Wisconsin Football Countdown: No. 51, Mike Webster


As the countdown to the first Wisconsin football game of the season continues, Badger of Honor is taking a look at Badgers by the numbers, checking in on a different Badger or Badgers players who wore the number corresponding with the remaining days until the Badgers head to Texas to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 5.

Next up in our countdown, signifying 51 days until college football is back, is Mike Webster.

Webster, a Rhinelander, Wisconsin native, was Wisconsin’s center from 1971 to 1973.

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Wisconsin Badgers

While the Badgers weren’t particularly good during his tenure at Wisconsin (the team went 12-21-1 from 1971 to 1973), Webster earned recognition as one of the best in the business.

He was a first team All-Big Ten selection, the Jimmy Demetral Team MVP, and a team captain in 1973.

He turned his collegiate success into a fifth round selection, No. 125 overall, in the 1074 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He went on to become one of the most successful Badgers alumni in the NFL, playing in 245 NFL games over the course of a 17-year professional career.

After playing in a backup role for two seasons, Webster became Pittsburgh’s starting center in 1976. He would play for Pittsburgh until 1988, helping the Steelers win four Super Bowls (1975, 1976, 1979 and 1980). He finished out his career playing for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989-1990.

He was selected to nine Pro Bowls, including an eight-year stretch from 1979 to 1986. He played in more games and seasons with the Steelers than anyone in franchise history, and his No. 52 has not been worn by a Steelers player since his retirement.

In the 1970s he was named to NFL’s 75th anniversary team, and in 1997 was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, making him one of just two former Badgers (Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch is the other) to be in the Hall. He was later elected into the Wisconsin Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

Webster passed away in 2002.

The football stadium in his hometown of Rhinelander is named in his honor.

Who wore No. 51 first?

• Guard Paul Schuette first wore No. 51 in 1927.

Who wears No. 51 now?

• Incoming freshman inside linebacker Alec Ingold will wear No. 51 for the Badgers. Ingold was the No. 7 overall prospect in the state of Wisconsin, a dual-threat quarterback who knew in the recruiting process he would be playing defense at UW. He was Wisconsin’s Gatorade Player of the Year last season at Bay Port High School in Green Bay.

Who wore No. 51 last?

• Defensive end Tyler Dippel last wore No. 51 for the Badgers in 2013.

Stay tuned to Badger of Honor as we continue our daily countdown in preparation of the season opener against Alabama.

Next: Wisconsin Football Experience

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