Digital Postcard No. 2: The FWAA’s 1956 All-America Team


(Ed. Note: This is the second in the series of digital postcards commemorating 75 years of the FWAA All-America Team.  The first FWAA All-America Team was published in 1944 during World War II and is the second longest continuously published team in major-college football.)  

In 1956, milk was selling for 97 cents a gallon…The stock market rose to 499…The minimum wage topped out at $1 an hour…With Charlton Heston cast as Moses, the movie Ten Commandments premiered on Oct. 5…. RCA sold 90,000 color television sets…Elvis Presley recorded his first pop single, Heartbreak Hotel…. And smash hit My Fair Lady opened on Broadway.

The FWAA All-America Committee also released a team packed with stars, including Iowa tackle Alex Karras, who later would star on television and in the movies after a professional football career. Ohio State lineman Jim Parker won the Outland Trophy in 1956, but Karras would take it a year later. The 1956 FWAA team included eight backs and six of them would go on to careers worthy of being elected into the College Football Hall of Fame: John Brodie (Stanford), Jim Brown (Syracuse), Paul Hornung (Notre Dame), Johnny Majors (Tennessee), Tommy McDonald (Oklahoma) and Jack Pardee (Texas A&M).

Hornung claimed the Heisman Trophy that season (1,066 votes) in a close vote over second-place Majors (994 votes) and third-place McDonald (973) despite the fact Notre Dame finished with a losing record (2-8). Hornung is still the only Heisman Trophy winner to play on a losing team the year he won the award.

The national team of the year, however, was McDonald’s Sooners, who were on the way to a 47-game winning streak under Coach Bud Wilkinson that wouldn’t end until 1957. FWAA All-America center Jerry Tubbs was a stalwart on that powerhouse Oklahoma team that claimed the FWAA’s Grantland Rice Trophy, symbolic of the national title, for a second straight season.

Go to to see the entire list.

The Cotton Bowl Tie:  Syracuse’s Jim Brown would be the featured back in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1957. He nearly put the Orangemen in the win column. He rushed for 132 yards and scored three touchdowns, but TCU prevailed, 28-27. Brown was named one of the two Most Outstanding Players in the game along with TCU tackle Norman Hamilton, another FWAA All-America that season.

Your 1956 FWAA All-America Team Selectors:
Joe Sheehan, New York Times
Furman Bisher, Atlanta Journal
Jack Horner, Durham Herald
Jack Clowser, Cleveland Press
Volney Meece, Oklahoma City Oklahoman
Flem Hall, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Bill Leiser, San Francisco Chronicle