game a week later in a 37-9 win over the New York Giants and in the 1942 title game, a 14-6 loss to Washington.

Swisher began his athletic career at Peoria Central High School, lettering in football, basketball, and track. He held the school's pole vault record from 1931 to 1970.

He later won letters in football and track at Northwestern.

During World II, Swisher, a lieutenant in the Navy, played with the powerful Iowa Pre-Flight Sea Hawks before being sent overseas.

He played one post-war season with the Bears and then turned to coaching, first at Loyola University in Los Angeles and then at the Naval Air Base in Millington, Tenn.

He passed away in 1979