August 1, 2003 by

Adrian Burk


Categories: Law, Sports

Adrian Burk, one of only five players to throw seven touchdowns in a single game, died on July 28. Cause of death was not released. He was 75.
Burk was an All-American in 1949 and threw for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns at Baylor University.
From 1951 to 1956, he played quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. During the 1954 season, Burk tied the record for the most touchdown passes in a single game. The only other players to match this feat were: Sid Luckman, Chicago, 1943; George Blanda, Houston, 1961; Y.A. Tittle, New York, 1962; and Joe Kapp, Minnesota, 1969.
After his pro career ended, Burk joined the Houston law firm of Vinson & Elkins, and spent his weekends working as a football official. Burk refereed the longest playoff game ever between Kansas City and Miami in 1971, and the Immaculate Reception game between Pittsburgh and Oakland in 1972.
He also served as the general counsel to the Houston Oilers, where he was credited with signing Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, the Houston Oilers’ first player.

8 Responses to Adrian Burk

  1. Charles Guittard

    I come from a longtime Baylor family that went to football games in the 40’s and 50’s. Since we lived in Dallas I tended to root for SMU and its Doak Walker, Kyle Rote, and others. My father a BU grad rooted for BU.
    We went to an SMU-BU game in Waco in the late 40’s. All I remember besides the fact that Burk and BU soundly thrashed SMU was the first play of the game by BU. On the first play Burk took the snap and made a long pass to someone for a touchdown. BU never looked back and I was very upset.
    Later I went to BU where there were good quarterbacks such as Don Trull, Ronnie Stanley, and others, but I never felt I saw anything like Adrian Burk.

  2. Robert R. Hudson

    In his “retirement”, Adrian Burk became a missionary of the Southern Baptist Convention. He and his wife served as curators of the Center for Missions and Training at the Luther Rice Homesite in Northborough, MA. (Luther Rice was an early 19th century Baptist missionary, educator, publisher, and organizer.)
    I visited there twice and found Adrian Burk to be a very friendly and humble man. He took his responsibilites very seriously. He could be fairly described as a Christian gentleman.


    In 1953, I played for the Pine Bluff, Arkansas “Judges” in the Cotton States League. The Monroe, Louiseana Sprots had a first baseman named Adrian Burke and guys told me that he was the Quarterback of the Eagles. I got to know Adrian during that year and found him to be a great competitor. He was playing baseball to keep in shape for the NFL.

  4. Dan Hett

    I got to know Adrian and his wife NevaNell in the late 1980’s when he came to North Berwick, Maine on the weekends to pastor a little church I was a part of. Adrian is one of the kindest,humblest, sincerest men I have ever known. He married my wife and I in 1991 and I will never forget the impact he had on myself and my wife. I look forward to seeing him again in Heaven!

  5. Benjamin Swanson

    My grandfather, Chuck Croft played football, basketball and ran track with Mr.Burk at Gaston High School in near Joinerville, Texas and to this day won’t stop talking about what a great man he was and how he was one of the best friends he had his entire life. I wish I could’ve met him.

  6. B. J. Gettler

    My sister and I had season tickets for the Eagles at Franklin Field in Philadelphia through most of the 1950’s, and we very much enjoyed Adrian’s tenure as quarterback for our team. Indeed, he was quite our hero,and we often wished that we could have gotten to meet him.

  7. Chuck Corb

    Coach Chuck Corb May 13 2022 I attended Westbury Baptist Church in Houston, Tx. where Adrian and his wife Neva Nell were directors of our Sunday School Dept. Adrian later took the position of curator of the Luther Rice Center in Mass. During the Christmas holidays of 1985 I helped Adrian drive one of his cars from Houston to Mass. Staying with him there for several days. Adrian pulled out some old game film from when he quarterbacked the Eagles. In a film where he took the Eagles on a 90 yd. drive vs the New York Giants. In the secondary for the Giants were Tom Landry, Kyle Rote and Frank Gifford! Adrian is the only man to have played in the NFL, Officiated in the NFL and been in the Front office Of an NFL team. Above all this Adrian would prefer to be know as a Christian!!!!

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