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THE COFFIN CORNER - VOLUME 3 - 1981

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Number 1:

The Oorang Indians by Bob Braunwart, Bob Carroll and Joe Horrigan. In American sports lore, there never was, and surely never will be again, anything like the Oorang Indians, 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.

Number 2:

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.

The First NFL Game(s) by Bob Braunwart and 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.

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.

Number 3:

Simpatico! A Tale of Two Raider QBs by Joe Horrigan. 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 common.

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.

Number 4:

Blue Shirt Charlie's Big Red Dream by Bob Braunwart and 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.

Number 5:

The Discarded Championship by Joe Horrigan, Bob Braunwart and Bob Carroll. A 12-page retrospective of the Pottsville Maroons and the controversy over the 1925 NFL title.

Number 6:

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: the shortest distance covered by a football between passer and receiver (Harry Newman to Mel Hein); blocked kicks in a quarter (3 by Len Sachs, 10/31/1920); the smallest NFL player (Jack Shapiro); most 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).

Number 7:

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 state champions, 1903-1919.

Number 8:

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.

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.

Number 9:

NFL Competitors: 1926-1975 by Stephen Hensley. Familiar information about the first six attempts to capture some of the NFL market.

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.

Number 10:

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.

Number 11:

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).

Number 12:

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.

Annual:

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 Bob Braunwart, Bob Carroll and Joe 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.

2020 Convention
June 18-21, 2020
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Canton, Ohio

This month's Coffin Corner

1958 Baltimore Colts

The 1966 Green Bay Packers

The All-America Football Conference

The Early History of Professional Football

A Minor Masterpiece