Mutscheller dies at 85

Staff reports
ND Insider

Former Notre Dame star Jim Mutscheller, a second-team All-American end and captain in 1951, died of kidney failure Friday at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Md. The Lutherville, Md., resident was 85.

A 6-1, 198-pound native of Beaver Falls, Pa., Mutscheller played under Hall of Fame Irish head coach Frank Leahy, working as a sophomore two-way contributor at left end on the 1949 Notre Dame national title squad.

Playing for the Baltimore Colts at tight end Mutscheller caught a 6-yard pass from Johnny Unitas to set up the overtime touchdown that won the 1958 NFL championship game. He caught five passes in the 1959 NFL title game as the Colts beat the Giants to repeat as champions.

At ND, Mutscheller played both ways as a starter at right end in 1950 and set an Irish record with 35 pass receptions (breaking the mark held by Leon Hart) for 426 yards and a team-leading seven touchdowns scored. Mutscheller flipped back to serve as the 1951 regular on offense at right end and grabbed another 20 receptions for 305 yards and two TDs.

He was a 12th-round draft pick of the NFL New York Yanks in 1952. He spent two years with the Marines (in Japan and Korea), then joined the Colts in 1954 and played through the 1961 season. As a tight end he made 220 career catches, 40 of them for TDs.

Mutscheller caught 44 passes in both 1956 and 1959 and made the NFL Pro Bowl in 1957. In 1957 he was a second-team all-pro selection by United Press International, Newspaper Enterprise Association and the New York Daily News. Helping the Colts claim consecutive NFL titles in 1958 and 1959, Mutscheller caught five passes in the Colts’ 31-16 title game win over the New York Giants in 1959.

He never missed a game in his eight seasons in pro football and continued in the insurance business with National Life Insurance Company of Vermont after his retirement from football.