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Wade with Donna Reed, 1959
October 4, 1930|
|Died:||March 9, 2016
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||202 lb (92 kg)|
|High school:||Montgomery Bell Academy|
|NFL Draft:||1952 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
William James "Bill" Wade (October 4, 1930 – March 9, 2016) was an American football quarterback who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL). He is considered one of the greatest athletes in Nashville and Vanderbilt University history. Wade is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He is best known for being the starting quarterback on the Chicago Bears' 1963 NFL championship team.
Wade played for Vanderbilt University. He was named the Southeastern Conference's (SEC) Most Valuable Player and a second-team All-American. He was named MVP of the 1951 North–South Shrine Game in Miami. Wade also played in the Senior Bowl of 1952 and was selected to play in the College All-Star Game in Chicago.
Quarterbacking the Rams for seven seasons, Wade's best year personally was 1958, when he led the NFL in passing yards with 2,875. He was traded to the Bears in 1961 with teammates Del Shofner and John Guzik for two players and a draft pick. Wade topped the league in 1962 in pass completions and attempts, and threw a still-franchise-record 466 yards on Nov 11 in Dallas. He was the first Bear to record four games with 300+ passing yards in a season. In 1963, he led Chicago to the 1963 NFL Championship Game, scoring both Bears touchdowns on two 5-yard drives after turnovers in a 14–10 victory over the New York Giants in a game played in freezing weather conditions at Wrigley Field.
Wade was named to the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class.
Following eye surgery for glaucoma, Wade became legally blind. In an interview with Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune on January 30, 2007, days before the Bears played in Super Bowl XLI in Miami Gardens, Florida, Wade said from his Nashville home, "I could get there for the game, but I can't see it." He added: "I've got a Bears cap on right now." He died on March 9, 2016 in Nashville.
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