American Football Database
Date of birth: (1930-03-28)March 28, 1930
Place of birth: Mingo Junction, Ohio
Date of death: November 6, 2017(2017-11-06) (aged 87)
Place of death: Natchez, Mississippi
Career information
Position(s): Linebacker
NFL Draft: 1952 / Round: 7 / Pick 80
Career highlights and awards
Career stats
Games played     155
Interceptions     16
Fumble recoveries     22
Touchdowns     2

Playing stats at

Joseph Francis Fortunato (March 28, 1930 – November 6, 2017) was an American football linebacker in the National Football League.

Fortunato played 12 seasons for the Chicago Bears (1955–1966). As a linebacker, he made the Pro Bowl five times,[1] and was named to the NFL 300 Greatest Players team. He wore #31 with the Chicago Bears. Fortunato played fullback and linebacker for Mississippi State University, and made All-American in 1951. He is a member of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Fortunato made his home in south Mississippi.

He spent two seasons as a coach with the Chicago Bears; 1967 as linebackers coach and 1968 as defensive coordinator.

In 2017, the Professional Football Researchers Association named Fortunato to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2017 [2]

Fortunato is one of only four players named to the National Football League 1950s All-Decade Team who isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as the only defensive player from the team currently in the hall.

Fortunato died on November 6, 2017.[3]


External links

Preceded by
Jim Dooley
Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinators
Succeeded by
Jimmy Carr