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VOLUME 2 (1980)
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.
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, and kicker.
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 positive approach."
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
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 time.”
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
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 field.
1919: 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.
VOLUME 3 (1981)
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 22, 1939.
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 in action.”
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 Wilt Chamberlain.
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 (1925-37).
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.”
VOLUME 4 (1982)
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 Lions.”
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 to enjoy”.
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 had Hutson.”
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 times.”
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
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.
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 at 3-9-0.
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
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
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.
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 annotations.
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
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 Football.
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 won, 10-7).
VOLUME 5 (1983)
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 as well.
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
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
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 age.
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), and more.
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 state legislators.
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 rounds.
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
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
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 Bay?
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 1940.”
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 history.”
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
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
VOLUME 6 (1984)
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 Buffalo.
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 articles:
Tim Gallagher ("What 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 careers.
Donald Kosakowski ("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.
Bob 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.
Bob Barnett ("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.
Bob Carroll ("Losing") 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 34-33).
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
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
"Dub Jones" by Stan Grosshandler-- Interviews with Don Kindt and Dub Jones
about November 25, 1951, the day that their Chicago Bears first faced the
"Ed 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)
"Spec 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 with it."
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 him."
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.
VOLUME 7 (1985)
Research Notes by Various authors.
The 1954 Lions by Stan Grosshandler
"Though 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
Notes, 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
Those '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
Opinion, by Bob Carroll--
"Apparently, TV Guide believes fans watch football so they can root for the
Forget 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 been rewarding."
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
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.
"Beattie 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."
"They Weren't Always 60-Minute Men" by Tod Maher.
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
"Almost a Steam Roller" by Pearce B. Johnson
Mel 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 1952-63.
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 Columbus.
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 the USFL."
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" was interviewed.
"They 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 bank.
"But 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 the check."
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 again."
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 be better."
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 to 1932.
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
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.
VOLUME 8 (1986)
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 forgotten."
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 '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
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
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 was named.
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
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
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
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
VOLUME 9 (1987)
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 in Buckeyeland."
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
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, 3-2-0.
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
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."
"I 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."
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.)
Angeles we had nice weather. We became part of the Hollywood crowd out there.
In fact, they had us making movies."
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 won, 14-0.
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
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
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 know."
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
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 teams."
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 E. Brown."
After 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 for
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,
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.
But 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
VOLUME 10 (1988)
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 nicknames.
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
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 Roberts.
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
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
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
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 either."
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 losses (1991-94)]
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 title game.
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 Division race.
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.
VOLUME 11 (1989)
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
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
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."
college players from that era who were passed over by the NFL:
Simmons, University of Iowa running back, "perhaps the most talented and
celebrated player in the Big Ten in the 1930s";
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
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)"
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 it."
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
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 (90)."
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?"
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 of 1946.
Bob 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. "
PFRA members receive six issues of our official newsletter-magazine, The Coffin Corner. Each issue is 24 pages crammed with pro football history: articles on great players, teams, and games of the past (and some not-so-great), occasionally a stat article, some opinion, and organization news.