Charles Follis by Milt Roberts in Black Sports. A look at the
accomplishments and obstacles for
“America’s first black professional football player”, Follis
(1879-1910) played for the Shelby (Oh.) Blues 1902-06. First
published in Black Sports, Nov. 1975.
Jim Parker by Don Smith. Biography of the HOF offensive lineman
for Baltimore 1957-67. “He was the first ‘pure’ offensive
lineman inducted into the Hall… The fact that Parker and
his teammates did the job well goes a long way toward explaining
the unprecedented passing feats of Unitas and the overall
success of the Colts….”
1955: That Wonderful Year by Bob Carroll. Summary of the ‘55
NFL season, including Cleveland’s 38-14 title win over L.A.,
Ogden Compton’s memorable pass to Night Train Lane, the
five-man line and the three-end attack.
Chuck Bednarik by Don Smith in Pro! Bio of the HOF linebacker-center
for the Eagles (1950-62). “As an offensive center, big Chuck
was a bulldozing blocker. On defense, he not only was a
true scientist at his job, but a bone-jarring tackler who
literally could stop even the best enemy runner ‘on a dime’.”
Previously published in Pro! (NFL game progam magazine)
Singles by Robert Sproule. “Ever hear of a non-forfeited football
game ending with the score 1-0? It happened… most recently
when the Montreal Alouettes beat the Ottawa Rough Riders
on Oct. 30, 1966. It is possible in Canada because they
have a way of scoring one point, all by itself. Appropriately
enough, it’s called a single.” CFL historian Sproule describes
the unique rule.
A Strange Switch by Stan Grosshandler. George Blanda’s started
college as a T-formation quarterback, before being switched
over to other roles-- tailback, defensive back, linebacker,
1940: That Wonderful Year from the New York Times. “This
past season ever will be remembered for one reason, the
73-0 massacre of the Washington Redskins by the Chicago
Bears, one of the greatest teams, amateur or professional,
in the annals of the gridiron sport.” A contemporary review
of the ‘40 NFL season.
YPSG by C.C. Staph. “What happens to some of the individual
records when adjusted in accord with the number of scheduled
games? We’re not advocating a ton of Roger Maris Asterisks,
but we thought you might be interested…“ In 1979, Dan Fouts
had a record 4,082 yards passing in 16 games for 255.1 “yards
per scheduled game”, less than Joe Namath’s 286.2 in 14
games in 1967.
The Steam Roller by John Hogrogian. “[M]ore than half a century
ago, in 1928, Rhode Island had its own National Football
League champions, the Providence Steam Roller. The story
of that team is the story of an era of professional football
much different from that of today.” At 12 pages, the definitive
history of Providence’s 7 seasons (1925-31) in the NFL.
The Executives: ‘We Thought Like Champs’ by Stan Grosshandler.
The most extensive known interview of the late Henry Jordan
(1935-79), the Green Bay Packers’ defensive tackle who would
later be enshrined at Canton in 1995. The title comes from
Vince Lombardi’s statement, “You are paid like executives,
so you will dress like them, act like them, and have their
The Toronto Argonauts (to World War I) by Robert Sproule. “Formed
in 1874 as an amateur rugby team, the Argonauts are the
oldest major-league football team in North America.” Traces
the Argonauts from the days of keeping a rowing team in
shape, up to their first Grey Cup win in 1914.
Dr. Joe [Kopcha]: A Guard's Guard by Bob Braunwart & Bob
Carroll. Interview and biography of Chicago Bears’ guard
Joe Kopcha (1929, 1932-36), who returned to the NFL after
getting his M.D. Dr. Joseph Kopcha retired to become an
obstetrician in Gary, Indiana and was a charter member of
PFRA. While putting together shin-guards, he explained to
Paddy Driscoll, “I want to protect my legs from osteomyelitis
disease.” Driscoll walked away.
Red Badgro by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. Interview and biography
of Morris “Red” Badgro, HOF member and one of the best “two-way
ends” to play in the NFL (1930-36). Badgro also played outfield
in the American League.
The Taylorville Scandal by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. The
story of how the Green Bay Packers were kicked out of the
NFL between the 1921 and 1922 seasons for using college
players under assumed names. From the article: “One last
piece of trivia: the ‘new’ Green Bay team of 1922 took as
its official nickname the Blues, although most cities around
the league continued to call them the Packers.”
All-American Football Conference by Stan Grosshandler. A 12-page
history of the AAFC, from its inception on June 4, 1944,
to its demise on December 9, 1949. The article includes
statistics and information about all eight teams.
Pro Football Records Should Include the AAFC by Ed Pavlick. A guest
editorial, along with an opposing viewpoint, that the PFRA
should support statistical recognition of the 1946-49 AAFC.
From the article: “The NFL claims it does not recognize
AAFC records because no ‘official’ game sheets are available,”
a circumstance which changed in 2008.
Cleveland's 1st Title by Joe Horrigan. How the Cleveland Bulldogs
became the 1924 NFL champions, despite losing a post-season
match with the second place Chicago Bears.
Happy Birthday NFL? by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. Although
the NFL dates its existence from September 17, 1920, PFRA
researchers Bob Braunwart, Bob Carroll and Joe Horrigan,
found that the “American Professional Football Conference”
or APFC was organized a month earlier on August 20, 1920.
The NFL Record & Fact Book would later be revised (1987)
to reflect the PFRA researchers’ discovery.
Now Kicking, Kelsch by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. The little-known
story of Christian “Mose” Kelsch, a former sandlot player
who might be the first “kicking specialist” in pro football.
On October 18, 1933, the 37 year old Kelsch became an unlikely
hero when he gave the new Pittsburgh team its first NFL
victory. “During his two-year NFL career, Kelsch was not
only the oldest player in the league, but he was also older
than the team’s owner, Art Rooney.” Tragically, Kelsch was
killed in an automobile accident in 1935.
Glenn Dobbs by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. “Although he played
eight seasons of outstanding professional football and ranks
among the greatest triple threats of all time, Glenn Dobbs
will probably never be elected to the Hall of Fame. Why?
Because four of his seasons were played in the All-America
Football Conference (1946-49) and the other four were played
in Canada (1951-54).”
Iron Men by Vic Frolund. An article about college football in the
1920s and prior, when entire teams would play the full game
without a substitution. The author concludes that the term
“iron man” to describe a 60 minute player, pro or college,
was first applied to describe the Brown U. team of 1926.
Iron Words by Joe Horrigan. A companion to “Iron Men”. When asked
why football games should be played while America was in
the Second World War, Cardinals’ head coach Jimmy Conzelman
gave an eloquent answer. Prior to the war, college graduates
“have been taught to build. Now they must learn to destroy.”
6 by Sayers by Associated Press. A look back at December 12, 1965,
when Gale Sayers scored six touchdowns in the Bears’ 61-20
win over the 49ers. Quoting from the AP article, Mankin
adds, “Believe it or not, he could have scored a seventh
touchdown. Jon Arnett zipped over on a short plunge for
the last TD and I believe Sayers was on the field at the
The Spartans Live on (in Detroit) by C. Robert Barnett. “Had it
not been for some Wisconsin ‘cheese’ and a Colorado basketball
game, the little town of Portsmouth, Ohio, might be able
to fly two National League championship pennants over Spartan
Municipal Stadium.” After coming close to being NFL champions
in both 1931 and 1932, the Spartans were sold in 1934 to
George A. Richards, who moved the team and renamed in the
Football Players Are Better Than Ever, Right? by David Shapiro.
Wrong, says Dr. Shapiro. “[T]he NFL’s official measurement
of season performance has never been corrected for the different
number of games in the seasons being compared. This is no
different than keeping track records without regard to whether
the distances are measured in feet, yards, or meters.” The
Shapiro measure shows “12 ‘new’ NFL season records, courtesy
of logic and a pocket calculator, and 7 of them unbroken
since the 40’s”
The First AFL Game by Larry Bortstein. “Seconds after 8 o’clock
on the night of Sept. 9, 1980, Tony Discenzo, a 245-pound
Boston Patriots’ tackle from Michigan State University,
ran a few steps and kicked a football to the Denver Broncos….
Discenzo‘s boot kicked off an adventurecalled the American
Football League…” An 11-page recollection of the Broncos’
origins, including an interview with founder Bob Howsam.
First published in the Denver Post.
Firsts [in the AFL] by Larry Bortstein. From the first coin toss
to the first extra point attempt to miss, first-time assembly
of firsts from the Broncos 13-10 win over the Patriots in
the AFL’s inaugural game.
The Mugging of Bobby Layne by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll.
A review of the Ed Meadows incident and other violent moments
in football history. The title comes from the December 16,
1956 game between the Lions and Bears, in which Detroit
quarterback Layne was injured. “What had happened was that
220 pounds of Bears defensive end, all of it named Ed Meadows,
had blindsided Bobby with enough force to level any reasonably
well-constructed brick building.” Quote from Detroit coach
Buddy Parker: “Why didn’t Meadows bring a blackjack?”
Ken Haycraft Remembers the Way It Was by James E. Odenkirk. Life
for the average NFL player in the 1929 and 1930, as recounted
by end Ken Haycraft. Haycraft played for the Minneapolis
Redjackets and one game for Green Bay, and later became
an attorney. “While in New York City, the team stayed in
a first class hotel near Central Park. The players dressed
in their uniforms while in their rooms, then walked from
their hotel to Central Park in tennis shoes and practiced,
often to the delight of pedestrians.”
Hutson Brings Down the House by Pat Livingston. Recollection of
a 1942 Bears-Packers game, where Don Hutson made “the most
incredible premeditated play I ever saw on a football field.“
Originally published in the Pittsburgh Press.
Before the Beginning: The Roots of Pro Football by Bob Braunwart.
“[O]f today’s seven major football codes… all seven- American,
Association (soccer), Australian, Canadian, Gaelic, Rugby
League and Rugby Union -- are descended from a common source
which probably resembled rugby…” A history going back to
Shrove Tuesday, 217 A.D., and the Roman game of harpastum.
Latrobe, PA: Cradle of Pro Football by Robert Van Atta. A 21 page
history of the Latrobe Athletics (1895-1907), starting from
a 12-0 win over Jeanette on September 3, 1895, and John
Braillier’s first game as one of the first pro football
players. Starting with a 12-0 win over Jeanette PA, Latrobe
played until 1907. Dr. Braillier died on September 17, 1960,
forty years to the day after the NFL organizational meeting.
Dave Berry and the Philadelphia Story by Bob Carroll. Berry, owner
of the Pittsburgh Stars, and Philadelphia baseball owners
John I. Rogers (Phillies) and Ben Shibe (Athletics) put
together a three team round-robin for a pro football championship
in 1902, and dubbed the arrangement the National Football
League. “Of course, it was as national as the Pennsylvania
state line…” This is a reconstruction of the “1902 NFL season”.
Tom O’Rourke’s World Series by Bob Carroll. The story (8 pages)
of a pro football tournament held in 1902 and 1903, at New
York’s Madison Square Garden. Tom O’Rourke, the Garden‘s
manager, arranged the indoor tournament, on a 70 by 35 yard
Last Year of the Ohio League by Bob Carroll. Before the NFL was organized, the Ohio teams
played each other under a league-like arrangment.
Fritz Hanson: The Golden Ghost by Robert Sproule. The story of
how Fritz Hanson of North Dakota helped Winnipeg beat Hamilton,
18-12, in the 1935 Grey Cup. He set a record by returning
15 punts for a total of 339 yards, including a 78 yard return
for the winning touchdown.
The Oorang Indians by Braunwart, Carroll & Horrigan. “In American
sports lore, there never was, and surely never will be again,
anything like the Oorangs, the first, the last, and the
only all-Indian team ever to play in a major professional
sports league.” At 17 pages, everything about the 1922 NFL
team -- game results, stats, history, rosters and more.
Finished 1922 with a 3-6-0 record.
A Hunk of History: Hunk Anderson by Emil Klosinski. Biography of
Heartley “Hunk” Anderson. Besides being the Notre Dame coach
who took over from Knute Rockne, Anderson “was also an important
cog for the Chicago Bears in two distinct eras of that team’s
existence-- when they were just beginning and during their
dynasty years of the forties.” Anderson was interior lineman
(1922-25) and later an assistant coach.
The First NFL Game(s) by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. There
were two games on October 3, 1920, in Dayton, Ohio, and
Rock Island, Illinois, and the problem “is deciding just
what game really was the first”. The two games were Dayton
Triangles 14, Columbus Panhandles 0; and Rock Island Independents
45, Muncie Flyers 0. “Kickoff times were far from standardized
in 1920, and, as yet, no researcher has come forward with
the exact kickoff time for either game.”
Historic Horns by Anonymous. Reprinted from a 1958 program from
a Utah-Utah State game. The story of Rams’ halfback Fred
Gehrke, and how he designed the NFL’s first helmet logo.
Simpatico! A Tale of Two Raider QBs by Joe Horrigan. “[T]he similarities
in Plunkett and Flores are too great to be overlooked….”
An article written after Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett
and head coach Tom Flores had guided Oakland to a 27-10
win over the Eagles in Super Bowl XV. Besides making spectacular
comebacks in their careers, both men had other things in
Pro Football's First TV Game : 1939 by Jim Campbell. Brooklyn 23,
Philadelphia 14, on New York’s NBC station. “But, so far
as anyone can tell, none of the players knew the game was
being broadcast to the approximately 1,000 TV sets in New
York City.” The article includes an interview with Allen
Walz, who was the announcer for the game telecast on October
Blue Shirt Charlie's Big Red Dream by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll.
Charlie Bidwill purchased the Chicago Cardinals in 1932
for $50,000, and by 1947, had built the team up to championship
status. Sadly… He never had a chance to see his Dream Backfield
Pat Harder by Stan Grosshandler. An interview with the man who
led the NFL in scoring for three consecutive seasons with
the Cardinals, played for the Cards and the Lions from 1946-1953,
and later became an NFL official.
The Discarded Championship by Horrigan, Braunwart & Carroll.
A 12 page retrospective of the Pottsville Maroons and the
controversy over the 1925 NFL title. “The nice people of
Pottsville are not barefaced liars. Like Don Quixote, they’re
simply unaware of the true situation. It’s time they stopped
tilting at the NFL windmill. The Maroons were a heck of
a good team in 1925, but the NFL did not rip off their championship.”
Moose of the Bears: George Musso by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll.
Biography of Hall of Famer George Musso, including an interview
with the Chicago Bears (1933-44) guard. Musso, “after a
pro football career famous for his dual role as immovable
object and irresistible force,” went on to become sheriff
of Madison County, Illinois.
Records: Near & Non by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. Some
interesting plays that didn’t make the record book, including
“shortest distance covered by a football between passer
and receiver” (Harry Newman to Mel Hein); blocked kicks
in a quarter (3 by Len Sachs, 10/31/20); the smallest NFL
player (Jack Shapiro); career pass completions by a one-eyed
passer with no depth perception (732 by Tommy Thompson);
and “Most Total Yards Lost Rushing in a Single Season”,
minus 180 yards for Davey O’Brien.
The Ohio League by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. Short article
about the loosely organized competition between Ohio’s pro
football teams before the NFL was organized. “There was
never anything official about it, and its makeup changed
from year to year. Essentially, the ‘league’ was made up
of those teams that were strong enough to be considered
‘major’”. Includes a list of Ohio champions, 1903-1919.
The Duke of Boston: Gino Cappelletti by Bob Braunwart & Bob
Carroll. Bio and interview of Gino Cappelletti, who didn’t
play an NFL game until 1970, but was one of the first stars
of the American Football League as a kicker and receiver
for the Boston Patriots. “He was a ‘team player’ first.
Being a ‘star’ was only a distant second.”.
The NFL Down Under by Stanley Grosshandler. “The National Football
League of South Australia had alrady been around for a long
time when George Halas, Jim Thorpe and the others met in
Ralph Hay’s automobile showroom…” A 1981 introduction to
Australian Rules Football.
NFL Competitors: 1926-1975 by Stephen Hensley. Familiar information
about the first “six attempts to capture some of the NFL
market”; written in 1981 before the USFL.
The Best Pro a College Ever Had by Bernie McCarty. “Unique in football
history… He was a bonafide profesional who was allowed to
play another season of amateur football” The true story
of star halfback Bob Steuber, who played one game for the
Chicago Bears in 1943, then returned to college football
for Depauw University.
Raging Bullchips by M. Wilson. December 16, 1929-- Bears’ center
and future HOF member George Trafton goes into the boxing
ring against White Sox player Arthur Shires, with a $1,000
purse on the line. Epilogue-- in 1971, another boxing promoter
wanted to match Bears’ LB Bill Staley against the NBA’s
The Man from North Dakota by Tony Cusher. Who was the first NFL
player from North Dakota? Tackle Larry J. Steinbach, who
joined the Chicago Bears in 1930 as a 29 year old rookie.
Steinbach, whose NFL career was from 1930-1933, also played
for the Cardinals and Eagles.
The Town That Hated Pro Football by Bob Carroll. It was Rochester,
New York. Leo Lyons, “one of the authentic heroes of the
league’s early years,” kept the Rochester Jeffersons in
the NFL in its first six seasons, from 1920 to 1925. “Lyons
loved pro football, but it didn’t return the affection.”
Lionel Conacher: Canada's Answer to Jim Thorpe by Bob Braunwart
& B.Carroll. Lionel Conacher (1901-1954) took the Toronto
Argonauts to the Grey Cup, played outfield on Toronto’s
AAA World Series, played in the first pro lacrosse league,
boxed with Jack Dempsey, wrestled professionally, and played
for two Stanley Cup winners in the National Hockey League
Snow Birds: The 1948 Philadelphia Eagles by Bob Carroll, et.al.
How Coach Greasy Neale, rusher Steve Van Buren, and a roster
of outstanding players, took perennial loser Philadelphia
to the NFL championship. The game was played on December
19, 1948, in a blizzard. Additional material from the Pro
Football Hall of Fame reprinted by permission.
The Early Years of Pro Football in Southwest Pa. by Robert Van
Atta. “Among the least known of southwestern Pennsylvania’s
historical distinctions is the region’s substantial role
as…. the central spawning for a sport that today dominates
the sports pages” At 14 pages, core material about the first
pro teams in Pittsburgh, Latrobe, Greensburg, and elsewhere.
Franklin’s World’s Champion Football Team by William R. Smith.
The record of the 1903 Franklin team, which went 12-0-0
and was unscored upon, including its playoff games at the
pro football World Series at Madison Square Garden. The
article includes biographies of the players, including quarterback
Jack Hayden, linebacker Lynn D. Sweet, lineman Tige McFarland,
and halfback Teck Matthews. Reprinted from a book about
Franklin, Pennsylvania, published circa 1917.
The Peregrinations of Frankie Filchock by Braunwart, Carroll, &
Horrigan. Copiously researched biography of quarterback
Frank Filchock, statistical leader in the NFL, until he
was banned in 1946 for failing to report a bribe offer.
Filchock played and coached in the Canadian leagues from
1947-1958, and finished as the first coach of the Denver
Broncos. Filchock wasn’t banned for life, returning briefly
in 1950 for the Colts.
Yards, Points and Wins by Pete Palmer. Not for mathematicians only,
it’s a regression analysis of statistical data from 1970
to 1980, with a look at average yards and average points
per drive. From the article: “On the average, increasing
a team’s net points by 37 over the season would result in
one more win.”
Big Mac of the Browns' Attack by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll.
Mac Speedie wore leg braces as a child, but overcame a crippling
illness to become a leading receiver for the Cleveland Browns
(1946-52), and finished his career in Canada. The article
also compares his stats to those of Tom Fears, Elroy Hirsch,
and Pete Pihos.
Mr. Touchdown: Evolution of a Canadian Record by Robert Sproule.
Canadian TD record. George Reed of the Saskatchewan Roughriders
(1966-1975) scored 137 touchdowns in his career. Prior holders
of the record for career TDs in Canada were Dub Sale, Bob
Isbister, Jack O’Connor, Lionel Conacher, Brian Timmis,
Virgil Wagner, Normie Kwong and Dick Shatto.
Hinkey Haines: The Giants' First Superstar by Bob Carroll. “Hinkey
Haines was one of those running backs who blaze across the
NFL, sky for only a short time, yet burn so brightly that
they are honored long after their last touchdown.” Henry
Luther Haines (1898-1979) played for the Giants (1925-28),
Staten Island (1929, 1931) and then served as an NFL referee
from 1934 to 1954.
A Team Named Ernie? [Nevers] by Bob Carroll. After he joined the
Duluth NFL team, the club was billed as “Ernie Nevers’ Eskimos”.
Nevers (1903-76) was one of the charter members of the Pro
Football Hall of Fame.
Opinion: The Greatest Offense by Bob Carroll. The 1981 Chargers?
The 1950 Rams? “The way to rate offenses, at least in the
‘high-powered sense, I decided, was to find out how quickly
they scored their touchdowns,“ and this adds rushing and
passing attempts, plus sacks that stopped an attempt, and
then dividing it by offensive touchdowns. Using the formula
(ra + pa+ s)/(rtd + ppd) = pptd, a calculation is made of
“plays per touchdown” The team with the lowest pptd was
the 1941 Bears.
Father Knew Best: Gino Marchetti by Bob Carroll. His father warned
him to “stay out of the other boys’ way”, and “During most
of his career, of course, the ‘other boys’ had to stay out
of Gino Marchetti’s way. No one played defensive end better.”.
During the 1958 NFL championship, however, the greatest
game ever played, his teammate Big Daddy Lipscomb fell across
Gino’s leg and broke it-- in two places. Marchetti was voted
into the Hall of Fame in 1972.
Arnie Weinmeister by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll. “Who were
the greatest tackles in pro football? [O]ne player who is
almost certain to show up on the list is Arnie Weinmeister,
who played offensive and defensive tackle for eight seasons
with the New York Yankees and Giants and the British Columbia
Autograph Collecting by Jeffrey W. Morey. A researcher explains
how getting a player’s autograph adds a new element to the
learning of history. A bit of advice: “send some of the
information you have uncovered to a living player for him
1938 by Bob Carroll. New York Giants’ coach Steve Owen “had so
much talent on his roster that he was able to alternate
complete teams by quarters-- an early version of the two
platoon system.“ The Giants went on to win the NFL championship
23-17 over the Packers, before a record crown of 48,120
at the Polo Grounds.
The First Lineup by Robert Sproule. American football adopted the
“scrimmage system” in 1879. When did Canada pick up the
practice that turned rugby into Canadian football? Sproule
found the answer in a Toronto paper dated November 6, 1880.
The Era of Hutson by Green Bay Packers. (reprinted from an article
in the program for the 9/27/57 Bears-Packers game). Don
Hutson is praised as “the individual who fuesed a good 1935
team into a champion”. Titles followed in 1939 and 1944.
“They had one thing the earlier kings didn’t enjoy. They
Big Deal in New York: Andy Robustelli by Bob Braunwart & Bob
Carroll. Defensive end Andy Robustelli “was pushing 30,
and after five tough seasons, the Rams decided he was on
the verge of slipping. They arranged a trade with the New
York Giants…. Far from slipping, Robustelli put in nine
seasons in New York and was chosen All-League five more
Bronko Nagurski by Bob Carroll. “Never fancy, Nagurski didn’t dance,
jiggle or joke; he just plowed straight ahead-- right through
people!” Asked how he might be able to stop the Bears’ Nagurski,
Giants’ Coach Steve Owen replied, “With a shotgun as he’s
leaving the dressing room.”
Jim Ringo by Bob Carroll. The lowly seventh round draft choice
figured that he couldn‘t compete at the 1953 Packers training
camp, so he went home. “But back in Easton, PA, both his
wife and his father jumped all over him. How could he quit
after only two weeks without really giving himself a chance?
Besides, asked his father, where else could he earn $5,250
for four months’ work?”
Rating the Receivers (Humor) by Bob Carroll. Nobody can keep track
of their statistics. It’s a little known fact that, in the
fans’ minds, the receivers are rated by the psychological
impact of their names. Swann = graceful; Largent = big fellow;
Winslow= eventual victory. “NFL teams should think about
it at their next draft.” Not to be read by the humorless.
Playing for the Pack in the 30's by C. Robert Barnett. An interview
with Clark Hinkle, HOF fame fullback from Toronto (Ohio)
who played for the Packers from 1932 to 1941. Reprinted
by permission from Packer Report, Aug. 13, 1981
The First Canadian Championship by Bob Sproule. Wednesday afteroon,
November 5, 1884-- Thanksgiving Day in Canada. The Toronto
Argonauts lost to the Montreal FC, 30-0 in a matchup between
the champs of the Ontario and Quebec leagues.
Pro Football's Doctor Alumni by Stan Grosshandler. The
Chicago Bears had guards Joe Kopcha, Danny Fortmann, Jim
Logan, and Tony Ippolito, as well as QB Nick Sacrinty and
receiver Bill McColl. Other M.D.s were Dave Middleton (WR-Lions),
Paul Berezney (T-Packers), Tony Adamle (LB) and Bob Kolesar
(G) of the Browns, and Mike Mandarino (G-Eagles), as well
as AAFC Brooklyn coach Mal Stevens. Les Horvath and Jock
Sutherland were dentists. Adapted from an article published
in Rx Sports and Travel, Sept/Oct 1970.
A Discovery (Humor) by Bob Carroll. “Pro football’s greatest boon
to the TV fan is the huddle. In between downs all the players
come together in a circle so I can go get a sandwich… As
long as Americans keep eating, soccer will never replace
pro football in their hearts!”
Doug Atkins by Don Smith. Biography of the Bears’ defensive end,
who played in the NFL from 1953-1969, and “wreaked havoc
for 17 years and 205 games” on the league’s quarterbacks.
Atkins, who also played college basketball at Tennessee,
entered the Hall of Fame in 1982. Jim Parker comments, “After
my first meeting with him, I really wanted to quit pro football.
Finally, my coaches convinced me not every pro player was
A Nightmare by Ron Reid. Businessman Jim Schneider of Pittsburgh
had an idea for a new system of uniform numbering. “Under
Schneider’s system, every offensive player would be assigned
an odd number, every defensive player an even number. The
position of every player would be coded by a letter.” For
example, Terry Bradshaw might have Q-3 on his uniform and
Jack Lambert might be L-4. While many agreed that it sounded
like a good idea, no team at any level would try it. Reprinted
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 21, 1982.
The Second Canadian Championship by Bob Sproule. On November 10,
1892, a crowd of 2,000 turned out in Toronto to watch the
champs of the Quebec and Ontario leagues. Osgoode Hall beat
Montreal FC, 45-5.
PCPFL: 1940-45 by Bob Gill. Los Angeles Bulldogs, San Diego Bombers,
San Francisco Packers, Oakland Giants and Phoenix Panthers.
At six pages, a comprehensive article about the Pacific
Coast Professional Football League.
All-Pro: 1917 by Bob Carroll. Three sportswriters… in Indianapolis,
Cleveland and Toledo -- named their choices for the best
pro football players. Paddy Driscoll of the Hammond Clabby’s,
and Jim Thorpe and Greasy Neale of the Canton Bulldogs,
are in the Hall of Fame. Frank Blocker of Hammond was on
two of the lists. The only players not from Ohio or Indiana
were three from the Detroit Heralds.
Red Grange in Canada Reprinted from the November 9, 1926 issue
of the Hamilton Spectator. The first American Football
League played a game in Toronto before 10,000 fans, with
the New York Yankees beating the Los Angeles Wildcats, 28-0.
The Hartford Blues, Part 1 by John Hogrogian. In 1925, the Waterbury
Blues were Connecticut’s best pro football team, and moved
to Hartford in midseason. During the autumn, owner George
Mulligan put all four of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame
into Blues uniforms. The article includes results for the
Blues and for All-New Britain.
Passing Thoughts by Bob Carroll. The NFL has the passer rating,
but the Shapiro system adjusts for number of scheduled games
per year, the Carroll system adjusts for yards per completion
(“here’s what happened in that famous season-- surely you
remember it-- when every one of the Top 20 threw exactly
25 passes in each of his team’s 16 games”) and another system
works by “subtracting 80 yards from the passer’s total yardage
for every interception he threw and THEN dividing by his
pass attempts”. Otto Graham finishes first in all four measures.
Glenn Presnell by Jim Walker. “It seems strange that this man was
nicknamed ‘Press’, since it was the press, or lack of it,
that may be one reason he is not in the Pro Football Hall
of Fame”. Presnell helped the Ironton Tanks beat both the
New York Giants and the Chicago Bears in 1930, then played
in the NFL from 1931-1936 with Portsmouth and Detroit..
Includes an interview with Presnell (1905-2004). Reprinted
by permission from from the Ironton (O.) Tribune,
July 20, 1980.
The Hartford Blues, Part 2 by John Hogrogian. In 1926, the Hartford
Blues became one of the 22 franchises in the National Football
League. The story of Connecticut’s NFL team, which finished
The Bronx by Victor Mastro. “[O]ne borough in a great city stands
atop these mountains of football folklore-- the Bronx.”
Besides Yankee Stadium, the Bronx contributed Sid Luckman,
Ken Strong and Ed Danowski, and the sneakers for the famous
1934 “Sneaker Game”. Fordham College provided Vince Lombardi
, Al Wojciechowicz and Ed Franco, and was the source of
the Rams nickname.
A Disgrace: 1952 Dallas Texans by Stan Grosshandler. “’They were
a disgrace!’. This terse statement from Dick Hoerner, a
former Ram fullback great and a member of the 1952 Dallas
Texans, aptly describes a nadir in the history of the NFL.”
The team attracted 50,000 customers-- for four home games,
before leaving Dallas forever. The team history includes
a roster, and anecdotes from Art Donovan and Chicago’s Don
Kindt. Eagles coach Greasy Neale sent a scout to watch the
Texans practice at their new home in Hershey, PA. Says Donovan,
laughing, “When the guy gets back, he tells him we were
playing volleyball over the goal posts. Neale thinks the
guy is crazy.”
Pennsylvania Polka by Braunwart, Carroll & Horrigan. The details
of April 8, 1941, when the owners of the Eagles swapped
franchises with the owner of the Steelers. “Did the Eagles
and Steelers exchange teams? No, but they did exchange a
great number of players in what amounted to a massive trade,
as announced on December 9, 1940... Did the Steelers and
Eagles exchange franchises? Yes, on April 8, 1941. Thereby,
Bell and Rooney gained the right to put their team of ex-Eagles
and Steelers in Pittsburgh, and Thompson gained the right
to put his team of ex-Eagles and Steelers in Philadelphia.
The article includes a complete list of who went where.
We report, you decide.
All-Pros of the Early NFL by John Hogrogian. From 1923 to 1931,
an annual poll was conducted by the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Three All-Pro teams were picked for the initial list, published
on December 21, 1923, with selections made by sportswriters
in 12 league cities, and a Pittsburgh paper.
Bambi! Lance Alworth by Don Smith. The biography of San Diego Chargers’
receiver Lance Alworth. In 1978, he became the first AFL
player to be selected to the Hall of Fame. “He was… the
premier pass catcher of an entire decade and the first ture
superstar the American Football League ever produced.” In
1965, he had 1,602 yards receiving an an average of more
than 23 yards per catch.
Lion on Defense: Yale Lary by Don Smith. “For the Detroit Lions,
who dominated the NFL through most of the 1950s, Yale Lary
was the kind of do-everything player who comes along once
in a generation.” The defensive back, who had 50 career
interceptions, was also a punter with a 44.3 yard average.
“It was the hang time on Yale’s punts, as well as the length,
that provided the Lions such a lethal weapon for so many
years. In 1960, for instance, Detroit opponents averaged
less than a yard per return on Lary’s punts.”
All-Pros of 1927 by John Hogrogian. In 1927, the NFL “went from
a 22 team behemoth to a tight 12 team outfit. With a reduced
number of teams, interested observers could see most of
the league’s players without spending a fortune on train
fare.” Besides the Green Bay Press-Gazette poll of 18 writers,
five other persons selected teams, including Manhattan attorney
Daniel Webster Krulewitch. Rather than a first and second
team, Yankees’ coach Ralph Scott named a “power attack”
team and a “clever attack” team.
Friedman by Bob Carroll. Reflections on Benny Friedman, NFL quarterback
from 1927-1934, shortly after Friedman’s death in 1982.
“When Benny Friedman was passing, no one was compared to
him. He was unique.” (Friedman was elected to the Hall of
Fame in 2005, more than twenty years after he died).
Akron Pros 1920 by Bob Carroll. “They won the first NFL title--
officially and against the odds. Yet , they go largely unrecognized.”
All about the Akron APFA team, coached by Elgie Tobin, which
went 8-0-3. As champions, they were awarded a trophy that
was never seen again, manufactured by the Brunswick-Balke
Collender Company. “Perhaps it’s hidden in some Akron attic--
the dusty symbol of the NFL’s first championship.”
That Game of Football by Robert Sproule. “A great deal of similarity
between the Canadian and American versions is apparent.
But such was not always the case…” The Toronto Argonauts
statistician outlines the parallel development of NFL and
CFL ball after the 1874 Harvard vs. McGill game.
National Football League Franchise Transactions by Joe Horrigan.
From August 20, 1920 (“Akron granted a franchise.”) to January
21, 1949 (“Boston franchise cancelled by the league.”),
the dates for everything-- creation, move, demise -- and
Pro Football Spreads South by Bob Gill. Between 1926 and 1936,
there was another American Football League with teams in
St. Louis and Kansas City (Blues), Dallas (Rams), Charlotte
(Bantams), Memphis, Louisville and Tulsa. During 1934, they
were “the strongest minor league yet in operation”.
Renaissance Men and Others by Stan Grosshandler. “They were the
men for all seasons-- true Renaissance Men!” In this case,
they were major league athletes during football season and
baseball season, or basketball season. This was the original
compilation of two-sport stars, later a chapter in Total
Columbus Metros: Forced to Punt by Kevin B. McCray. In 1978, the
Midwest Football League champs from Ohio sought to become
the “Twenty-Ninth Best Team in America”. Interesting anecdotes
from semi-tough football in the late 70s. The Metros had
some of their players suit up for the opposing team to avoid
a cancellation; sent former Steelers quarterback Joe Gilliam
$350 so he could play against them; and on July 12, 1980,
played against the Racine Gladiators in a game where cable
television viewers could call the plays using a remote (Columbus
Kenosha Cardinals: Life on the Fringe by Bob Gill. “What do Johnny
Blood, Beattie Feathers, Jim Gillette and Paul Christman
have in common? Answer: All played for Kenosha during the
Cardinals' peak seasons, 1940-41.” In its final season in
1941, the Wisconsin team played home games against five
of the NFL’s teams-- the Bears, Eagles, Chicago Cardinals,
Rams, and Packers, and a game in St. Paul against the Giants.
A week after Pearl Harbor, Kenosha’s players went off to
World War II.
All-Pros of 1930 by John Hogrogian. Everyone had an opinion in
1930, and the Green Bay Press-Gazette published most of
them. A writers’ poll, a poll of the players, and the opinions
of Red Grange, Ernie Nevers, two sportswriters, and one
fan, picking thirteen squads in all.
All-Pro Addenda by Bob Gill. Gill found that regardless of how
many votes a player received overall, he was credited only
with how many votes he received as a quarterback, halfback,
ret. “As a result, several deserving players –players who
had been legitimately chosen by qualified voters – were
left off the teams.” In 1939, the league’s MVP, Parker Hall
had 32 points overall, but only 21 as a halfback, six as
a quarterback, and five at fullback. In tallying all votes,
Gill comes up with some different results.
Redskins from Washington by Bob Kirlin. They played college in
the State of Washington, before being on the 1942 champions
for the City of Washington. Ray Flaherty, Cecil Hare, Ray
Hare, and Ed Justice were all Gonzaga Bulldogs, and Dick
Farman and Steve Slivinski were from the Evergreen State
When the Packers Went to War by Bob Barnett. During World War II,
“the Packers didn’t lose as many players to the armed services
as did most of the other NFL teams”. It wasn’t for lack
of trying. “One of the reasons more of our players weren’t
drafted was that we were a bunch of broken-down stumblebums,”
said Buckets Goldenberg, “When we asked them how come we
could play pro football and yet be rejected for the service,
one doctor said, ‘Well, if you’re playing in a football
game and your knee gives out, they can stop the game and
take you out, but in a war, you can’t call time out during
a battle.” The article includes a list of the 25 players
who were in the service, including Smiley Johnson, who was
killed at Iwo Jima. Reprinted from Packer Report.
Conversations by Stan Grosshandler. I Grosshandler met Ray Nolting,
Carl Brumbaugh, John Wiethe and Dick Nesbitt while playing
at the University of Cincinnati. “I have always regretted
the fact that I did not have the presence of mind to quiz
these great players on their pro careers. I am certain they
had many wonderful stories to tell.” Some good stories came
from John Sisk. In 1937, Sisk related, “I broke my thumb
tackling Clarke Hinkle. As I was being carried off, the
promoter gave me a bottle of alcohol, for I had scored a
touchdown. I just gave it to the doctor who operated on
The Rock Island Independents by Braunwart & Carroll. During
the second quarter of a game against the Cardinals, Rock
Island manager Walt Flanigan fired Coach Frank Coughlin
and replaced him with Jim Conzelman. “The NFL has seen some
imprudent team bosses in its more than 60 years, but none
has yet duplicated Flanigan's act of hiring a new coach
in the middle of a game.” From its pre-NFL roots in 1910,
to their 1926 departure from the NFL to join the rival AFL,
a complete history of the team from Rock Island, Illinois.
All-Pros of 1931 by John Hogrogian. The writers’ poll by the Green
Bay Press-Gazette made it into the NFL record books
as the first official all-pro team, but there were others
as well-- United Press, Associated Press, the New York Post,
Curly Lambeau, and sports fan H.L. Bassett. Clark, Nevers,
Dilweg and Michalske were on everybody’s list.
Scoring Binge by Bob Carroll. “In the early years the American
Football League had a reputation for bombs-away play, and
it was never more deserved than on December 22, 1963.” Oakland
vs. Houston. Raiders‘ kicker Mike Mercer tries to break
a 49-49 tie. Meanwhile, San Diego leads Denver, 58-20. A
time when AFL didn’t refer to arena football.
Conversations about Defense by Stan Grosshandler. Buckets Goldenberg,
Crazylegs Hirsch, Alex Wojciechowicz,, Hank Soar, Y.A. Tittle
and Jack Christiansen talk about defense during the golden
The End of the PCPFL by Bob Gill. After the NFL and AAFC added
California teams in 1946, the Pacific Coast league added
a team in Hawaii. The decline and fall of the league, which
was down to four teams in its final season in 1948.
All-Pros of 1928 by John Hogrogian. The Green Bay Press-Gazette,
the Chicago Tribune, and the Associated Press picked
teams, and were in agreement on ten of the players.
Guides by Joe Cronin. Starting with Amoco’s guide to the Washington
Redskins in 1947, media guides were made possible by corporate
sponsors. A list, complete to 1981, of the backers -- including
Sinclair Oil (Falcons), the Carlson Frink Dairy (Broncos),
Ron’s Chicken (Oilers), Cold Power detergent (Patriots),
Shakey’s Pizza (Rams), Lou & Son Life Insurance (Saints),
Were West Coast Pros the Real Stars of 1890s? by Bob Carroll. In
1963, Ken Cotanch of Santa Barbara wrote to the newly opened
Pro Football Halll of Fame about pro teams that played out
West in the 1890s, while Ohio and Pennsylvania teams played
in the the East. PFRA researchers, particularly Bob Gill,
followed up on teams like the Butte Copper Kings, San Francisco
Olympic, Oakland Reliance, Los Angeles Stars. “Perhaps a
West Coast member would like to delve into this in more
detail…. It’s an open file.”
All-Pros of 1929 by John Hogrogian. Lots of Packers and Giants,
as lists of teams were published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette,
the New York Herald Tribune, the New York Post
and the Chicago Tribune.
Alumni in Politics by Legends Magazine. Meet Congressmen
Chet Chesney, Laverne Dilweg, Winfield Denton, Jack Kemp
and Steve Largent; Governor Edward King; Mayor Bob St. Clair;
Supreme Court Justice Byron (Whizzer) White; and lots of
Leemans & Rogers by Bob Carroll. “Genius is unique to its own
time and place.” The Giants’ Tuffy Leemans of 1936 is compared
to the Saints’ George Rogers in 1981.
Conversations about Elephants by Stan Grosshandler. They were the
1951 Rams’ backfield-- Deacon Dan Towler, Dick Hoerner and
Tank Younger --- three ball carriers with more than 600
pounds between them.
The First Draft by Bob Barnett. It wasn’t covered by ESPN, and
it took place on February 8, 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel
in Philadelphia. Not only did the Eagles fail to sign first-ever
pick Jay Berwanger, they failed to sign any of their eight
draft picks. The complete story as nine teams went nine
All-Pros of 1926 by John Hogrogian. The Green Bay Press-Gazette
surveyed 17 writers and team officials from NFL cities.
Wilfred Smith of the Chicago Tribune included 8 players
from the American Football League with 14 NFL players when
picking his first and second team.
Conversations about the A by Stan Grosshandler. The “A” formation
was devised by Giants coach Steve Owen in 1937. “The name…
came from the fact that Owen had intended to use several
formations and planned to call the A, B, C, etc. He found
he had his most success with the A…” Grosshandler interviewed
former Giant Hank Soar, who had by then become a major league
Streak! Unitas' Consecutive TD Games by Larry Bortstein. ”Baseball
has DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. It may never be broken.
Perhaps the equivalent pro football record is John Unitas'
47-game touchdown-pass streak.” The streak went for four
years, starting with the December 9, 1956 at Los Angeles,
until being snapped on Decmeber 11, 1960 at Los Angeles.
1922 All-Pros by John Hogrogian. Papa Bear George Halas offered
his picks, while Canton’s Guy Chamberlin made a different
selection. Chamberlin (a first team pick by Halas) “modestly
omitted his own name despite a marvelous season the field.”
Ollie's All-Stars: St. Louis’ First NFL Team by Braunwart &
Carroll. “Ollie Kraehe thought he had it made,” as owner
of the first NFL franchise in St. Louis. The St. Louis All-Stars
scored only two touchdowns in NFL competition, and on December
12, 1923, became the first and only NFL team to lose a game
to Benld, Illinois. A roster, season summary, and a mystery--
just who was that “star player” that Kraehe sold to Green
Bull Behman and the Jackets by Al Myers. Largely forgotten, Russell
Behman was one of the greatest linemen of the NFL’s 1920s,
as well as a placekicker and later a coach.. “The Bull,
at 5'10", carried 210 to 230 pounds. In the twenties,
that was mighty big. Given his agility, it's little wonder
he was a nightmare to block.” From 1924 to 1931, Behman
was a major player in Philadelphia, mostly for the Frankford
Yellow Jackets. In 1926, he captained the Philadelphia Quakers
to the American Football League title.
All-Pros of 1923 by John Hogrogian. The Green Bay Press-Gazette
published its first annual selection of all-pro teams on
December 21, but earlier in the month, teams were picked
by Collier’s magazine and the Canton Daily News.
The Green Bay list was from a poll of 14 writers, while
the others were picked by sports editors E.G. Brands and
Vince Dolan, and Canton’s Guy Chamberlin. As in later years,
Chamberlin left himself off the list.
Now 'n Then by Bob Carroll. “Now” was 1981; “Then” was 1940. What’s
changed since then? The stats prove the theory that they
pass more now, they kick more (but punt less); they run
less-- but not that much less. Altogether, you’ll see about
21 more plays in a game today than you would have seen in
Stopping the Force: 1963 NFL Title Game by Braunwart & Carroll.
“In a classic case of immovable object and irresistible
force, the Chicago Bears and New York Giants met on December
29, 1963, for the NFL championship. “ The turning point
was when Chicago’s Larry Morris got passed two blockers
and tackled Y.A. Tittle. Despite torn ligaments in his left
knee, the Giants’ passer didn’t quit. “After two injections
to kill the pain, Tittle hobbled back in for the second
half, but he couldn't plant his left leg and his throws
lacked their normal snap.” Conclusion-- “the immovable object
was superior to the irrestible force -- when the force was
hobbled on one leg. “
Buddy Young by Bob Carroll. “One of the first blacks to play pro
football (after the "unofficial" ban from 1934
to 1945), Buddy experienced the humiliations of prejudice.
When the Yankees first played in Baltimore, racists showed
up at the stadium in blackface. But he always insisted that
the worst prejudice he encountered was against his size.”
At 5’4 and 172 pounds, running back Young “ws both one of
the smallest and one of the biggest men in pro football
John Alexander: First Outside Linebacker by Chris Thorne. PFRA
member John Alexander’s first year in the NFL was 1922,
for the Milwaukee Badgers, and on October 1 of that year,
“he introduced a new style of playing defensive tackle”.
Alexander recounted his memories sixty years later at the
age of 87. Originally printed in the Newark Sunday Star-Ledger.
The even older Mike Wittpenn, who helped coach Alexander
in 1919, shared his memories with the Coffin Corner as well.
RRS: Rating the Catchers by Rick Bysina. Like the NFL’s Pass Rating
System, Bysina’s proposed Receiver Rating System (RRS) measures
quality as well as quantity. RRS looks at how much a receiver
compares to the standards of 3 receptions per game, 10 average
yards per reception, and 10% of receptions yielding touchdowns,
then converts it into a rating, with 100 being the average.
Lenny Moore’s 101.7 rating for 1957 is based on 3.3 rpg,
17.2 ypr and 17.5% tds. The highest rating was 143.8 for
Elroy Hirsch in 1951.
Pack Only Tied Monsters by John Gunn. Until 1984, the NFL Record
Manual listed the record for 2nd Half as “48”, by the Cardinals
and the Giants in two separate games in 1950 against the
Colts. Sportswriter Gunn discovered that the Chicago Bears
had held the record all along-- 49 second-half points in
a November 30, 1941 game against the Eagles. The day after
Green Bay “broke” the record against Tampa Bay in 1983,
the NFL’s error was discovered and fixed in future editions.
Interesting note-- the 49 point second half came after Chicago
was down 14-0. Asks Gunn, “What did Coach George Halas tell
the Bears at halftime?”
Mel Hein: Middle Man by Bob Carroll. “Mel Hein was quite possibly
the best two-way center ever to play pro football. On offense,
he snapped the ball unerringly and blocked like a demon.
On defense, he was known for his bone- crushing tackles
and his ability to cover pass receivers…. Yet, unbelievably,
he had to scrape to find a job when he turned pro. .” After
writing letters to three teams, Mel was given a tryout by
the Giants, for whom he played from 1931 to 1945. He was
all-league for eight straight years and one of the original
enshrinees at Canton.
The First Grey Cup: 1909 by Bob Sproule. All teams in good standing
were eligible for the first playoff, and Canada’s Governor-General
donated the trophy. On December 4, Toronto University beat
the Parkdale Canoe Club, 26-6. A play-by-play of the first
championship, when a touchdown was called a “try” and most
of the college scoring was done one point at a time.
Down with FGs by Stan Grosshandler. “Why not… can the field goal?
Let all the FG kickers go back to their native lands and
play that grand and boring game -- soccer. Let's win games
on long runs and beautiful passes, not chip shot field goals.”
Interesting fact: between 1927 and 1932, no NFL player kicked
more than 2 field goals-- in an entire season. The goal
posts were moved closer the following year, and the 3-point
play became a way of life.
Fabulous Fatman: Wilbur Henry by Bob Carroll. “Wilbur Henry loved
to eat and loved to play football. The result was the biggest
and best tackle of the NFL's early years.” Henry played
NFL ball when it was the APFA, and was with the Canton Bulldogs
from 1920 to 1926, then with the Giants and the Maroons.
In 1963, eleven years after his death, he was in the original
group enshrined at Canton.
The Greatest Game Ever: 1958 NFL Championship by Rick Gonsalves.
Yes, it was the 1958 NFL Championship, but the greatest
game had a boring start, with a 14-3 Baltimore lead at the
half. The Colts were three yards away from another touchdown
when the Giants stopped them. “No one at the time realized
what effect this goal line stand would have on the future
of pro football and television.” If the score had been 21-3,
muses Gonsalves, “perhaps 50 million viewers have switched
channels.” It wasn’t, they didn’t, and the rest is history.
The Best of the Rest: Minors All-Stars, Part 1 by Bob Gill. “For
the sake of argument, let's say that in the 1930's there
were annually 500 players comparable to today's major leaguers.
That means that each year 250 of those -- half the total
-- were not in the NFL.” When the NFL had only 10 teams,
there were great players for the Memphis Tigers, Los Angeles
Bulldogs, Jersey City Giants, and more. The best of the
rest from 1934 to 1939.
The Best of the Rest: Minors All-Stars Part 2 by Bob Gill. More
about the best non-NFL pro football players, from 1940-1946.
They played for teams like the Milwaukee Chiefs, the Columbus
Bullies, the Long Island Indians and the Hollywood Bears.
Ray Kemp Blazed Important Trail by Bob Barnett. When Art Rooney
put an NFL team in Pittsburgh in 1933, he asked Ray Kemp
to be a lineman. Kemp was one of only two African-American
players in the NFL. After 3 games he was released. “I talked
with Art Rooney and I can recall his exact words: ‘Ray,
I feel you are as good a ball player as we have on the club,
but I am not going over the head of the coach.” At season’s
end, Kemp was asked to come back, but a New York hotel wouldn’t
let him stay with his team. Kemp was urged to sue, but declined.
“I didn’t want to file a suit which might hurt Rooney. He
had given me a chance.” From 1934 through 1945, there were
no black players in the NFL.
History of Pro Football in Greensburg, Pa. by Bob Van Atta. The
most comprehensive record of one of the great teams of the
90s-- the 1890s. Starting with Lawson Fiscus of Princeton,
the Greensburg team signed a host of former college stars
to pro football contracts. The uniform colors weren’t green--
they were maroon and white.
Football in Armour: An Englishman Looks at the American Game by
C.E. Cook. Written in 1897 for the British magazine, The
Strand, a Victorian Era description of the gridiron
. A “vital difference” from British soccer “appears in what
is called ’interference’. This is the assistance given to
a runner by one or several companions who go before and
break path for him, or who shoulder off would-be tacklers.
To an Englishman, this is the most unpardonable kind of
offside play, not to be tolerated for an instant upon any
field. In America, however, it is of first importance.”
St. Louis Gunners by Bob Gill. Even before 1934, the Gunners had
played against NFL teams. When the 0-8-0 NFL Cincinnati
Reds folded during the regular season, St. Louis replaced
them for the last three games, winning one (6-0 over Pittsburgh
). They finished 1934 heavily in debt. “The dream of an
N.F.L. franchise had turned out to be a nightmare-- one
from which the Gunners never awakened.“
For the Love of the Game by Kimball McIlroy. Reprinted from a 1941
issue of the Canadian magazine Saturday Night. A
criticism of hypocrisy in the amateur rules of the day.
“It is amazing what a variety of occupations the mere ability
to throw a football or shoot a puck pit’s a man for. There
is the classic example of the American state university
football squad, many of whose members were employed as elevator
operators at the State House. Every morning, they would
show up promptly at nine o’clock and dutifully, one man
at a time, run the elevator to the top and down again.”
Analysis of Strategy by Pete Palmer. A mathematical look at “the
relationship between field position and scoring potential”,
based on play-by-play data from 50 games.
That Wonderful Year: Canadian Football in 1907 by Robert Sproule.
What would later become the Eastern Division of the CFL,
started when Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto formed
the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union or IRFU. Each team
played a home-and-away against the other three for a six-game
schedule. Unlike the first APFA games, the exact kickoff
time is known for the first IRFU game-- 3:24 pm on October
5, 1907, Montreal 17, Toronto 8. Details about all twelve
matchups, with Montreal finishing ahead of Hamilton for
the first title.
Curly Lambeau by Bob Carroll. "Just when most of the small
town teams were disappearing, Lambeau had his Packers at
the top of the NFL standings. He built a juggernaut that
won league championships in 1929, '30, and '31. No team
has ever topped that 3-straight record ." An appreciation
of the man who kept Green Bay, Wisconsin, in the world's
most successful sports league.
Lifetime Receivers Rated by Bysina System 1984 by Rich Bysina.
This is a follow-up to "RRS: Rating the Catchers"
(1983-#9), looking at the 20 receivers (as of 1983) with
the most receptions. Don Hutson is the best of the 20 at
112.4, but much lower than others in the 120-145 range.
For those trying to figure the forumla, Tommy McDonald is
closest to 100.0, with 3.26 rpg, 17.0 ypr, and 17% tds.
1920-21 All-Pros by John Hogrogian. In that first season, sports
editor Bruce Copeland of the Rock Island Argus "ignored
the existence of the APFA and continued to talk of all pro
teams as the free lance operations they had always been".
He limited his picks to those from "what he called
the 'big eight'" (Rock Island, Decatur, Chi. Cards,
Chi. Tigers, Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Dayton), but not
Charley Conerly by Bob Carroll. Conerly quarterbacked the Giants
(1948-61) and put them into the 1958 title game in a surprise
play. Frank Gifford lateraled back to Conerly; "The
35 year old quarterback, who ran like 'a pregnant woodchuck,'
was only slightly less astonished than the Browns, but he
waddled untouched ino the end zone."
The Tonawanda Kardax by Joe Horrigan. "Quick! What is the
only NFL team ever to lose just one league game during its
entire existence? Don't look for the answer in the NFL's
Official Standings; it's not there." But after this
1984 article, it was added in 1987. Tonawanda, New York
was granted a franchise on August 27, 1921. The team's only
loss was 45-0 to Rochester. They finished at 0-1-0.
1948 by Bob Carroll. The Browns and the 49ers, the Eagles and Cardinals,
had the best players in pro football that year. While the
AAFC and the NFL were at war, their soldiers couldn't meet
on the battlefield.
Massacre in Cincinnati by Bob Barnett. Reprinted from Bear Report.
How a semi-pro team from Ironton, Ohio, defeated the NFL's
Chicago Bears. The Bears had beaten beat Frankford in a
Saturday game, 13-6. "On the overnight train ride between
Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Halas and the Bears didn't
suspect the ambush that lay ahead the following day."
On Sunday, November 23, 1930, it was Ironton Tanks 26, Chicago
Bears 13. Luckily, it was just an exhbiition, and the Bears
could laugh about it half a century later.
FRE! Or Why Pro Football Is Doomed by Jim O'Brien. The abbreviation
stands for Falling Rate of Excitement. "The basic cause
of the FRE is that with game films and (increasingly) computers,
professional teams are able to come up with defensive formations
that can eventually stymie every new offensive tactic. In
other words, what happens to the Minnesota Vikings in the
Super Bowl every year will eventually happen to everybody."
Published in 1977 in Cultural Correspondence; not
the same Jim O'Brien who won Super Bowl V.
Al Mahrt: Wonder Athlete by John Dye. "Al Mahrt was one of
the greatest players of the pre-NFL era of pro football."
Founder of the Dayton Triangles in 1916, Quarterback Mahrt
played in the first three years of the NFL's existence before
going on to making a fortune in business. Reprinted from
Dayton Daily News of January 10, 1965. Includes an
interview with Mahrt, who died in 1970.
1924 All-Pros by John Hogrogian. The Green Bay Press-Gazette
conducted a poll of "about a dozen sports writers
and six game officials" and published their selections
for a first, second and third team.
Roosevelt Brown by Don Smith. He was selected by the Giants in
the 27th round of the 1953 draft, and only then
after someone happened to have a copy of the Pittsburgh
Courier's Negro All-America Team. Brown, "one of the
premier offensive linemen in pro football," played
13 seasons and was inducted to the HOF in 1975.
Joe Carr: NFL President 1921-38 by Joe Horrigan. After the losses
of the 1920 season, the Columbus Panhandles boss persuaded
his fellow APFA owners to stay on for at least another year.
During his tenure, the NFL went from small town clubs to
major league cities. From the article: "Carr, in 1933,
told a Minneapolis sports writer, 'If they only knew how
near our football league is to moving indoors, and what
a smashing success we are going to make of the pro game
under cover. He never saw the Astrodome or the Metrodome,
except perhaps in his dreams."
Stat Stuff: Passing by Bob Carroll. The most important page is
missing, but a study of 14 starters in 1979 confirms that
the key to wins is not the pass completion rate, but getting
touchdowns more often than interceptions.
Crew Chief: Jack Christiansen by Don Smith. Christiansen was one
of the greatest defensive backs in football, but almost
didn't go out for the game because of a shooting injury.
At Colorado A&M, he was a sprinter on the track squad,
and was a walk-on for the grid team. He was so effective
as a punt returner "that he caused an entire pro league
to change its defensive ways," to the spread punt formation.
Why Canton? by Don Smith. Although the historical reasons are obvious,
a newspaper editorial in the Canton Repository inspired
the locals to beat out the competitors. Canton's chief employer,
The Timken Company, business leaders, foundations and ordinary
citizens raised $378,026 (in 1959 dollars) and land was
donated to the city.
Ray Flaherty: Hall of Fame Coach by Don Smith. "Before Flaherty
coached even one NFL game, he put himself squarely behind
the eight ball with a rare vow. he would offer his resignation
if his Boston Redskins did not win the NFL title!"
Although the Redskins played in the championship game that
year (1936), Flaherty's offer wasn't accepted. Washington
won the next year (1937) and again in 1942, He coached in
five NFL title games, and (with the New York Yankees), two
AAFC title games.
That Indoor World Series by Don Smith. The oldest known pro football
uniform is on display at Canton. Harry Mason wore it when
the Syracuse All-Stars won the 1902 tournament at Madison
Square Garden. Syracuse beat Orange, 36-0 for the title.
Subject also covered in 1980 Annual.
Len Ford by Don Smith. Ford was such an outstanding pass rusher,
the Browns changed their defensive alignment in 1950 to
"take full advantage of his unusual abilities".
Besides being one of the great defensive ends of the 1950s,
Ford also was an outstanding wide receiver for the Los Angeles
Dons in the AAFC. He was inducted to the HOF in 1976, four
years after dying at 46 from a coronary failure.
Stat Stuff: Passing by Jack Clary. The NFL's pass rating system
measures success by average yards per passing attempt. Clary
proposes that the better measure would be average yards
per pass completion. While short passes lead to a
higher completion rate, a great quarterback looks downfield
for the best yardage. In addition, a dropped pass is counted
against the quarterback, and yards per completion reflects
the effectiveness of the team's passing system.
Arnie Herber by Don Smith. A Green Bay native, Herber was the Packers'
quarterback from 1930-1940 and was one of the first long
passers. "Handicapped by short fingers, he put his
thumb over the laces to prevent the ball from wobbling and
to assure plenty of spiraling action. Arnie's passes quickly
became noted for two qualities: distance and accuracy."
Herber averaged 19 yards per completion in 1939.
California Dreamin': West Coast Pros of 1930s by Bob Gill. "California
pro football in the '30s was, if not thriving, at least
hanging in there, keeping the doors open until the public
was ready to welcome its product." The first Pacific
Coast League played in 1934 with six California teams. In
1935, the Westwood Cubs were the best of the four team American
Legion League, , and won the right to play the Detroit Lions
(losing 67-14). By 1939, strong teams like the Los Angeles
Bulldogs helped the growth of pro football in the west.
O.J.: HOF Exhibit by Don Smith. Written in conjunction with a new
exhibit at Canton, that included Simpson's jersey from the
1973 game where he reached 2,003 yards.
Let George Do It: HOF Blanda Exhibit by Don Smith. The Canton exhibit
included Blanda's 1970 Raiders jersey (#16) when he "saved
the day" in five consecutive games.
Art Donovan by Don Smith. "Many great players wore the Colts'
blue and white, but the first elected to Pro Football's
Hall of Fame was Art Donovan." The defensive tackle
also wore green and silver for the Colts as a rookie in
1950. In 12 seasons, he was not only "one of the best
the game has ever seen", but also "one of history's
most popular football players." When his #70 jersey
was retired in 1962, the fans cried along with him as he
thanked them: "Up in heaven there is a lady who is
happy that the City of Baltimore was so good to her son
-- a kid from the Bronx."
Rough Stuff by Staten Island Advance 1926. The Staten Island
Stapletons and the Orange (later Newark) Tornadoes both
played in the NFL in 1929 and 1930. On November 28, 1926,
the Stapletons beat Orange 25-7 in a slugfest. NFL lineman
John Alexander, who also played for the Giants in 1926,
shared a clipping about the mayhem filled game.
Research Notes by Various authors. Four authors contributed short
Do They Have in Common?") George H.W. Bush, the Lions'
Bobby Layne, and baseball's Jackie Jensen had one thing
in common-- they all played in the very first College World
Series in 1947. Centerfielder Jensen's U. of California
team defeated pitchers Bush (Yale) and Layne (Texas), and
the latter two men did not go on to professional baseball
("That '27 Dee-fense"), The first great New York
Giant defense shut out 10 of its 13 opponents in 1927 (including
five straight shutouts) and allowed only 3 touchdowns and
2 extra points.
Gill ("Strong vs. Newman") The
two most famous players in the 1936 American Football League
were also the AFL's best placekickers. Harry Newman (Rochester)
made six of 11 attempts. Strong (Pittsburgh) was the next
best with 5 field goals, against 15 misses.
("Something for Nothing") "Because of a quirk
in the college and NFL rules, a team could be given an extra
point without having to kick the ball through the uprights."
The reason was that, from 1920 to 1930, the point was awarded
if the defense was penalized during a conversion attempt.
At least one exhibition game in 1930 was won in that manner.
An article about various types of football pools played
at the faculty lounge. One was based on the last digit for
the Steelers and their opponents in Sunday's game. The "33
pool" awarded half the kitty to the person whose team
scored the most points, and the other half to whoever's
team scored exactly 33 points, with the money carried over
if no team did so. (In 1984, the Jets lost to the Cardinals
Chuck Howley by Bob Barnett & Bob Carroll. "It's less
than a three-hour jet flight from the hills of Appalachia
to Dallas, but a million miles from pumping gas in Wheeling,
W.Va., to the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium. Chuck Howley
made that trip. The linebacker was cut from the Bears in
1959 after a knee injury, and was working at a gas station
when the Dallas Cowboys called him in 1961. His former Bears
teammate, Don Healy, had suggested him. Howley went on to
become MVP of Super Bowl V.
Bonus Picks by Donald Kosakowki. "Can you imagine a group
of NFL owners anxiously standing around, awaiting their
turn to select a specially marked paper from a hat which
would entitle one of them to take home the top prize of
the collegiate ranks? " The practice existed from 1947
to 1958, until all 12 teams had gotten a chance at the #1
pick. Players who were bonus picks were Chuck Bednarik,
Paul Hornung, Kyle Rote, and Leon Hart.
Red’s First Game by Chicago Herald-Examiner 1925. "It
settled no championship nor set any records on the field,
but pro football was never again the same. It was the day
that Red Grange turned pro." The Grange's Bears and
Paddy Driscoll's Cardinals played to a 0-0 tie.
Running Against the Score by Bob Gill. A study of statistics indicates
that the rusher on a losing team has to work harder than
one on a winning team. "I'd say that in order to gain
100 yards in a losing effort, a runner needs to average
one yard per carry (more or less) better than a comparable
runner on a winning team." The difference was 6.1 yards
vs. 5.0 per carry. "I also suggest applying this measure
to 1,000-yard seasons. I can assure you that the whole project
won't take very long; it involves a lot of basic arithmetic
and little else."
Tom Fears by Don Smith. After playing service club ball for the
Second Air Force, he was all-America at UCLA and an all-NFL
receiver for the Rams. "Fears wasn't the first to run
specific routes on a pass play, but he was one of the most
precise pattern-runners the game has seen. Fears made up
for his lack of unusual speed with the fierce determination
to do something with the ball after he caught it."
Research Notes by Various authors:
Jones" by Stan Grosshandler-- Interviews with Don Kindt
and Dub Jones about November 25, 1951, the day that their
Chicago Bears first faced the Cleveland Browns.
Danowski" by Johnny Shevalta-- He played for three
of the greatest coaches in football-- Frank Cavanaugh (Fordham
U.), Jim Crowley and Steve Owen (both of the New York Giants)
Sanders" by Stan Grosshandler. An interview with "a
great forgotten runner who played in a good forgotten league"
in the pre-TV era. Spec Sanders of the New York Yankees
was the only man to rush for more than 1,000 yards in AAFC
history , with 1,432 yards in 1947.
Mr. Mara (Tim) by Don Smith. New York Giants' founder Tim Mara
made his fortune as a bookie before Joe Carr offered him
first bid for an NFL franchise in New York, for $500. "A
New York franchise to operate anything ought to be worth
$500!" he would say later. Mara "knew virtually
nothing about football", but his associate, Dr. Harry
March, built the team for him. Less well-known is that by
the end of 1928, Mara owned three of the NFL's ten teams--
the Giants, the Yankees and the Detroit Wolverines -- and
had a lease agreement with Staten Island. He was a charter
member of the HOF.
The Racine Legion by Paul LaRose. Reprinted from the Racine
Journal of August 5, 1979. In 1922, American Legion
Post 76 paid $100 for an NFL franchise. The team from Racine,
Wisconsin, played three NFL seasons (1922, 1923, 1924) before
folding. In 1926, new owners fielded the Racine Tornadoes,
who won their opener (6-3 over Hammond), then scored only
2 more points and finished 1-4-0.
Frank Gatski by Bob Barnett & Bob Carroll. "Frank 'Gunner'
Gatski makes John Wayne seem like a talkative milquetoast."
However, the laconic Cleveland Browns' center took the time
to give an interview after his election to the HOF in 1985.
G.P.M.: George Preston Marshall by Don Smith. The Washington laundryman
turned pro football owner, in 1932, "immediately saw
the advantage of splitting the league into two divisions
with a final championship game between the winner of each
division" The same 1932 title game inspired him to
propose hash marks, moving the goal posts and making a forward
pass legal from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. Written
for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the biography makes no
mention of Marshall's position on black players. Ironic
quote: "The Grafton, W. Va., native was the first to
introduce true color and showmanship on pro football gridirons.."
Ironic quote #2, from Pete Rozelle's eulogy: "Mr. Marshall
was an outspoken foe of the status quo when most were content
Jim Otto by Don Smith. A biography of the legendary Oakland Raiders'
HOF center. He was a starter in all 210 of his regular season
games with Oakland, played in all of the AFL's all-star
games, and in the first three Pro Bowls after the merger.
"Were it nor for dozens of injuries Jim constantly
battled, he might have played even longer. His medical history
could fill an encyclopedia - bone chips in his elbow, 10
broken noses, a broken jaw, numerous brain concussions,
dislocatcd knee, dislocated fingers, a severe pinched nerve
in his neck, three left knee operations and six operations
on his right knee." Some Otto trivia-- though he wore
#00 in most of his career, he wore #50 in his first season.
The AFL by Bob Kravitz. "'The other league' is no more but
its legends go on and on." Memories from Ron McDole,
Curley Johnson, Paul Maguire, Gino Cappelletti, Lance Alworth,
and Lionel Taylor about the AFL's low-budget early days.
"One trip, the plane stopped in Buffalo where we picked
up the Bills, we were dropped off in Denver, and they went
on to the West Coast," Cappelletti said. "Ralph
Wilson and Billy Sullivan had some kind of deal." Reprinted
from the Pittsburgh Press in 1985.
The Bulldogs: L.A. Hits the Big Time by Bob Gill. In 1936, the
Los Angeles Bulldogs hosted six NFL teams-- defeating Philadelphia,
Pittsburgh, and the Cardinals, tying Brooklyn, and losing
to the Bears and the Packers. In 1937, they were the undefeated
champs of the second American Football League, and in 1938
they had a 2-2-1 record against the NFL. "If, somehow,
that 'probationary franchise' had materialized intosomething
more tangible, there is little doubt that from 1936 to 1938
the L.A. Bulldogs would have been competitive in the N.F.L."
Snap Back vs. Scrimmage by Bob Sproule. Before the days when a
football center would snap (hike) the football back to the
quarterback, the scrimmage system required the center to
kick the ball backward with his heel, and there was no time
limit on starting the play. In Canada, the center snap didn't
become permanent until 1921. A look at the intricacies of
a forgotten aspect of the game.
Wild Bill Kelly by Howard Schwartz. William Carl Kelly was only
26 when he died. A legend in Montana, he reached the NFL
in 1927 and 1928 as quarterback of the New York Yankees,
in 1929 for the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and in 1930 for
the Brooklyn Dodgers. His Jacket teammate, Ed Haliki, said,
""If Kelly were playing today, he would be one
of the greatest. The game of today was made to order for
The Forward Pass Is Here by Leslie Roberts. Reprinted from a 1931
issue of "The Canadian". McGill University coach
Frank Shaughnessy paved the way for changing the game, but
not without "stepping on athletic toes". The father
of Canadian Football, or the guy who ruined Canadian rugby
by Americanizing it, depending on point of view. It took
until 1931. "For years we have tinkered with the rules
in the hope that we could give the public open football
without the forward pass, but without the constant threat
of a suddenly thrown ball, little could be done to break
down the glutinous concentrations of humanity along the
line of scrimmage."
Blondy Wallace and the Biggest Football Scandal by Braunwart &
Carroll. Coach Wallace of the Canton Bulldogs has been accused
of throwing the biggest game of the '06 season, but Braunwart
and Carroll questioned whether he was unjustly maligned.
In 1905 and 1906, the nation's two best pro football teams
in the nation were in adjacent counties in Ohio-- the Canton
Bulldogs and the Massillon Tigers. Both teams spent a small
fortune in recruiting star lineups, but 1906 was the year
the bubble burst. Revisiting and re-examining pro football
in the days when the forward pass was new.
Research Notes by Various authors.
1954 Lions by Stan Grosshandler
the platoon rule had been in effect for several seasons,
it appears that some coaches were still reluctant, either
from practice or Iack of talent, to make the switch completely."--
Lions' coach Buddy Parker was old school.
by Johnny Shevalla-- In 1984, five of the "Seven Blocks
of Granite" were still living; the Eagles had 11 Hall
of Famers; Chuck Mehelich had recently died
'47 Irish, by David Neft "No single college squad
ever sent more players into major league pro football than
the 1947 Notre Dame team. No less than 30 members of the
undefeated Irish went on to play in either the NFL or the
AAFC. "-- the complete Notre Dame squad, listing who
made the pros and who didn't
by Bob Carroll--
TV Guide believes fans watch football so they can
root for the owners.
all that stuff about too many TV games or that games are
too predictable, if you don't like the owner, your team
can go to the Super Bowl unwatched. Tonight, by the way,
I'm watching Dallas. Hate the show; love the sponsor."
-- response to an editorial that blamed dropping ratings
on owners who threaten to move.
Sonny Randle by Bob Barnett & Bob Carroll. "His 9.6 speed
and sure hands won him respect - even fear - from opposition
defensive backs, but the Cards' consistent also-ran status
kept his name absent from the average household lexicon.
" Ulmo Shannon Randle played 1969-68, mostly
for the Cardinals, and was interviewed. The article
focuses on his November 4, 1962 game against the Giants.
Subtitled "Is There Life After Football"--
he went on to coach Marshall University. From the
interview: "If you don't want a life you can keep saying,
"I was this and I was that,' but that and a quarter
will get you a cup of coffee. When playing is over with,
brother, you've got to be ready to fire, and you find out
what life is really all about. Just be prepared because
it will be a real shock. But life after pro football has
been very good to me. I think I have worked hard and it's
George Trafton: The Toughest, Meanest by Don Smith. ...and Most
Ornery" On induction to the HOF: "Players
came quickly and left the same way in relatively short careers..
but there was one notable exception. a player named George
Trafton and, over thirteen years from 1920 through 1932,
he was the durable, hard-hitting center of the Chicago Bears.
At that stage of pro football history, he is the only player
of note to have even played that long, let alone with one
Tuffy Leemans: A Real Tuffy by Don Smith. "'Tuffy Leemans
had it all,' Wayne Millner summarized. 'He could run, pass
and catch and he played truly outstanding defense. He was
aggressive, dedicated and gave 100 percent at all times
to a game he loved. In my opinion, he ranks among the all-time
greats.' "In 1978, the Hall's Board of
Selectors indirectly seconded Millner's motion by naming
Leemans to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This long-awaited
recognition came a full 34 years after his final NFL game
against Washington in 1943. Until Red Badgro, no other player
waited so long after his retirement for Hall of Fame election."
Palmer Method: Passing Stats by Pete Palmer. A history of the NFL's
passer rating system, which changed nine times between 1932
and 1973, and the mathematical explanation for the system
as of 1985. "Basically the formula is a weighted yards
per attempt with a bonus of 20 yards for each completion,
an additional 80 yards for each touchdown, and a 100-yard
penalty for each interception. It is my opinion that these
bonuses and penalties are out of line. A fairer formula,
I believe, is one that gives a twenty-yard bonus for each
touchdown and a forty-yard penalty for each interception.
There would be no bonus for each completion.
Joe Schmidt: He was Always in the Way by Don Smith. "Listing
all of Joe's playing honors would take volumes. In short
summary, he was voted to the NFL all-star team eight times.
He was named to the Pro Bowl nine straight years from 1955
through 1963 and he saw his teammates name him their Most
Valuable Player in 1955, 1957, 1958 and again in 1961.
For all of these honors, perhaps the finest accolade an
athlete can earn is the universal respect of his opponents
and teammates and Joe earned this kind of acclaim in abundance."
Willie Davis: Speed, Agility and Size by Don Smith. Willie Davis
was blessed with the three attributes - speed, agility and
size - that Vince Lombardi considered most important for
a successful football lineman. Davis, a dynamic 6-3, 245
pound player, also had the intangible assets -- dedication,
intelligence, leadership - that enabled him to climb a cut
above almost everyone else. In his 10 seasons with the powerful
Green Bay elevens of the 1960s, he became widely recognized
as a superior defensive end, one of the very best ever to
play in the National Football League.
Research Notes by Various Authors.
Was No Feather Merchant" by Jim Campbell; Beattie Feathers
"In the league's fifteenth season (1934), a
rookie out of the University of Tennessee made such an impact
on the game that his accomplishments are sometimes questioned.
No one before Beattie Feathers had ever gained 1,000 yards
rushing in a season, and no one repeated his feat for another
thirteen seasons until Steve Van Buren of the Philadelphia
Eagles gained 1,008 yards in 1947."
Weren't Always 60-Minute Men" by Tod Maher.
discovered that in the 1926 AFL, some games lasted 54 minutes,
some 48, and one for only 40. The 1936 AFL championship
ran 48 minutes. Even one NFL game, on November 1,
1926 (Canton 7, N.Y. Giants 7), had 12-minute quarters.
a Steam Roller" by Pearce B. Johnson
Hein's career with the New York Giants almost didn't happen.
In 1930, he had to go to the Pullman, Washington,
post office to intercept his acceptance of an offer by Providence.
Potsy Clark by Bob Carroll. "He achieved fame in a variety
of sports capacities from 1912 through 1953, but it is as
a pro football coach during the 1930's that he is best remembered
today. In that critical era when the NFL was moving from
its helter-skelter first decade to become in reality a major
league, Potsy was considered the equal of such legends as
Halas, Lambeau, Owen, and Flaherty. Some would have put
him at the top of the list."
Ranking the Blockers by Bob Carroll. Carroll designed a rating
system for linemen, giving 60 points for being on the roster,
+10 for being a starter, adding between 1 and 30 for
being on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd team of any of the five major
all-pros selected in a season, adding 5 for a Pro Bowl,
and subtracting between 1 and 48 points for games missed
during a season. Under the suggested Carroll
System, the Colts' Jim Parker got a 102.3 in 1962 and a
93.8 in 1963; during the same years, the Packers' Jerry
Kramer was 100.5 and 106.0 (Bob added, "If you
can come up with a rating system for linemen that is NOT
based in some way on opinions, I'll be happy to listen.
If you want to weight this system differently, say, give
more points for the Pro Bowl, be my guest. If you think
I've skipped some important rating factor, be my mentor..
But remember, I rate all letters to the editor.")
Ray Renfro: Speed Story by Bob Barnett & Bob Carroll.
"Ray Renfro was so fast that ."
"How fast was he?"
"He was so fast that he averaged a touchdown for every
5.6 passes he caught over a twelve year NFL career!"
The audience yawns. Not funny? Well, it certainly wasn't
funny to the defenders who tried in vain to catch Renfro
as he raced under a nicely arched Otto Graham or Milt Plum
pass. He caused a lot of defensive backs to lose their senses
of humor. A profile of Renfro, who played for Cleveland
1925 All-Pros by John Hogrogian. There were two polls, one of NFL
city sportswriters (by the Green Bay Press-Gazette), and
one by the staff of the "Ohio State Journal" in
The Truth About Beattie by Bob Carroll. "Did he or didn't
he? It seems like ever since Beattie Feathers had
that remarkable season in 1934, Doubting Thomases have been
trying to explain it away.. No one ever did it before (gain
a thousand rushing yards in one season) and no one has done
it since (average 9.9 per on 101 carries for 1,004 yards),
Okay, but how do they account for his entry
in the record book? It's obviously not a typo and it's been
there for 51 years."
Draft Productivity: A Study by Gary Keller. Statistical analysis
of the percentage of draft choices being signed by teams.
"The AFL's ability to force a merger with the
NFL was due to a number of factors. However, like the AAFC,
the AFL was able to sign at least 45% (it actually signed
50%) of college seniors drafted by the NFL. This statistic
stands the test of time. The primary examples of leagues
that failed to repeat the example of this key indicator
were the World Football League (1974-75) and most recently
Super Bowl IX: Looking at the Numbers by Tod Maher. "Super
Bowl XIX is considered by most football fans to be one of
the most complete victories in the history of professional
football. The 49ers compiled numbers that were better than
the Dolphins in all but punting, return yardage, penalties
and fumbles. However, by using new statistical
methods, one can now determine the actual performance of
any team,or player for any game, season or career.
On this and the next page is an example of these new methods,
a statistical analysis of Super Bowl XIX. THAT'S A
LOT OF NUMBERS! But what do they all mean? Among
the conclusions-- Joe Montana made the biggest impact, accounting
for 31% of his team's offensive yardage."
Belly Up in Dallas: 1952 by Joe Horrigan. Article about the 1952
Dallas Texans, who earned "the dubious distinction
of being the last NFL team to fail", were victims of
"a combination of bad management and bad luck"
Quoting Coach Jimmy Phelan, "We got all the breaks
and they were all bad."
Origin of the Running Species by Jim Campbell. A look at offensive
strategies from "the wedge" to the single-wing
to the power-I formation. "Trend-setting running backs
are remembered fondly, but the reality is that most of their
deeds could not have heen performed without the help of
blockers - interior linemen and others who helped clear
the way. It was that way a century ago ... and it
is not different today."
Remember the Cleveland Rams? by Hal Lebovitz. (Reprint from the
Cleveland Plain Dealer 1/20/80). A look back at the
1936 American Football League team that joined the NFL in
1937 and went to Los Angeles and then St. Louis.
Attorney Homer Marshman, "the real father of the Rams"
asked me, 'Are you prepared to pay for the franchise? You've
got to pay right now if you want it.' The amount was $10,000.
This was on a Friday and I didn't have that much money.
This was depression time, you know. I had $7,000 in the
I said, 'Sure,' and wrote out a check for $10,000. I hurried
back to Cleveland, got $5,000 from Hanna, took $5,000 from
my savings and rushed to the bank Monday morning to cover
1974 Playoff: Vikings-Rams by Joe Zagorski. In a game where the
winner would go to Super Bowl IX, the Rams were down 14-10
when "Ram fullback John Cappelleti carried the ball
off-tackle to the six-inch line. Six inches away from the
lead in a game where every point was important! " The
true story of what happened next.
So long, Jack Lambert by Vic Ketchman. (Reprint from the Irwin
(PA) Standard-Observer, 7/11/85) A reporter remembers
"one of the greatest middle linebackers in pro football
history, but, beyond that, a legend in Pittsburgh sports
that will live longer than any of us." -- from
"his dislike of sissy reporters" to "Lambert
always made the kids say please and thank you for the autographs
he loved to sign."
Feathers: The Other Side by Mark Purcell. Fourth article about
Feathers in 1985, and a response to "The Truth About
Beattie" "I have read Bob Carroll's article
on Feathers' 1,000 yards in 1934 with much interest since
I am almost certainly one of the villainous targets of the
piece. Now that Bob and David Neft have summarized the available
evidence for us, we anti- Featherites can regroup and try
The Steelers' Greatest Victory by Bob Barnett. "If you asked
the average Pittsburgh Steeler fan to pick the Steelers'
greatest victory ever, he/she would probably select the
1972 AFC playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders which
included Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception,"
or one of the 1974, 1975, 1978, or 1979 Super Bowl victories.
Wrong on any of the above.. It is easy to win when you are
already a winner. Great victories are won by underdog, outmanned
losers who, with the stink of defeat around them, rise up
and smite their heavily favored opponent. Kind of the David
and Goliath thing. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the greatest
victory ever occurred on a cold December 1 in 1952."
All-Pros: The Missing Votes in 1938 by Bob Carroll. "At first
glance (or even second or third), a few missing votes from
the 1938 Official All-NFL Team might not seem like anything
worth worrying about. To tell you the truth, I may not lose
any sleep. Nevertheless, it is curious, and I thought you
might like to know.." Ace Parker of the Dodgers
was selected as the All-NFL quarterback, by a 26-13 margin;
but, Carroll noted, there were 16 points that were missing
in the final tally-- theoretically, it might have been Riley
Smith by a 29-26 vote. "But," he adds, "I
doubt that very much."
The 1920's All-Pros in Retrospect by Bob Carroll. Carroll selected
the 18 players that he'd pick as the best of the 1920s,
and noted "Half the squad is not in the Hall of Fame".
Of the nine not listed, Benny Friedman was
elected in 2005. The others Lavie Dilweg, Swede Youngstrom
Verne Lewellen, Doc Elliott, Joe Sternaman, Gus Sonnenberg
Rip King, and Jim McMillen. "You'd think we could reach
some kind of agreement as to the best players of a given
decade. Well, you'd also think we could conquer the common
cold." Comments on the Hall of Fame's all 1920s team:
"The selectors leaned heavily on men already enshrined
in the Hall of Fame. There's logic to that, of course, but
the scary part is that it looks like they didn't do much
original research.. for the record, the Hall has not elected
a player with a significant part of his career in the 1920s
since 1966. Noting that players like Ray Flaherty
had been enshrined as coaches, Bob noted "The natural
question: were these all great players who became great
coaches, or were some great coaches who were only remembered
as great players?" The other 1920s team was selected
by Pro Football Digest "It's a good team, but it could
1914: Ohio by Bob Carroll. The 1914 season included the fatal injury
of Harry Turner during Canton's 6-0 win over Akron.
In a rematch, Peggy Parratt's Akron Indians beat Canton
21-0 to win the Ohio Championship (as mythical as Santa
Claus, but. the extra few paying customers a credible championship
claim might bring in could make the difference between profit
and loss - and the difference between closing up shop and
playing another season.)
A Place to Play by Joe Zagorski. "All of the 28 NFL Stadiums
have their own flavor and mystique. Some are larger, some
are older, and some are simply better places to watch from.
Some have astroturf, and some have grass that could make
a satiated sheep salivate. Some have luxury suites that
include wet bars and chandeliers, and some are strictly
beer and pretzels. Nevertheless, all are cathedrals of capacity
crowds and houses of hits and hustle. Pro football's places
of play are mighty special indeed."
Mr. 49er: Frankie Albert by Joseph Hession. Book excerpt from "Forty
Niners: Looking Back" "He was called "the
T-Formation Wizard" and for good reason. Frankie Albert
threw 88 touchdown passes in four years of All-America Football
Conference play, the league record. Other than Otto Graham,
a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, no one came close
to that. Remember, that was the era of three yards and a
cloud of dust, a time when throwing the football was akin
to witchcraft. And maybe that's why Frankie Albert was called
the wizard. He certainly could throw a football."
Feathers Again! by Mark Purcell. "What would a Coffin Corner
be without a Beattie Feathers article? In a story that has
more chapters than the Sigma Chi's, we'll give Mark Pucell
the almost-final word; but remember, the opinions expressed
are his own and do not reflect those of the management.."
1936-37 Draft by Jim Campbell. The first two NFL drafts, and some
history of how the system has changed.
The Real System by Bob Carroll. The "Cynical Ranking of Advertising
Potential System" essentially ranks the best quarterbacks
by which six NFL teams had the best records in any year,
from 1945 to 1984. "I had a little trouble with the
order in the last few years because of the annoying habit
of wild card teams winning playoff games, so I used an involved
tie-breaking system which I've since forgotten. If
you want to have fun, assign point values for each position.
I suggest 110 for the Number One slot in honor of the percent
they are said to give."
When Notre Dame Won Rockford City Championship by Emil Klosinski.
In 1919, Notre Dame beat Purdue, 33-13. The next
day, six of its players, including George Gipp, were ringers
for the Rockford Grands in the game against Rockford AAC
for the championship of the Illinois town. Playing also
were two members of the South Bend Arrows, including John
Klosinski, the writer's father. Playing as "Baker",
the Gipper assisted in the Grands' 17-9 win.
The Staten Island Stapletons by John Hogrogian. A complete history
of the team that played on New York's Staten Island from
1915 to 1933, including its years as an NFL team from 1929
1938 Draft by Jim Campbell. Results of the draft held on December
12, 1937, with information on which players went on to play
in the NFL.
PFI Picks the Early All-Pros by Bob Gill. A 1947 issue of Pro
Football Illustrated included a selection of the "All-time
all-NFL team" for the years from 1921 to 1946. "It's
too bad, in retrospect, that the editors of PFI hadn't been
charged with selecting members of the Hall of Fame from
the pre-World War II era - or at least, that the Hall of
Fame selectors didn't pay more attention to this list."
1922: Birth, Rebirth, and Resuscitation by Bob Carroll. Details
of two owners' meetings that determined the transition of
the APFA to the NFL. The first was held in Canton
on January 28, and the second in Cleveland on June 24.
A companion article, called "A Few More Loose
Ends", chronicles the 1922 season. "It was a year
when money talked -- loudly at the league meetings but softly
to the press. It was a year when players gained ground on
the field and lost ground to the owners. It was a year of
great moral outrage and sharp practices. It was also
the first year that the National Football League actually
called itself that."
Ontario Rugby Football Union: 1883-1906 by Robert Sproule. In both
the U.S. and Canada, a system of downs and lines of scrimmage
altered rugby into a new game. A history not only
of the ORFU, but of the parallel direction that the game
took north of the border.
Joe Pisarcik: The Professional by Joe Zagorski. "Joe Pisarcik
has conquered his past, and has played his part. This is
enough to withstand the pains of failure." After
the disastrous "Miracle in the Meadowlands" (November
19, 1978), Piasarcik played six more seasons in the NFL,
as a backup for the Eagles.
Early Black Professionals by Joe Horrigan. "1934-45: No
blacks played in the National Football League during this
period." A comprehensive look at the other years.
Focus is on four African-American pro players before
1920, thirteen who played in the NFL before the color line
took over, and the four who re-integrated pro ball in 1946
(Kenny Washington and Woody Strode for the NFL Rams, and
Bill Willis and Marion Motley for the AAFC Browns).
Also listed are the first black players on each pro team--
the Washington Redskins didn't integrate until 1962.
Adam Wyant by Robert Van Atta. "Who was the first professional
football player to become a United States Congressman?"--
Adam M. Wyant played for Greensburg from 1895-97 and then
represented the city in Congress from 1921-33.
Dave Parks by Joseph Hession. Interviewed for a book about
the 49ers. The first player chosen in the 1964 college
draft soon became "the premier deep threat in the NFL".
Parks played for the 49ers 1965-67, the Saints
1968-72, and the Oilers in 1973.
1932 All-Pros by Bob Carroll. The Associated Press polled seven
of the eight league coaches for the official all-Pro eleven.
United Press made released its own poll. "Interestingly
enough, the U.P. choices differed in several spots from
those honored on the Official team, underlining the contention
made here that all valid All-Pro teams should be preserved
as memorials to excellent players who might otherwise be
They Call It Gridiron in Australia by Tod Maher. "In
fact, North American football has been steadily increasing
in popularity outside the United States and Canada - for
a long time the only place it was played. Now you can find
North American football being played as an organized sport
in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia,
England, Italy, and (yes) Sweden."
Joe Kopcha Recalls 1932 Title Game by Leo R. Joint. After getting
his M.D., Dr. Kopcha was a starting guard for the Chicago
Bears from 1932-35 and was all-pro in all four seasons.
""Somebody asked me the other day, ''Don't
you wish you were playing today at the salaries they're
getting?' I said, 'No, because the $90 a game made it possible
for me to get through medical school.' Let me put
it this way -- if I was making $90,000 like Richard Dent.
there wouldn't be any incentive for me to go to school.
What would I have been at the end of four, five, six years.
I would have been just a regular guy, probably working back
in the mills."
The '41 Bears: The Greatest by John Gunn. ) "A 1979
computer analysis by Jeff Sagarin of Bloomington, Ind.,
rated the Bears as the "best pro football team of all
time," based on "strength-of-schedule ratings
and other graded, esoteric numbers. A story
of his analysis carried by The Associated Press listed the
1968 Baltimore Colts (15-2) second, 1962 Packers third and
1949 Eagles fourth.
Ken Kavanaugh: The Bears' Home Run Hitter by Bob Carroll. "Ken
Kavanaugh probably caught fewer passes than any other wide
receiver to be seriously considered for the Pro Football
Hall of Fame. His modest total of 162 catches over an eight-year
pro career would make a tidy two-year total for some of
today's busier wide-outs. But there's quantity and then
there's quality. Ken Kavanaugh was definitely a quality
receiver. It was never how many passes he caught but what
he did with them. He averaged a touchdown for nearly every
third catch." Kavanaugh played for the Bears
between 1940 and 1950, missing the '42, '43 and '44 seasons
to fight in Europe during World War II.
1941 All-Pros by Bob Carroll. "Although the Bears emerged
as the top team of 1941, there were plenty of other great
players in the NFL. In fact, it could be argued that the
league would not be permeated with so much talent again
until the merger with the All-America Football Conference
in 1950. Outstanding players would be siphoned off to the
first the military and then the rival AAFC for the next
eight years." A look at polls by the PFWA, the
AP, the UPI, the New York Daily News, as well as the sports
newspaper Collyer's Eye (not to be confused with Collier's
Weekly) and the picks of Chicago sportswriter Jim Corcoran.
1941 Western Division Playoff by Bob Carroll. Chicago Bears 33,
Green Bay Packers 14. "After the game,
Bear Coach George Halas was asked by a writer to pick the
play that gave him the biggest thrill. 'That's easy,'
Halas grinned. 'It was Bob Snyder's second field goal.'
The interviewer was shocked. 'Because,' Halas
explained, 'it meant the Packers would have to get four
touchdowns to beat us. I didn't think they could do it.'
1941 Championship Game by Bob Carroll. Bears 37, Giants 9.
The attendance at the game, played two weeks after Pearl
Harbor, was 13,341. "In part, the crowd was held
down by the anticlimactic nature of the game; the Giants
were given little chance of derailing the Bears' championship
express. Even more responsible was the depressing news coming
out of the Pacific where American forces were retreating
before the Japanese. Football seemed rather unimportant
when viewed in context of the world situation."
1941 Draft by Jim Campbell. Ten teams and twenty rounds.
Don Scott (#9) and Forest Evashevski (#10) were both first
round picks who didn't play in the NFL.
The Best End We Ever Forgot: Lavie Dilweg by Bob Carroll. "Lavie
Dilweg, by nearly all contemporary accounts and measurements,
was the best end in pro football almost from his first game
until his last. He had an unusually long career, played
on the best team of his time, and followed his playing days
with a life of public service that took him all the way
to Washington. What more could anyone ask?.. How about being
remembered?" Dilweg played for the Packers from
1927 to 1934, after a rookie season with the Milwaukee Badgers.
Cash and Carry No More by Joe Horrigan. Only nominally about C.C.
Pyle. The article was written after all player agents
had to be certified by the NFLPA. "If conformity
is a measure of success, then the NFLPA's certification
program must be considered one. Since the program began
in 1982, more than 11,000 agents have registered."
A must-read for anyone who wants to be an agent.
Willie Thrower: The First Black QB in NFL by Robert Van Atta. In
1953, Thrower became the first black quarterback in the
NFL, serving as a backup for starter George Blanda.
He made history on October 18, 1953, "opening the way
for those who have followed". Afterward, he
played for the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers,
until a shoulder injury ended his career in 1956. Little
known fact "He was also Blanda's roommate, a coincidence
since both quarterbacks were from Westmoreland County in
Pennsylvania. That county then was one of the most productive
sources of college and pro talent in the nation."
The Chris Crew by Stan Grosshandler. . Altogether, 18 men
came and went on the Detroit Lions' defensive line. "From
1951 through 1958 this group was instrumental in winning
three league and four divisional titles. 'We were
not ahead of our time in the mechanism of defense,' stated
Hall of Famer Jack Christiansen, the man for whom the crew
1939 Draft by Jim Campbell. A total of 200 men were selected by
the NFL's ten teams. I.B. Hale of TCU was the only
first-rounder not to go on to the NFL.
Hugh McElhenny: The King by Joseph Hession. "But his reputation
as a game breaker made him a marked man around the league.
Everywhere he went defenses devised plans to stop him. Some
devised ways to cripple him. The didn't want to just tackle
him; they wanted him out of the lineup." Interviews
with "The King" who played for the 49ers from
1952 to 1960 (his last four seasons were with the Vikings,
Giants and Lions). McElhenny was an 8-time
Pro Bowl selection. From an interview: "To be
a good running back, well, it's just God's gift. It's not
something you can teach. I did things by instinct. Running,
balance, all of it was instinct. You also have to know where
other people are in the field."
1905: Challenge from Canton by Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll.
Before they were Bulldogs, the Canton A.C. had a big
season, including a 121-0 win over a team from the U.S.S.
Michigan ("in what may have been the most horrendous
naval defeat since the Spanish Armada") and 107-0
over Dayton AC. Meanwhile, the defending champion
Massillon Tigers were going unbeaten as well. When
the two teams met on Thanksgiving Day for the title, Canton's
only points were on a field goal. Final score, Massilon
14, Canton 4.
Blood Scored Last Pottsville TD by Doug Costello. Johnny "Blood"
McNally had died three weeks earlier, 57 years after guiding
the Pottsville Maroons to a 26-0 win over the Green Bay
Packers on November 25, 1928, the last NFL game in Pottsville.
1940 Draft by Jim Campbell. Ten teams, 200 players selected.
First round choices Doyle Nave (#6) and Ed Boell (#8) never
played in the NFL.
He Wasn't Shy on Talent: Jim Musick by Janis Carr. Musick played
only briefly (as a fullback for the Boston Redskins in 1932,
1933, 1935 and 1936) but in 1933, he was the NFL's
rushing leader, with 809 yards on 173 carries. His
career was ended by injuries: ""I was carrying
the football, made a sharp cut in the turf and snapped my
knee. Although it healed, it really never was the
same." After the NFL, he was the Sheriff
of Orange County, California, for 28 years.
1942 Draft by Jim Campbell. The 200 selections of the ten NFL teams,
made a couple of weeks after Pearl Harbor. More than
half-- 101-- would go on to play pro football, though some
would have to wait until after the War.
Al Blozis: Jersey City Giant by Bob Carroll, V. Mastro, et al.
Profile of tackle Al Blozis, "The Human Howitzer".
Blozis played three seasons for the New York Giants
(1942-44) and was all-pro in the 1943 season "Blozis
entered the service right after the  championship
game. He didn't have to go. His size put him outside the
limits of the draft, but he was determined to do his part.
Six weeks later, he was killed." Blozis was
one of 21 NFL players killed in World War II, dying on January
31, 1945 in France, where he is now buried.
Buckets: Charles Goldenberg by Stan Grosshandler. Written after
Charles Goldenberg's death in 1986. A native of the
Ukraine, he grew up to play 13 seasons for the Green Bay
Packers and was listed by the HOF as one of the best players
of the 1930s, though he is not enshrined at Canton.
"When he hung up his cleats, only Blood and Mel Hein
with 15 seasons each had played more years in the league
than Goldenberg." Quotes from Goldenberg's interviews
are included, with his observations about Curly Lambeau,
Don Hutson, Danny Fortmann, Johnny Blood, and the 1939 Packers.
""People did not realize how poor the clubs
really were. Once after an exhibition game the team appointed
Ernie Smith, Hutson, and me to go to the bank with Curly
and make sure the team got paid."
The Least Remembered Championship (1944) by Bob Carroll. Green
Bay Packers 14, New York Giants 7 "There was
lots of great defense and a couple of big plays. It almost
had a great comeback, and it did have some human interest
in Arnie Herber versus his old team. It was Al Blozis' last
game. It even had one of those screwy twists people like
to remember - the biggest offensive threats for both teams,
Hutson and Paschal, were used almost exclusively as decoys..
But you never hear fans fondly reminiscing about the 'Decoy
Game.' Instead it's 'Who played?' 'Who won?'" 'Who
cares?' Fans forget a lot of games, of course, even championships,
but - if such a thing could be measured - this one would
win the cup as least remembered. And they'd probably forget
to inscribe it. Mostly it was the war.
1943 Draft by Jim Campbell. The NFL draft went 32 rounds and 300
players were selected, but a more important draft took precedence
during World War II. Most of the selections played
in the NFL or the AAFC after the war, including all of the
first round picks. Dave Schreiner (#11), Dick Ashcom
(#16) and George Ceithaml (#19) didn't play.
Kilroy Was There by Bob Barnett & Bob Carroll. Colorful article
(including interview) about Frank "Bucko" Kilroy,
lineman for the Eagles from 1944 to 1955, as well as playing
for the "Steagles" in 1943. Kilroy was
once fined $250 for kicking the Bears' Ray Bray in the groin
during a preseason game. After Mrs. Kilroy called
the NFL Commissioner to complain, Bert Bell promised a refund
"if he doesn't get tossed out of any more games this
season." At season's end, Bell gave Kilroy a
check for $500 "and made him endorse it over to Mrs.
Kilroy" Bucko's reputation for rock-'em-sock-'em
football may have been deserved, but so was his recognition
as one of the top linemen of his day. In 1949, the NEW YORK
DAILY NEWS named him a first team all-NFL guard. They repeated
the honor in 1950, putting him on their offensive team (Bray
was named to the first team on defense.) Bucko was also
selected for the Pro Bowl after the 1952 and 1953 seasons
Kilroy won a judgment for libel against LIFE
Magazine in 1955.
Dr. Joe: The Last Renaissance Man by Stan Grosshandler. Recollections
of Joe Kopcha, who often gave interviews "One
of Kopcha's most vivid memories was the game in which Ernie
Nevers of the Cardinals scored six touchdowns and four PATs
for 40 points against the Bears. 'I broke in and threw Ernie
for a loss. In frustration, I hit him in the face. "Ernie
smiled at me and said, `Don't do that. My face is too pretty
to get marked up!'"
The Facts About Friedman by Jim Whalen & Bob Carroll. Written
four years after Friedman's suicide. "According
to some reports, Benny Friedman thought the greatest football
player who ever lived was Benny Friedman. As he grew older,
he made more and more statements along that line, while
sometimes sneering at the abilities of modern players. Apparently,
he never tired of talking about his own accomplishments
but seldom had much energy for other subjects."
The conclusion: "He was controversial and
to some abrasive. But when it came to estimating
his abilities, he was a pretty good judge."
Friedman's Last Hurrah by Bob Gill. "In 1939, five years after
making his final appearance in an NFL game, Benny Friedman,
then head football coach at City College of New York, made
a comeback in pro ball. He did it with a semi-pro
team called the Cedarhurst (Long Island) Wolverines, for
whom he served as player-coach."
I Remember Benny by Ernest Cuneo. "I played guard for the
Orange (NJ) Tornadoes in 1929, their only season in the
National Football League. We weren't great but we were no
slouches. In our opening league game, we fought the New
York Giants to a bloody 0-0 tie. Here I encountered a great
- Benny Friedman of Michigan."
1944 Draft by Jim Campbell. Eleven teams and 32 rounds Three
first round picks never played pro ball, including Creighton
Miller (#3 overall). Only one of the Steelers' first
six choices played after college.
Bucking the (Passer Rating) System by Bob Carroll. "The NFL's
Passer Rating System is alive and well in its yearly rankings,
but it breaks down in career ratings because of circumstances
beyond its control. Let's fix it."
The Packers' Greatest Game by Stan Grosshandler. "The Packers'
greatest game! Was it the famous Ice Bowl? Super Bowl I?
Super Bowl II? One of the title games with the Giants or
Browns? None of the above." How
the 1967 Western Conference playoff (Green Bay Packers 28,
Los Angeles Rams 7) was won by "a couple of third-string
running backs", and a key quarterback sack by Henry
Dale Memmelaar by Bob Barnett & Bob Carroll. "Dale Memmelaar
was a journeyman offensive lineman." After nine
seasons for four NFL teams (1959-67), he introduced the
Cowboys' offense at Washingtonville (NY) High School. "'"Obviously
I had to water it down a little bit for high school kids,
but the concepts were the same,' he says.. "He
signed on on as a free agent with Cleveland just in time
to play for the Browns' championship team of 1964. The title
game - in which Cleveland surprised favored Baltimore, 27-0
- ranks as his greatest thrill in football. "[I]n
1964 the Browns felt we could be 40 points behind and still
win. We just had a winning attitude."
Coaldale's Man of Action: Casey Gildea by Joe Zagorski. Gildea
created the Coaldale Big Green, champions of the Anthracite
League in 1921, 1922 and 1923, and later went on to become
a U.S. Congressman. Interviewed at age 97, he offered
observations about James Bonner, Jack Evans, and Les Asplundh.
1945 Draft by Jim Campbell. Eleven teams and 32 rounds First
round picks Joe Renfroe (#3) and Don Lund (#7) didn't go
on to pro ball.
National Football League Professional Football Synopsis by
Nelson Ross. "Until a fellow walked into Dan Rooney's
office in the early 1960's and handed the Pittsburgh Steeler
executive a typed, 49- page manuscript, the accepted wisdom
was that professional football began in1895 in Latrobe,
Pa.. When Rooney read the manuscript, he discovered
that the accepted wisdom was 40 miles and three years off
target. Unfortunately, by the time Rooney realized what
he had in his hand, the writer had vanished. As nearly as
Rooney could recall, the fellow's name was "Nelson
Ross," or something like that. Whoever he was, he never
returned." The very first publication of the
legendary "Nelson Ross Manuscript", which first
tipped off researchers that pro football had started in
1892 with Pudge Heffelfinger, and that the first pro game
Allegheny Athletics 4-0 win over Pittsburgh Athletic Club
on November 12, 1892. "Ross", whose real
name was forgotten by Dan Rooney, included a list of "Major
Independent Non-collegiate Football Teams";
Editors Bob Braunwart & Bob Carroll added annotations.
Canadian All-Stars, 1932-50 by Bob Braunwart. The Canadian
Press wire service made annual selections of the "All
West" (WIFU) and the "All Big Four" (IRFU).
Football in the United Kingdom by Alan Needham. On September
7, 1982, Channel 4 premiered a new series called "American
Football", explained the rules, and showed Pittsburgh's
36-28 win over Dallas to a curious public. ITV had,
since 1977, showed 30 minutes worth of Super Bowl highlights
each year as part of its "World of Sport" program.
A summary of the two leagues that existed in 1986--the
BAFL and the Budweiser League.
The Death of an All-Star Game by John C. Hibner. The rise
and decline of the annual College All-Star Game (1934-76),
which pitted the NFL champions against the nation's best
college players. The college kids won only 9 of the
42 meetings. The 1948 game attracted 101,200 spectators.
On July 23, 1976, a downpour interrupted play before
the end of the 3rd quarter, the crowd fans tore down the
goalposts, and the all-star game was never resumed-- nor
ever played again.
Glamourless Gridirons: 1907-09 by Bob Carroll. "Most of pro
football's story is worth a second look; the years immediately
following the disaster of 1906 deserve a first look. Those
seasons are consistently ignored in most histories as though
pro football fans in Ohio spent several autumns with their
heads buried in sand and those local football players not
enrolled in academic institutions took up knitting. Not
so! Professional football was alive and well and living
Squirmin' Herman by Bob Carroll. Article about Herman Wedemeyer,
native Hawaiian who became an AAFC star with the L.A. Dons.
so called because of his ability to elude tacklers
during kick returns. "In two seasons of pro
football, he continued to star as a kick-returner, leading
the AAFC in punt return yardage in 1948 and kickoff return
yardage in 1949, but he found only limited success running
from the T-formation." After football, he attained
new fame as "Duke" on Hawaii Five-O
The Duluth Connection by David Neft. "Maybe it was something
in the water." In the mid-1920s, "everyone
came from Duluth!" -- or at least 43 players did, with
Johnny Blood heading the list.
When Stinky Stuffed the Pack (Bill Hewitt) by Bob Carroll. Hewitt
played 8 NFL seasons for the Bears (1932-36) and the Eagles
(1937-39), then was lured out of retirement for the Steagles
in 1943. "Fans knew him as "The Off-Sides
Kid," so named because his charge at the snap was so
quick opponents insisted he was off-sides on every play.
Officials watched him carefully and swore he was legal -
just fast. His Bear teammates were delighted to have the
zebras watch Hewitt so carefully; it left them unobserved
for whatever frolics they cared to work on their enemies."
Paul Krause: Defender by Joe Zagorski. "I was always a baseball
player first, a centerfielder, and I wanted to play in the
big leagues," remembers Krause. "One day, while
I was playing for the University of Iowa baseball team,
I ruined my shoulder - tore everything in it. After that,
it had to be football." Krause played
16 NFL seasons, for Washington (1964-67) and Minnesota (1968-79),
and made 81 interceptions, "as the greatest pass stealing
free safety in NFL history."
Frankford Yellow Jackets: Pre-NFL by Richard Pagano & Bob Carroll.
Before they were in the NFL, the Jackets were nationally
famous. From 1920 to 1923, they played as independents.
In 1922, they were 3-0-1 against the NFL, in 1923,
Jackie Robinson: Pro Football Prelude by Bob Gill. Yes, THAT Jackie
Robinson. Before he went into baseball, he played
for the Hollywood Bears in 1941 for the Pacific Coast League,
at that time the strongest league west of the Mississippi.
After serving in World War II, he returned in 1944
for the Los Angeles Bulldogs.
Gil Bouley 1945-50 by Joseph Hession. "As an offensive lineman,
Bouley's job was to block for two of the game's greatest
quarterbacks, Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield."
remember this one play where someone missed a block and
Bob got creamed. We came back to the huddle and all he said
was, 'Come on, guys, try to hold them out a little longer.'
That wouldn't have happened with Van Brocklin. He would
have been yelling and screaming. Waterfield was an
amazing athlete. I'd say he was one of the best quarterbacks
ever to run the bootleg. You had to protect guys like that."
Benton was really something. You've never seen anything
like him. He was 6-3 and about 225. He wasn't that fast,
but boy, could he get that ball. In one game in 1945, he
gained over 300 yards in receptions and he didn't even score
a touchdown." (Benton's 303 yards on 10 receptions
against the Detroit Lions was the NFL record until 1985.)
Los Angeles we had nice weather. We became part of
the Hollywood crowd out there. In fact, they had us making
with the Rams' tackle, who played for the Rams in Cleveland
and Los Angeles and went to 3 title games in 6 years.
1949 Los Angeles Rams by Joseph Hession. "Prior to the start
of the 1949 season, the NFL took a giant step toward modernizing
professional football when it adopted the free-substitution
rule. Coaches were now able to platoon players and establish
offensive and defensive squads, rather than have the same
11 players on the field for most of the game.. When Los
Angeles hosted the NFL championship for the first time ever,
"the game was played in a downpour at the Coliseum
with only 25,245 fans in attendance. The muddy field hampered
the Ram passing attack. They were able to cross the 50-yard
line only twice and were unable to score". Philadelphia
Frankford Yellow Jackets: 1924-26 by Richard Pagano & Bob Carroll.
Subtitled "Part 2: The Good Years" "The
Frankford Yellow Jackets entered the National Football League
in 1924 as the league's first solid east coast team."
In 1926, they won the NFL championship.
Looking into Your Locals by Bob Carroll. "If there's one area
of pro football history that we really don't know much about,
it's the pre-World War II, non-major league pro teams. Some
of them, particularly in the '20s and early '30s, were on
a par with many NFL teams. Others, while not so strong overall,
employed some outstanding individuals. Yet, in many cases,
we don't even know the names of the teams, much less the
players. Yet, it seems, from what we do know, that virtually
every community in America at one time or another took a
shot at pro football. Probably yours did." Tips
on how to ANYBODY can contribute to pro football history.
Herb Adderley: Cornerback by Don Smith. "Starting with his
first regular-season game in the National Football League,
Herb Adderley proved to be a "big-play" star who
could and many times did turn apparent defeat into important
victory. Adderley, who excelled for the Green Bay
Packers from 1961 through 1969 and then wound up his 12-year
career with the Dallas Cowboys in 1970, 1971 and 1972, demoralized
the opposition in a variety of ways.. In Super Bowl II,
he returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown in
the Packers' 33-14 win over the Raiders."
Giant of a Man: Jack Lummus by John Gunn. He played as a backup
for ten games with the New York Giants in 1941 and had one
reception for five yards, then joined the USMC. Lt.
Lummus was killed at Iwo Jima and was posthumously awarded
the Congressional Medal of Honor. Lummus was only
one of two NFL players to received the nation's highest
honor (the other was Maurice Britt of the Lions).
Short Man - Long Legacy: Shorty Ray by Bob Carroll. "Probably
the least-known enshrinee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,
Hugh L. "Shorty" Ray was National Football League
Supervisor of Officials from 1938 through 1952. He never
played or coached a down in the NFL, but he deserves much
credit for the success the pro game achieved by the 1950s."
The Salinas Packers by Tod Maher. The "Iceberg Packers"
of little Salinas, California, played from 1936 to 1938.
In their first year, they played post-season
exhibitions against the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Green Bay
Packers, and a team of NFL All-Stars. In 1937, they
played six games against teams of the "second AFL."
When Did They Start? by Pearce Johnson. From 1888 to 1919, a list
of when pre-NFL non-college and pro teams began play.
Teams include the Homestead Library (1899), the Asbury
Park Oreos (1903), the Portsmouth Shoe Steels (1910), and
the Bridgeport American Chain (1916).
Minor-League Records by Steve Brainerd. Claude Watts had 666 total
points from 1963-75, and they were all on touchdowns.
Other stars include King Corcoran, Tom Bland, Tom
McKinney, Marv Pettaway, Pottsville Firebirds
QB Corcoran also played 2 games for the Patriots in 1968.
Snags, Clippers, and Lombardi: Pre-War Minors by Bob Gill. "A
couple of 's most interesting football stories took
place not in the NFL, but in the nether-world of football's
minor leagues. As a result, they were quickly consigned
to oblivion, the common fate of most chapters of non-NFL
pro football history. It was a fate they didn't deserve.
Stories of the bizarre 1937 American Association
post-season (with three teams claiming the title), and Vince
Lombardi's pro player days with the Wilmington Clippers,
Brooklyn Eagles and Churchill Pros."
23 Guys with Hobbies by Bob Davids. A 1987 list (before Bo and
Deion) of 22 men who played Major League Baseball and NFL
in the same season. Pete Layden played for the AAFC
Yankees and the AL Browns in 1948. Steve Filipowicz
played as both an outfielder and a halfback for the New
York Giants teams in 1948.
Terry Baker: A Different Success by Beau Riffenburgh. The 1962
Heisman Trophy winner "suffered through a pro career
as disappointing as his college years had been glorious",
playing quarterback and then running back with the Rams
(1963-65). " 'Maybe I was at the wrong place
at the wrong time,' Baker says. 'The Rams were so unorganized
when I joined them that the coaches didn't know what was
going on. I started my first game, and I was no more prepared
to do that than the man in the moon. I threw three interceptions,
and I think [Rams head coach] Harland Svare lost confidence
in me right there.' " Baker passed up an offer
from the Giants, played for the CFL with Edmonton in 1966,
then returned to Oregon to become a successful attorney.
Ice Princes: 1934 Giants by Bob Carroll. "The 1934 New York
Giants are forever damned in pro football lore as freaks
of footwear. The story of how they donned sneakers in the
second official NFL Championship Game and snuck to victory
while the traditionally-shod Big Bad Bears slipped, skidded,
and slid to defeat has been told more often than 'the check's
in the mail' or 'I'll respect you in the morning.' "
Was it just the shoes? Carroll's conclusion--
"On a normal field, the Giants just might have won
that 1934 Championship fair and square. We'll never
Old-Timers Played More for Love Than Money by Tony Barnhart. According
to a  survey of NFL old-timers by the AJC, players
were expected to play with pain and injury. Of 130 former
players who responded, 73% said they regularly played games
when they were injured. And more than a fourth, 26.2 %,
said they are currently disabled in some fashion due to
playing pro football. "Even stranger things
were going on in pro football's early days when it came
to money " The Providence Steamroller even had
a clause that pay for night games would be 60% of the amount
for "games played in daylight". "The
Providence owners believed that players should help pay
for lights." Quotes from Al "The Ox" Wistert,
Art White, Bill Dudley, Pete Tinsley, Mel Hein, Paul Stenn,
and about Tommy Thompson, Cliff Battles, George Preston
Marshall, and Greasy Neale about playing conditions 1920-1959.
The Way It Was by And How Players Feel Today by Tony Barnhart.
The complete results of the 1987 survey by the Atlanta Journal
Constitution for the NFL Alumni, along with comments from
Lee Artoe, Lou Brock, Chester Bulger, Gerry Conlee, Bill
Dudley, Richard Edlitz, Otto Graham, Art Jones, Thomas Jones,
Ken Kavanaugh, Nolan Luhan, Armand Nicolai, Robert
Reinhard, Paul Stenn, Earl Svendsen, and Al Wistert.
The '40's: NFL Goes to War by Tony Barnhart. A total of 638 NFL
players served, and 21 died during the war. Others
didn't see combat: "Many players considered "essential"
to the war effort found their duty limited to service teams
around the world. The better players were considered valuable
commodities." -- quote from Bullet Bill Dudley
about being discharged in 1945-- "My CO comes to me
and said I had two choices. I could get on a freighter right
then and be in Fort Dix the following week, or I could play
four football games for his major and get a flight straight
home. So I played the four games, and after the last one
they had a car waiting for me and took me straight to the
Rough Play in the 1950s by Tony Barnhart. "[A]s the game reached
its Golden Age, as some have called it, a disquieting trait
began to emerge. Some called them Black Hats, some called
them enforcers. They were the practitioners of a form of
exceptionally violent play that was still technically legal.
All about the "Hi-Lo" ("in which
two players would tackle a ball carrier with the express
purpose of making an accordion of his spine"), the
"Missouri Block" (an elbow to the face),
and techniques for twisting a neck or flicking dirt in an
The Way It Was by Tony Barnhart. Quotes from Hein and Wistert,
and a list of people whom the "pre-59ers" constantly
referred to as unforgettable (including some less well-known,
such as Art "Tarzan" White and Wee Willie Wilkin).
This includes some of the most concise descriptions
ever written about the what made a particular person great--
Grange, Thorpe, Baugh, Layne, Hutson, Van Buren, Hein, Graham,
Luckman, Motley, Blood, Donovan, Conzelman, and Neale, as
well as Halas, Lambeau and C.C. Pyle.
Lou Rymkus: The Battler by Bob Carroll. "Rymkus can tick off
the names of players he 'handled' until he's listed just
about every important lineman of his day. It's an honesty
that can be both refreshing and aggravating. Either way,
the record seems to support him. In every one of his six
seasons with the Browns, Lou was named either first
or second team on one of the major All- Pro or All-League
for Lou Rymkus might have been very different, at least
in his post-playing career, if he'd only been able to shut
his mouth, go along, let it be. Of course, then he wouldn't
have been Lou Rymkus; he'd have been somebody else, somebody
that the real Lou Rymkus wouldn't have liked very much."
The Rivalry: Browns and Bengals by Morris Ekhouse. "The first
meeting between the Browns and the Bengals - on August 29,
1970 - stands as a classic. On the surface, the game was
just another meaningless pre-season warm-up contest. But
the underlying dynamics made it one of the most eagerly
anticipated and noteworthy games in the history of Cleveland
sports. Both teams had been created in the image of Paul
he was fired by Art Modell in 1963, "Fans awaited the
day Brown would lead a new team against his old one."
Quote from Modell-- ""I was the key
to the city of Cincinnati getting the franchise and Paul
Brown returning to football. [Ohio Governor] Jim
Rhodes came to me and said he would like to get an NFL franchise
1957: They Broke Their Heart in San Franciso by Joseph Hession.
"The year 1957 was both magical and tragic for San
Francisco football fans. Heart-stopping finishes became
the 49ers' trademark as the team continued its winning ways
and innovative tradition." On the last
day of the regular season, the 49ers forced a playoff with
the Detroit Lions. Playing at home, they had a 20
point lead over the Lions in the 3rd quarter and were on
their way to their first NFL title game, until.
R.C. Owens: Alley Oop by Joseph Hession. "It seemed unlikely
that a rookie receiver playing in his sixth NFL game would
leap into the stratosphere, gram a 50-yard pass above Detroit's
All-Pro secondary and score a winning touchdown with 10
seconds on the clock.
that's exactly what R. C. Owens did in 1957 when he and
Y.A. Tittle made the Alley-Oop pass as much a part of San
Francisco as Coit Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge."
Lots of quotes from the vertical jumping 49ers star:
""It was noticed that I could outjump the
defenders," said Owens. "Red Hickey, Frankie Albert
and Y. A. Tittle all decided this might be something we
could use in a game. Then we wondered what to call it. Somehow
we decided on Alley-Oop."
Tony Latone: The Hero of Pottsville by Joe Zagorski. "He came
out of the coal mines to play pro football - a shy but rugged
individual whose actions did his talking for him."
George Halas once said, "If Latone had gone
to college and played college ball, he would certainly have
been one of the greatest pro players of all time."
During his six seasons in the NFL, Latone had
an estimated 2,648 yards rushing over 65 games.
Pioneer in Pro Football by Jack Cusak. As the intro notes, Cusack
"is the man who brought the celebrated Jim Thorpe into
professional football". Cusack, 97 years old
when his article "Let the Chips Fall Where They May"
was published, shared an eyewitness account of pro football's
early events. He was general manager of the pre-NFL
Canton Bulldogs 1912-17, and later the NFL Cleveland Indians,
from 1921 to 1922.
The Anthacite League by Joe Zagorski. Pro football history reconstructed
by Zagorski, about a forgotten NFL competitor. "The
Anthracite League was conceived by a group of people who
attempted, in a somewhat feeble way, to imitate the five-year-old
National Football League." During its lone season,
the league had NFL players-- Ben Shaw, Cecil Grigg, Lou
Smyth, and a fellow named Fritz Pollard played for the Gilberton
Catamounts. After the 1924 season, the Pottsville
Maroons went from the 5-team league to the NFL.
The Visionary Chief by Joe Zagorski. "In the 1960's, Lamar
Hunt's irrepressible gaze into the state of professional
football helped to restore the sight of the blind hierarchy
of the National Football League. His views and persistence
changed the course of the game, and his innovative ideas
soon became the corrective lenses for many of today's pro
football franchises." Quotes from Hunt--
"Pro football is a business in the context of a game.
The AFL won its share (and lost its share, too) of
the talent. We had a major advantage in that the AFL had
only 8 teams, where the NFL had 14 teams. We only had to
sign about 1 out of every top 3 players to get our share.
This we did easily, but expensively."
Escape from Purgatory (Buddy Dial) by Bob Kravitz. "Dial holds
the team record for touchdown catches in a season (12) and
is one of three Steelers to gain more than 1,000 receiving
yards in a year." [Dial's TD record (1961)
has been tied by Louis Lipps (1985) and Hines Ward (2002),
who played 16-game seasons]. Dial's injuries
led to an addiction to painkillers, kidney failure and financial
ruin, but he had a successful rehabilitation. Dial
credited Dallas' defensive back Mike Gaechter as the man
who saved his life.
Pain! Lifelong Companion of Many NFL Alumni by Bob Kravitz. "The
game has changed, and so has the attitude of players and
doctors toward playing with pain." NFL Alumni
interviewed by Kravitz were Rocky Bleier, Buddy Dial, Carl
Eller, Pete Gent, Dick Hoak, Lee Roy Jordan, Tom Keating,
John Kolb, Andy Russell, Gene Upshaw, and Craig Wolfley.
From Hoak: "The pendulum was swung completely
the other way. Now, guys won't play with the slightest
injuries. They're so afraid that the next injury is going
to end their careers."
Otto Played in Pain That Won't Quit by Bob Kravitz. Interview with
HOF enshrinee Jim Otto, who was on his 11th surgery at the
time of the article. "Otto, who never missed
a game in 15 years as a center with the Raiders, virtually
has no knees.. The result: He is a cripple. Sometimes, he
needs a cane to walk, and if he stands in one place for
a time, he is bound to collapse."
Along Came (Ralph) Jones by Greg Kukish. "Ralph Jones -- could
any name be less memorable? -- is all but forgotten today.
Yet, his contributions to football deserve recognition.
For one thing, he was the first coach to win a championship
for the Chicago Bears." (The 1921 champs coached
by Halas were the Chicago Staleys) In his third season,
Jones guided indoors the Bears to the 1932 title game, then
retired from pro football.
1949 NFL Championship. Reprint of the Associated Press account
of the Eagles' 14-0 win over the Rams at Los Angeles.
Commissioner Bell refused to postpone the game despite rains
that turned the field into a mud pit.
The All-Time Team: Circa 1942 by Joe King. King polled six NFL
coaches about the ideal eleven. "The consensus? Sammy
to Pass, Bronko to Plunge, Battles to Run."
(The others were Hutson, Hewitt, Hubbard, Turk Edwards,
Fortmann, Michalske, Hein, and Dutch Clark -- six were in
the first HOF class; Hewitt was the 11th, enshrined in 1971)
Dear Cal (Letter to George Calhoun) by Ole Haugsrud. Excerpts from
an October 4, 1962, letter to a reporter at the Green
Bay Press-Gazette. The Duluth Eskimos were
owned by 11 players from 1922 to 1925 and Haugsrud was treasurer,
and in 1926, he bought the team for $1 and signed Ernie
Nevers. In 1929, the franchise was sold and became
the Orange Tornadoes, but the players were kept. .
"I also had a promise from the National League
that whenever a franchise was to be granted in Minnesota
again, I would have the first option to buy the same so
today we are the Minnesota Vikings in the National League.
The price however was not $1.00 -- it was $600,000."
Ox! Where Have You Gone? by Stan Grosshandler. "Bronko, Bulldog,
The Galloping Ghost, Moose, Ox - Where have those colorful
nicknames of past gridiron glory gone?" Quotes from
Doc Kopcha and Paddlefoot Sloan, and trivia about Red Badgro,
Buriser Kinard, Tuffy Leemans, Pug Manders, Moose
Musso, Ox Parry, Ace Parker, Bulldog Turner, Whizzer
White, Waddy Young, At the end, a list of classic
Jack Ferrante: Eagle Great by Richard Pagano. After 9 seasons in
the minor leagues, he became an Eagles starter. Not
as famous as Vince Papale. Ferrante played his first
five years for the Seymour (Pa.) team in the minor
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, and four years for the
Wilmington Clippers. In 1944, at the age of 28, the
receiver finally got his big break. "Jack Ferrante
sure did survive; for seven seasons he started in every
Eagles game except one. He also played on three consecutive
Eastern Division championship teams and two consecutive
N.F.L. Championship teams."
The Year Greasy Neale Was Fired by Gene Murdock. In his first
ten seasons as head coach (1941-49), Neale guided the Eagles
from a 2-8-1 team to the 1948 and 1949 NFL champions, in
large part by a new method of recruiting. "We
had 68 books that we took into the second draft meeting
we attended (1943). No team had ever done this before. They
laughed at us, but you can bet they stopped after we got
ourselves men like Van Buren and Muha with that system!"
After the team was sold, the Eagles went from 11-1-0
to 6-6-0 in 1950. ""The problem was that
Jim Clark, who headed the 1,000 stockholders who bought
the club , didn't know anything about football. He wanted
to trim expenses by doing away with my scouts. He thought
we were spending too much money for information on football
players." Clark fired Neale in February
1951 with a 21 word telegram.
Armco's Semi-Pro Teams by Armco Corp. In the late 1920s, the Armco
Corporation placed employees on two teams -- Ashland (Ky.)
Armco and Middletown (OH) Armco Blues. Many of the
semi-pros were former college All-Americans, including Red
The 1975 Chicago Wind by Tod Maher. Owner Eugene Pullano bought
the Chicago Fire and sought the World Football League's
championship, offering a $ 4,000,000 contract to Joe Namath,
and hiring Babe Parilli as coach. Namath turned him
down, he fired Parilli after one preseason game, and --
after taking on future Bears' coach Abe Gibron-- folded
the team after five games and a 1-4-0 record.
Jim Carter: Former Packer Puts Troubles Behind by Joe Zagorski.
Carter played 9 seasons (1970-78) as a Green Bay linebacker,
bragged about becoming better than Ray Nitschke, and soon
became so unpopular that fans cheered when he was injured.
Quotes from a man who made lots of mistakes, but
learned from them. Carter retired from the NFL and
went on to build a successful Ford dealership in Eau Claire.
Civil Rights on the Gridiron (Washington Redskins) by Thomas G.
Smith. Author Smith was a professor of history at Nichols
College. "'We'll start signing Negroes,' Washington
Redskins owner George Preston Marshall once quipped, 'when
the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.' . On March
24, 1961 Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall warned
Marshall to hire black players or face federal retribution.
For the first time in history, the federal government had
attempted to desegregate a professional sports team.
Marshall was both an innovative owner who "took
a dull game and made it irresistible", but also a racist
who kept blacks out of the NFL until 1946, and off of the
Redskins until 1962.
WFL by Team Records 1974-75 by Bob Braunwart. All the game scores,
and some trivia about the vision for a true "World"
Football League, and not just in Canada.. Before
the Shreveport Steamer had been the Houston Texans, Steve
Arnold's franchise had been reserved for Tokyo, while Bruce
Gelker had wanted the Portland Storm to play in Mexico City.
Eight Tries at the End Zone (Cle-NY 1950) by Jack Ziegler. After
the Browns and the Giants tied at 10-2-0 in the Eastern
Division, the playoff was played on a frozen field in Cleveland.
In the final quarter, the Giants had first down four
yards from goal. Thanks to a Cleveland penalty, the
Giants had eight consecutive attempts at a touchdown, and
had to settle for a field goal. Instead of leading
7-6 in the final minute, the Giants trailed 6-3 (a safety
at :08 made the final score 8-3).
The Hidden Career of Ken Strong by Bob Gill. "Among the list
of top-level NFL players who played in other leagues in
the 30s and 40s are "stars like Frankie Albert, Ed
Danowski, Jack Ferrante, Augie Lio, Harry Newman, Hank Soar,
Tommy Thompson and Kenny Washington, plus Hall of Famers
Red Badgro, Johnny Blood, Sid Gillman, Vince Lombardi and
Ace Parker But without a doubt, among the famous
names of football, the one with the most extensive non-NFL
career was Ken Strong." Besides 12 seasons
in the NFL (1929-35 and 1944-47), he also played in the
1936-37 AFL, and for the minor league Jersey City
Giants and Long Island Clippers.
Karl Karilivacz: A Good Football Player by Greg Kukish. Quotes
from crewmates Jim David and Yale Lary about the Lions defensive
lineman for the "Chris Crew" (1953-57).
Karilivacz played in the NFL until 1960.
Dear Leo [Lyons] by Aaron Hertzman. Hertzman, who owned the Louisville
Brecks from 1921 to 1923, responded to a letter from
former Rochester Jeffersons owner Lyons in 1961.
The Brecks averaged 3 games a year, wrote Hartzman, who
noted that "The majority of present owners know
knowing (nothing) of the hardships Joe Carr went through
in finding new clubs each year, most of which lasted only
one season - but did contribute dues and assessments, which
were essential to the continuance of the league until it
finally got on its feet. The three or four or five games
[the lesser teams contributed] filled in the schedules of
the ruling clubs enabled the league to keep going."
In the Same League by Ernest Cuneo. Written by NFL guard Ernie
Cuneo about the Orange Tornadoes in 1929 (he also played
for Brooklyn in 1930), who went on to become a lawyer.
"For most of us, the reward of playing the game back
then - the reward that lasted a lifetime - was to see what
we could do against the superstars. The Orange Tornadoes,
myself included, weren't great, but we were no slouches
It's a Minor Thing by Steven Brainerd. "[N]o team ever did
what the Terre Haute Thunder did August 10th, 1986."
(they played an unscheduled two games in one day).
Other minor and semi-pro highlights: The
first overtime in football, the 1940 Eastern Pa. playoff.
After six quarters, Chester and Seymour were tied
0-0 in a blizzard. "Chester was declared the
winner on the basis of first downs, 12-5." An similar
overtime in the 1940 American Association playoffs (after
two tied games, the Newark Bears beat the Long Island Indians
on a best 3 of 5 coin toss. Odd scores (3-2, 2-0, and Galveston's
4-0 win over Oklahoma City); The Glens Falls' Greenjackets
five consecutive EFL championship game losses (1981-85)
[this was written before the Buffalo Bills' four straight
George Roudebush by Matt Fenn. Roudebush was a back for the Dayton
Triangles in 1920 and 1921, and had played pro ball since
1915 onward. At age 93, he was the oldest living
NFL player in 1987 and gave interviews.
The King -- Joe Krol by Bob Sproule. "During the years that
he wore an Argonaut uniform, he became one of the greatest
players of the game and perhaps the best halfback ever to
play in the Canadian championship " He was also
the Toronto kicker, and played from 1943 to 1953,
helping the Argos win five Grey Cups.
Two American Heroes: Red Grange & Fritz Pollard by John M.
Carroll. Grange's Chicago Bears and Pollard's Providence
Steamroller met on December 9, 1925 in the first NFL game
ever played in Boston. Grange and Pollard were, at
the time, the most famous white and black pro football players.
The Continental Football League: Mini-Tragedy by Sarge Kennedy.
Subtitled "A Mii-tragedy in Five Acts".
The first comprehensive article (including final standings,
playoff results and all-star teams) about the largely forgotten
Continental Football League. In its five seasons
of trying to become a major league, it played in big-league
markets and stretched coast-to-coast. Among the teams
that came and went were the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Owls,
Dallas Rockets, Indianapolis Capitols, Montreal Beavers,
Orlando Panthers, Philadelphia Bulldogs, Seattle Rangers,
and Toronto Rifles. It also gave a start to coaches
Bill Walsh (San Jose) and Sam Wyche (Wheeling), and future
NFL stars Ken Stabler, Coy Bacon, and Otis Sistrunk.
Ringers! And the Pride of Portsmouth by Bob Gill. No, not the Spartans
of Portsmouth, Ohio, but the Cubs of Portsmouth, Virginia.
"What NFL Hall-of-Famer once joined a minor
league team at the end of a season and played a decisive
role in leading the team to a championship?" Actually,
there were two-- in 1939, after the NFL season ended, Ace
Parker helped the Cubs win the Dixie League title and Sid
Luckman helped the Newark Bears get into the American Association
The Day the Fans Took Over at Pottsville by Joe Zagorski. Thanksgiving
Day, 1924, the Shenandoah Yellowjackets and the Pottsville
Maroons in an Anthracite League game. "With but
several minutes remaining in the contest, hundreds of Shenandoah
fans stormed onto the field and refused to leave, thereby
halting the game until it was too dark to continue play.
and soon, "there were just as many Pottsville fans
on the field as there were fans from Shenandoah."
Ole Haugsrud Remembers by Ole Haugsrud. Written in the early 1940s
as Haugsrud remembered taking Ernie Nevers and the Duluth
Eskimos out west after the 1926 season.
What Are We Doing in Buffalo? by Art Daley. Wednesday Night Football
on September 28, 1938 at Buffalo's brand new Municipal Stadium.
After trailing in the final minutes, the Green Bay
Packers beat the Chicago Cardinals 24-22 in an NFL regular
season game. Played three days after the Cards' 28-7
at Green Bay, and often listed as a Cardinals home game.
The win was important-- had the Packers lost, they
would have been tied at 7-4-0 with the Lions in the Western
1963 Championship Game by Jack Ziegler. Subtitled "Irresistible
Force vs. Immovable Object". As Sid Luckman
said beforehand, ""The championship game figures
to be one of the best in history...because you've got the
Bears' great defense against the Giants' great offense."
In 1963, the Giants averaged 32 points per
game, the Bears allowed only 10 points per game.
In the end, the immovable object won, 14-10.
Shooting Stars: Rise and Fall of Blacks in Professional Football
by Gerald R. Gems. "Unlike professional baseball. college
football provided at least the appearance of a true democracy.
Black players appeared on interscholastic teams throughout
the Progressive Era [from 1891 to 1910]. "The
1920's. witnessed the golden age of blacks in the NFL. That
decade had produced a parade of black talent. The next would
confirm the color line that baseball had established so
long before." Gems closes by writing that
George Preston Marshall "acceded begrudgingly, finally
obtaining Bobby Mitchell, the Redskins' first black player,
in 1962. Mitchell promptly led the league in pass receptions
and the Redskins back to respectability. The experience,
however, may have been devastating to Marshall. Suffering
from an illness, he died shortly thereafter."
Mitchell was the NFL's leading receiver in 1962 and 1963,
but Marshall died in 1969 at the age of 72.
The Champagne of Football: Eton Wall Game by R.C. Macnaghten. Reprinted
from an 1899 British book about soccer football.
An explanation of the football predecessor that has been
played annually for almost 250 years.
The Role of the Road Team in the NFL: Louisville Brecks by Brian
C. Butler. Copiously researched article about the Louisville,
Kentucky, pro football team. They played nine games
in the NFL from 1921 to 1923. They also played independently,
and in the Falls City Football Federation.
A History of the Dixie League by Bob Gill. With standings, playoff
results and narrative about the southeastern league that
played from 1936 to 1941. The DFL returned as a top
minor league in 1946, but had only four teams in 1947, and
folded after playing the opening weekend.
The USFL Antitrust Lawsuit. Not an article, but a copy of the 2nd
Circuit Court of Appeals decision authored by the Hon. Ralph
Winter in USFL, et al., v. NFL, et al., 842 F.2d 1335.
Season of Change: 1972 Packers by Joe Zagorski. After the 1971
Packers finished at 4-8-2, Head Coach Dan Devine led them
to a 10-4-0 season the following year. A major factor
was cutting 21 players, and replacing 5 of the 11 starters
on the 1971 offense.
Charlie Trippi: A Success Story by Bob Barnett & Bob Carroll.
"[T]here was a time -- a decade, in fact -- when he
was arguably the best football player in the country and
certainly the most famous in the South Interview
with Hall of Famer Trippi, who played running back and defensive
back for the Chicago Cardinals from 1947 to 1955.
In 1951 and 1952, the Cards even made him their starting
The Cards' Dream Backfield by Bob Carroll [Angsman, Christman,
Harder, Goldberg]. Besides Trippi, the Cards included Elmer
Angsman ("his average gain per rush [6.8 yards] topped
the NFL in his rookie year "), Pat Harder
("the NFL's first great fullback after World War II")
Paul Christman ("he ranked only behind Sammy Baugh
and Sid Luckman in the NFL during the 1945-47") and
Biggie Goldberg ("An unselfish star, Goldberg sacrificed
personal headlines for team wins.")
Still the Enforcer: John Baker by Bill Utterback. Everyone has
seen the classic photo of Y.A. Tittle dazed after a powerful
hit, Baker was the man who delivered it in 1964 while playing
for Pittsburgh. "I didn't think there was anything
special about it, but I guess the photographer did. My mind
was on the game and getting to the quarterback again."
In 11 NFL seasons (1958-68), the 279 pound defensive
end also played for the Rams, Eagles and Lions.
Other Minor Leagues by Bob Gill. "With the publication of
the latest edition of David Neft's Pro Football: The Early
Years, the push for a full account of the NFL's formative
years is nearing an end. As I see it, there are two frontiers
still left in pro football research: the days before NFL
(the Thorpe years, if you will), and--by far the bigger
task--the minor leagues." Gill, along
with Tod Maher and Steve Brainerd, crossed that second frontier
in the years that followed. From the Anthracite League
to the WFL, a list of lesser circuits.
All for One: Minors Big 3 in 1946 by Bob Gill. The Association
of Professional Football Leagues was an alliance of the
Pacific Coast League, the Dixie League and the American
League, and seemed to be the beginning of "a football
counterpart to Organized Baseball", but the three AAA
level partners split after one season.
It's a Minor Thing: Part 2 by Steven Brainerd. From the first team
to put the players names on the jerseys (Hollywood Bears
1946) to the first soccer style kicker (Bob Kessler in 1962)
to the first women to play on a men's team (Pat Palinkas
and the lesser known Joann Ramirez), the minor leagues did
it first. Interesting facts about the most
popular team nickname and a plethora of unusual ones, including
the Willimantic Wreakers, the Lakeland Brahmas, the Batesville
Quickicks, the Northwest Chicago Fighting Turkeys, etc.
Hicksville’s Fine Sports Reputation by Tom Nikitas. Located on
New York's Long Island, the town was crazy about its semi-pro
champions during the 1920s and 1930s. Whether known
as the "Hicksville Team" or the "Hicksville
Football Club", the team never had a formal nickname.
Mel Blount by Don Smith. "When Mel first entered the NFL,
it was legal for a defensive back to maintain contact with
a receiver until the pass was thrown. Blount did the job
with awesome efficiency. Frustrated by the way Blount
and other talented defensive backs were shutting down the
offenses, the NFL's competition committee simply changed
the rules, outlawing Mel's favorite "bump-and-run"
tactics more than five yards beyond the scrimmage line.
Nobody adjusted more quickly or effectively than Blount.
No longer able to usher receivers downfield on his terms,
Mel merely played behind them, appearing to be beaten, before
swooping in like a starved vulture to deflect the pass or
gobble up an interception."
Terry Bradshaw by Don Smith. "Possibly no pro football superstar
ever experienced more absolute highs and lows, more criticism
and applause, more disdain and adulation than Terry Bradshaw
did during his 14 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bradshaw's
career statistics are impressive but his performances in
19 post-season playoff games are awesome. His career records
show that he completed 2025 passes for 27,989 yards, 212
touchdowns and a solid 70.7 passing rating, which improves
to 78.2 if you delete his five "learning seasons."
He also rushed 444 times for 2257 yards and 32 touchdowns.
He holds numerous Super Bowl career marks including most
yards passing (932) and most touchdown passes (9). His 3,833
yards and 30 touchdowns passing are both records for all
post- season games."
Art Shell by Don Smith. "During his 15-season career from
1968 to 1982 with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, left
offensive tackle Art Shell became widely recognized as the
NFL's premier performer at his position."
Willie Wood by Don Smith. "Willie Wood thought pro football
had passed him by when, following the completion of his
three-year tenure at the University of Southern California
in 1960, he was overlooked in the annual draft by every
team in the National Football League and the emerging American
Football League. Wood finally signed as a free agent
with the Green Bay Packers. .. The 5-10, 190-pounder with
good but not great speed and superb desire and tenacity
was named all-NFL seven times in an eight-year period from
1964 to 1971. He played in eight Pro Bowls with only one
miss in the years between 1962 and 1970. Wood won the NFL
individual punt return title in 1961 and the interception
championship with nine in 1962."
Who Was the Best Blocking Back? by Greg Kukish. Short answer--
John Henry Johnson ("I loved to block. It's because
it gave me an opportunity to hit the guys who were always
hitting me when I carried the ball."). Listed
among the unsung heroes who created the holes for others
to rush through are Rocky Bleier (for Franco Harris), Jim
Braxton (for OJ Simpson), John David Crow, Cookie Gilchrist,
Jim Kiick (for Larry Csonka), Bill Mathis, Tom Rathman,
Jim Taylor, and John L. Williams.
Mini-Bios: Parker Hall, Frank Sinkwich by Stan Grosshandler. Parker
Hall of the Cleveland Rams was the league's MVP in 1939.
"As a single wing tailback and defensive back
he rushed for 458 yards and two touchdowns, topped the leagues
passers as he completed 51% of his passes for nine TD's
and averaged 41 yards per punt."
Sinkwich of the Detroit Lions completely dominated NFL statistics
in 1944 as he finished first in punting, second in scoring,
third in rushing, fourth in punt returns and sixth in passing.
He accounted for 62% of the Lions' total yardage."
However, he injured his both knees while in military
service in 1945, and had only two more seasons
Jordan was a defensive tackle for the Packers from 1959
to 1969, after playing his first two seasons for the Browns.
He was all-NFL for five consecutive years (1960-64).
"'I actually came to the Packers by mistake,'
Jordan once said. "The Browns offered Lombardi another
player who was bigger than I. However, Vince got the names
mixed up and took me. He was really surprised when he saw
me as he thought I would be much bigger. Vince then turned
this into an advantage as I was fairly fast; so he used
myself and Willie Davis to rush the passers, while Dave
Hanner and Bill Quinlan played the run.'"
1940 and 1949, Ben Kish was a blocking back for 9 NFL seasons
for the Dodgers, the Steagles and the Eagles. He
was a starter in 36 of his 86 games
Football in History Journal. A bibliography by Jim Sumner "Although
the scholarly literature on football is not as voluminous
as that on baseball, history journals have published numerous
articles on football that should be of interest to PFRA
members." Several of the articles have been
reprinted in the CC. Others, such as the Journal
of American Culture (Fall 1981) article "Professional
Football as Cultural Myth", have not.
Outside the Pale: Blacks Excluded 1934-46 by Thomas G. Smith. After
Joe Lillard was cut from the Cardinals in 1933, the NFL
avoided signing African-American players for twelve seasons.
Quote from Tex Schramm (who did sign Kenny Washington
and Woody Strode for the Rams in 1946) "You
just didn't do it --it wasn't the thing that was done."
the college players from that era who were passed over by
Simmons, University of Iowa running back, "perhaps
the most talented and celebrated player in the Big Ten in
Harris, Iowa's captain in 1937;
Sidat-Singh of Syracuse University, 1937-38 ("one
of the finest passers in the nation. Sportswriters compared
his skills to Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman and Benny Friedman
"Brud" Holland of Cornell, 1936-38 ("named
to five different All-American teams")
Robinson of UCLA (as of 1987, he "still retains the
school football record for highest average per carry in
a season (12.2 yards in 1939)"
1946, black players were signed again, for different reasons:
The Los Angeles Rams backfield coach Bob Snyder "later
conceded that the team signed [Kenny Washington] as a precondition
to obtaining a coliseum lease". Coach Paul Brown
invited Bill Willis and Marion Motley to the AAFC Cleveland
Brown's training camp. "Brown was aware of the
unwritten black ban, but had no intention of adhering to
Pass Masters: Rating System by Bob Gill. A sequel to the 1986 article
"Bucking the System". Using Bob Carroll's
relative context passer rating formula, Gill looked at 1937
to 1952. Sid Luckman, Cecil Isbell and Sammy Baugh
were the top three career passers in the adjusted system.
Bob Monnett was a backup QB for the Packers from 1933
to 1938 who rates high in retrospect, and Frankie Filchock,
more famous for being banned for gambling, was outstanding.
Va.-Carolina League of 1937 by Jim Sumner and Bob Gill. "The
1937 Virginia-Carolina Football League". The
VCFL had "a single, troubled season" with five
teams-- the Durham Bobcats, Norfolk Tars, Richmond Rebels,
Sewanee Athletics, and South Norfolk Aces, and an unofficial
6th member, the Roanoke Rassler-Dazzlers, which included
several pro wrestlers.
Before Bengalmania by Bob Gill. Besides the original Cincinnati
Bengals, there were also the Cincinnati Models, the Cincinnati
Treslers and the Cincinnati Blades. The Bengals played
in the 1937 AFL and the 1940-41 AFL, as well as a minor
8-team AFL in 1939 that had been the Midwest League.
1945 Title Game by Jack Ziegler. "The 1945 championship game
had it all--arctic winds, and icy playing surface,hard-hitting
offense and defense, crucial substitutions, a missed extra
point, and a freak safety. When all was measured and weighted,
columnist Shirley Povich of the Washington Post coined the
game's fittest epitaph: '...the goal posts have been the
twelfth man in the Rams' lineup'" Final score,
Cleveland Rams 15, Washington Redskins 14-- and the margin
of victory was when Sammy Baugh's pass from the end zone
hit a goal post and landed back in the end zone.
In 1945, that counted as a safety.
Bob St. Clair: The Golden Geek by Bob Carroll. Nicknamed "The
Geek", after a character in an old Tyrone Power movie
(Nightmare Alley), because he ate raw meat. The diet
took him from a 5'9, 150 pound high school sophomore to
a 6'9, 270 pound 49ers offensive tackle. St. Clair
ignored pain, playing with back fracture and a shoulder
separation before a second Achilles tendon injury ended
Trigger-Man of the Eagles: Tommy Thompson by Bob Carroll. "Surprisingly
for a passer, Thompson had full sight in only one eye, the
result of a boyhood stone-throwng accident. Yet, despite
any loss of depth perception, he became one of the most
accurate passers of his time." Thompson played
9 NFL seasons. When he retired in 1950, "he ranked
second in NFL career completion percentage (51.4), third
in career pass receptions (732), yards (10,400), and touchdowns
Cleveland A.C. : Pioneer in Pro Football by Tod Gladen. "It
was a team that did little of any importance or interest.
So why in 1989, almost a hundred years later,
is there a sudden interest in this faceless team? The
answer is simple. The Cleveland Athletic Club may fall into
that important "Historical First" category. The
Cleveland A.C. may be the first team that we can prove paid
some of its players to play. " Gladen noted an
article in the November 20, 1892 Ohio State Journal which
said that the Cleveland team "consists of many professionals"
Gladen added "Whatever the truth, it will be
some time before we can determine whether the Cleveland
Athletic Club was a pro team or not."
Not Only the Ball Was Brown: Blacks in Minors by Bob Gill. "As
most of you know, between 1933, when Joe Lillard played
for the Chicago Cardinals and Ray Kemp for Pittsburgh, and
1946, when Kenny Washington and Woody Strode joined the
Los Angeles Rams, the NFL had an unofficial ban on black
players. That raises an interesting question: Where did
comparable black players of the '30s go?"
Maher wrote about the New York Brown Bombers, the most successful
all-black pro football team, which played primarily from
1936-39 against white teams. The semi-pro Eastern
Football League had the all-black Washington Lions and the
New York Black Yankees and the mostly black Harrisburg Governors,
as well as mostly white teams. The only true black
league was the four-team Virginia Negro Football League
Gill wrote about outstanding black pro players, with a list
of 29 known to have played in the minor leagues from 1933
to 1945. Among the best who didn't go onto the NFL
or AAFC were Mel Reid, the 1945 MVP of the Pacific Coast
League, Bernie Remson (PCFL 1941-46), and Chuck Anderson
(PCFL 1943-47). After the NFL, Joe Lillard played
The Polo Grounds Case: Part 1 by John Hogrogian. Home of the New
York Giants 1925-55, the New York Titans 1960-62 and the
New York Jets 1963, the site was on 17 acres of Manhattan
Island. Two-part article about condemnation proceedings
that weren't resolved until 1967.
Pro Football’s Decade Records by Bob Kirlin. Data on some teams
who had an outstanding ten year run. From 1946 to
1955, the Browns won 84.1% of their games, and from 1934
to 1943, the Bears were at 78.3%.
The Sports Scholar (Stan Grosshandler) by George Robinson. A bio
of the late PFRA biographer whose day job was a Professor
of Anesthesiology at the UNC Medical School. He played
for Ohio State and did get a letter from the Cleveland Rams,
but "had no illusions about the extent of his prowess".
In writing the team history of the Bills, Dr. Grosshandler
had occasion to interview former congressman and current
Housing secretary Jack Kemp. 'He was one of the least pleasant
interviews I've ever done,' says Grosshandler. 'He was very
curt, and treated me as if I were annoying him. He had very
little to say, and generally acted as if I were a nuisance.'"
The Birth of Pro Football by Beau Riffenburgh & Bob Carroll.
"All of the up-to-date research had not been compiled
in one place until Carroll, the executive director of PFRA,
and Beau Riffenburgh, the senior writer for the National
Football League's publishing branch, NFL Properties, put
together this study. It is not only the first-ever 17-year
history of the Ohio League, the NFL's predecessor, but also
the first work to correct many commonly held misconceptions
about historical events in pro football and to discount
myths that were created by Harry March. "