Coffin Corner Index


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Number 1:

The Polo Grounds Case: Part 2 by John Hogrogian. The conclusion of a comprehensive two-part article about the condemnation of New York’s Polo Grounds.

Ed Sprinkle by Bob Carroll. During his 12-year career with the Chicago Bears, defensive end Ed Sprinkle probably was the first player to become famous for his pass-rushing ability.

Verne Lewellen by Bob Carroll. The multi-faceted halfback was a key member of the Green Bay squad that won three straight NFL championships in 1929-31. In addition to his booming punts, slashing runs, and all-around offensive play, Lewellen was regarded as one of Green Bay’s best defensive players.

Dayton Played Large Founding Role in NFL by Ritter Collet and Steve Presar. A history of the Dayton Triangles, a potent semipro team during the World War I years and a charter member of the NFL. Despite not having a winning record after 1922, the team managed to hang on through the 1929 season.

Fritz Pollard and the Brown Bombers by John M. Carroll. The pioneering efforts of Fritz Pollard to integrate college and pro football ranks included fielding the Harlem-based Brown Bombers—named after heavyweight champ Joe Louis—in the 1930s.

Giotto and Joe by Bob Carroll. The author addresses the futility of labeling Joe Montana or any other quarterback the “greatest of all-time.”

Papa Bear's Season (1963) by Bob Carroll. George Halas’s sixth and final NFL championship may have been his sweetest, as the 68-year-old coach guided the Bears to the 1963 crown with a punishing blunt-force defense.

Number 2:

Jim Thorpe in the Days Before the NFL by Bob Gill. The author reconstructs Jim Thorpe’s statistical performances in the four years before his 1920 NFL debut at age 33, giving insight into the man’s greatness in his prime.

Behind the Walls by Steven Brainerd. Although records are sketchy, prison football dates back to at least the 1930s. A brief look at jailbird gridders.

American Association/AFL of 1936-50 by Bob Gill. The best of all the minor leagues flourished in the New York-New Jersey area, enduring franchise failures, World War II, and a name change before finally sputtering to an end.

Number 3:

The Brooklyn Dodgers by Stan Grosshandler. A season-by-season retrospective of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Unlike their baseball counterparts, the NFL’s Dodgers weren’t the Lords of Flatbush, but they still managed to stay afloat for 15 seasons (1930-44).

1941 Dodgers - Close But No Cigar by Jack Ziegler. A recap of Brooklyn’s 1941 season. The Dodgers, coached by Jock Sutherland, concluded their schedule with a victory over their interborough rival, the New York Giants, on December 7—Pearl Harbor Sunday.

Hall of Famers vs. Team Season Records by Harold Jones. The writer lists the 23 teams (through 1990) that had a losing season despite having at least four future Hall of Famers on their roster.

Number 4:

Kenosha Maroons (1924) by Don Jensen. A review of the 1924 Kenosha Maroons’ woeful and short-lived tenure in the NFL.

Early NFL: The College League by Bob Carroll. The writer challenges the conventional wisdom that most early NFL players were sandlotters with only a high school education. In fact, the accompanying charts illustrate that from 1920 through 1932, far more NFLers attended college than did not. By 1932, only 3 of 216 players were non-collegians.

Mini-Bios: Buck Buchanan, Bob Griese, Franco Harris, Ted Hendricks, Lambert, Landry, St. Clair. Mini-biographies of Buck Buchanan, Franco Harris, Bob Griese, Ted Hendricks, Tom Landry, Jack Lambert, and Bob St. Clair.

Little Bethany: Cradle of Pro Football by Bob Carroll. Examining the fortunes of little Bethany College in West Virginia, which in a three-year span in the early 1920s fielded eight past and future professional players—including four pros imported from Illinois as “ringers.”

Great Rushing and Passing Performances by Greg Thomas. The writer offers a new statistical method by which one can determine the greatest rushing and passing season performances in NFL history.

The First Pro Bowl Game by Fred Crawford. The original pro bowl game was played January 15, 1939 in Los Angeles. The NFL champion New York Giants defeated a squad comprised of NFL stars and players from independent West Coast teams.

Number 5:

Stapletons Final Season by Bob Gill. A game-by-game account of the last team to drop out of the NFL but to continue playing as an independent, the 1933 Staten Island Stapletons.

Mini-Bios: Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Art Shell, Willie Wood, Fred Biletnikoff, Mike Ditka, Ham, Page. Short profiles of Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Art Shell, Willie Wood, Fred Biletnikoff, Mike Ditka, Jack Ham, and Alan Page.

Hidden Careers: Bob Davis, Nelson Peterson, Ed Michaels, Steve Bagarus. Biographical sketches of four virtually unknown players from the 1930s and ‘40s: halfbacks Bob Davis, Nelson Peterson, and Steve Bagarus, and guard Ed “Whitey” Michaels.

Number 6:

Harlon Hill by Jimmie Purvis. The fleet end for the Chicago Bears in the 1950s reminisces about salaries, teammates, and race relations.

The Steagles by William Ecenberger. The story of two Pennsylvania franchises, the Eagles and Steelers, being forced by World War II to merge for the 1943 season. The players on the combined roster got along fine, but the coaches—Greasy Neale and Walt Kiesling—were an entirely different matter.

Stan Jones: Common Name, Unusual Guard by Bob Carroll. Strong and cerebral, Stan Jones helped make lifting weights an acceptable part of a player’s training regimen during his dozen seasons with the Chicago Bears. After being a perennial Pro Bowler as an offensive tackle, he switched to defense and helped the Bears win the NFL title in 1963. Jones went on to spend 22 years as an assistant coach in Denver and Buffalo.