Marc Bulger’s basement in his Nashville home has numerous mementos of his football playing days. The guy has many great memories, from his record-breaking days as a quarterback at West Virginia University to some terrific achievements as an NFL quarterback.
But on one of the basement walls is a framed page from a newspaper 26 years ago. It’s the 1994 Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 high school all-star team that Bulger made as a senior at Central Catholic High School.
Bulger’s basement is a great example of what the Fabulous 22 team means, even to guys who have gone on to great things in college and the NFL. This is the 40th anniversary of the first Fab 22, which is picked every year from players in the WPIAL and City League. Bulger is one of the players selected to the P-G’s all-time Fabulous 22. The team was picked this year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first Fab 22. The team was picked by a committee and only players on the 40 Fab 22s were eligible.
The framed Fab 22 in Bulger’s basement is above a photo of Bulger as a St. Louis Ram, handing the ball off to Marshall Faulk.
“I have jerseys from Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly on the wall, too,” said Bulger, who was a two-time Pro Bowl selection. “That framed Fab 22 is front and center.”
Besides living in Nashville with his wife, Mavis, and two young daughters, Bulger now owns a farming business in Missouri that produces wheat, corn and soybeans. He also is in his 13th year of running The Marc Bulger Foundation that benefits first responders, military men and women and children in life threatening situations.
When asked what making the Fab 22 meant, Bulger said, “It was enormous. I’m not kidding. Between that and making the Big 33, those meant a lot.”
Here is what some other players on the all-time Fab 22 had to say about the meaning of the Fab 22:
LaVar Arrington, North Hills: “I would’ve been happy to make the Fabulous 22 in the old Post-Gazette North (weekly edition). Football is a religion in Pittsburgh, and to see yourself on the Fab 22 is a way to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Case closed. People who would say this player is really good from one area or that player from another, the best question you could ask is, ‘Did he make the Fabulous 22?’ If not, I don’t want to hear it. I settled a bunch of discussions just from the Fab 22.”
Steve Breaston, Woodland Hills: “It comes out every Thanksgiving, right? It was always a big deal. I actually felt like I should’ve made it my junior year. That kind of pushed me harder my senior year because you knew that was the cream of the crop. If you made the Fab 22, you knew you were probably headed somewhere special.”
Tyler Palko, West Allegheny: “You have to remember my dad was always a high school coach and I remember as a little kid, I would see his players on the Fab 22 and wanted to be part of that crew someday. For me, playing in the WPIAL, playing for a championship at Three Rivers Stadium, maybe making the cover of the sports section in the newspaper and making the Fab 22, that’s the pinnacle for a high school kid.”
Phil Jurkovec, Pine-Richland: “Making the all-time Fab 22 is a huge honor for me. I remember looking at the paper every year with my dad and brother to check out the Fab 22. I’d always follow where the guys were from and where they were going to college. Besides winning a state championship, it was always a dream of mine to be on the Fab 22 list because of how many great players were on it.”
Brandon Short, McKeesport: “Of course I remember making the Fab 22. Every young football player in the WPIAL wants to be a part of the Fab 22, and it’s an honor and a privilege to be mentioned on this all-time team. I was ecstatic and overjoyed to be part of it. I’m happy the tradition is living on.”
Paul Posluszny, Hopewell: “The Fab 22 was, and still is, such a significant honor. Football is such a big part of our culture and community back home. Playing the ultimate team sport with your best friends is such a powerful experience. Making the Fab 22 represented your family, teammates, your school and community. It was such a special accomplishment for our team. I could talk about football and the impact of Western Pennsylvania all night.”
Jeff Christy, Freeport: “I’m quite sure I still have the Fab 22 from when I made it buried in a scrapbook somewhere. I think it was a great honor because Freeport was such a small school and really didn’t get much publicity. The offense we ran was more 4 yards and a cloud of dust, rather than some of the high-power, throwing offenses you see today.”
Mark Kelso, North Hills: “I do remember that Fab 22 feature and suspect I made the team in 1980 because we had such a great group of teammates and coaches. I got some recognition, but it was a collective effort, for sure.”
Brian Davis, Washington: “I remember being voted to the Fab 22 and it was an honor to be named, just because we had so many great players back then. And to be picked three times was such a big honor.”
Sean Lee, Upper St. Clair: “I remember waiting to get the newspaper just to see if I made it. I read it every year because growing up in a football family, with even my mom and dad loving football, we looked forward to the Fab 22. The tradition runs so deep and it was a huge deal at the time to make it, and to be on this (all-time) list is even bigger. There’s no question excitement comes out when you see yourself part of a tradition that runs deep in the area.”
Mike White: email@example.com and Twitter @mwhiteburgh