Joe Kopcha
Date of birth: December 23, 1905
Place of birth: Whiting, Indiana
Date of death: July 29, 1986
Place of death: Hobart, Indiana
Career information
Position(s): Offensive guard
College: Chattanooga
 As player:
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Playing stats at

Joseph Edwards "Joe" Kopcha (December 23, 1905, Whiting, Indiana – July 29, 1986, Hobart, Indiana) is a former professional American football player.

Kopcha played eight years in the National Football League, mainly for the Chicago Bears. He was an offensive lineman. Kopcha attended the University of Chattanooga, where he studied to become a obstetrician,[1] and played professional football in order to fund his university studies.[2] Kopcha played for the Detroit Lions when he obtained an internship at Harper Hospital, after previously studying at the Rush Medical College when playing for the Bears.[3] Kopcha used his knowledge to redesign the shoulder pads worn by players, with his basic designs still in use today.[4]


  1. Layden, Elmer (November 1936). "College Athletics Over-Emphasised? No!". The Rotarian 49 (5): 60.
  2. Carroll, John M (2004). Red Grange and the Rise of Modern Football. United States: University of Illinois Press. p. 175. ISBN 9780252071669.
  3. Heise, Kenan. "Dr. Joseph Kopcha, 80, Guard For Bears In `30s". Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  4. Braunwart, Bob. "DR. JOE: A GUARD'S GUARD". Retrieved 18 February 2013.

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