1925 1935 1945 1955 1965 1975

October 05, 1995

1925

TESTING BLUE LAWS, PRO FOOTBALL DEBUTS IN NEW YORK CITY

NOV. 1, POLO GROUNDS--The Giants, New York City's first-year
entry in the National Football League, beat the Cleveland
Bulldogs 19-0 this afternoon, the inaugural victory for the
franchise after three straight losses. But not all New Yorkers
are pleased that the pro game has established a foothold in this
college gridiron town. After the game, the Giants' second at
home this season, captains of both teams were issued summonses
to appear in municipal court for violating the city's
arbitrarily enforced blue laws, which prohibit recreational
activity on Sundays. Fortunately for the Giants and their fans,
Magistrate James Barrett dismissed the complaint, saying, "I
attend the games myself, and I fail to see any basis for such
charges."

Despite the wins--in court and over Cleveland--the Giants need
help on the field. In a previous outing, on Oct. 18, the first
professional football game ever in New York City, the Giants
could not achieve victory, even with the presence in their
lineup of Jim Thorpe, America's greatest athlete. Though Thorpe
surely accounted for much of the turnout of 25,000 fans at the
Polo Grounds that day, neither he nor his teammates could score
as the Frankford (Pa.) Yellow Jackets beat them 14-0.

1935

NFL OWNERS SEEK PARITY, APPROVE COLLEGE DRAFT

MAY 13, PHILADELPHIA--Eagle owner Bert Bell scored what may prove
to be his most important NFL victory so far, as he persuaded his
fellow owners to adopt an orderly college draft procedure.
Moved, perhaps, by the ineptitude of his own club, which has
posted a 9-21-1 record--including this season's 2-9 mark--since
entering the league in '33, Bell devised a plan that would have
the league's teams choose college talent according to the
reverse order of their won-lost records. In other words, the
last will be first when it comes time to cull the new stars from
campuses.

The 40-year-old Bell was characteristically blunt when asked to
explain why such a system is necessary. It is needed, he said,
to prevent George Halas from pirating all the good players for
his Chicago Bears.

1945

WAR OVER, NFL STARS ARE READY TO RETURN TO THE GAME

AUG. 14, TOYAMA, JAPAN--U.S. Army prisoner of war Mario (Motts)
Tonelli, held by the Japanese for three years, rejoiced today
when he saw an American warplane drop a big box of cigarettes
into what until today had been a huge POW compound. Attached to
the box was this note: "Hostilities have ceased. Will see you
soon."

Tonelli, a Chicago Cardinal rookie in 1940, joined the Army
early in '41 and was shipped to the Philippines. In April '42 he
was one of 75,000 soldiers captured by the Japanese and forced
to walk 65 miles in one week, without food or water, to prison
camps. Ten thousand Americans perished on the Bataan Death
March, but Tonelli survived, only to endure 40 months of
suffering as a POW. A sculpted 180-pounder when he entered the
service, Tonelli is said to weigh about 90 pounds as he awaits
his imminent transport back home to the States.

"I survived," Tonelli told a reporter who arrived at the
camp, "because I was in such good shape from playing football."

1955

GRAHAM RETURNS TO ACTION TO LEAD BROWNS TO TITLE

DEC. 26, LOS ANGELES COLISEUM--After coming out of retirement to
lead the Eastern Conference-champion Cleveland Browns to a 9-2-1
record, quarterback Otto Graham threw for two touchdowns and ran
for two more to lead his team to a 38-14 rout of the Los Angeles
Rams, the Western Conference victors, in today's NFL
Championship Game.

Wanting to go out on top, Graham retired last year after
quarterbacking the Browns to their second NFL title with a
crushing 56-10 win over the Detroit Lions. Graham said at the
time that he wanted to take piano lessons, of all things, and to
play a more active role in raising his children. But in late
August, with Bobby Freeman, the team's third draft pick, having
defected to the Canadian Football League, leaving no one to back
up starting quarterback George Ratterman, Graham answered an
urgent call from coach Paul Brown to return to his team.

"This time I'm sure," the 34-year-old Graham said after today's
game. "I'm definitely retired."

What a career this man has had: 10 pro seasons, including four
in the All-America Football Conference; 10 title-game
appearances with the Browns; seven championships; not a single
missed game.

Today, Graham had a parting shot for the sport he loves. "The
game is getting dirtier," he said. "Our coaches and teachers try
to teach good sportsmanship, and right there in plain view when
people watch the pro game is someone slugging or kicking
someone. Some of it is the officials' fault. Once I saw a guy
swing a haymaker and just miss another player, and the official
was standing right there and didn't call it. 'He didn't hit
him,' the official told me. Now that's outrageous."

1965

ROOKIE SAYERS SCORES SIX TOUCHDOWNS

DEC. 12, WRIGLEY FIELD--The playing surface was such a soupy mess
here today that before the Chicago Bears' game against the San
Francisco 49ers, Bear equipment man Ed Rozy handed out shoes
with the longest permissible cleats. Thinking the shoes would
help him make sharper cuts, Gale Sayers, Chicago's rookie
running back, laced them up tight. When the day was done, Sayers
had scored six touchdowns, tying the single-game record set by
Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals in 1929 and equalled by
Dub Jones of the Cleveland Browns in 1951.

In the first quarter Sayers took a screen pass at the Bear 16,
bolted inside to the left and ran 80 yards for a score. In the
second quarter he broke a clean try at a tackle by 49er
cornerback Kermit Alexander and scampered for a 21-yard
touchdown, then 4:20 later headed off-tackle for seven yards and
a third touchdown. In the third Sayers took off on a 50-yard
touchdown sprint followed by an airborne one-yard dive for six.
In the fourth Sayers, his number 40 barely readable through the
mud that covered his uniform, scored on an 85-yard punt return
that, with all his bobbing and weaving, must have covered 130
yards.

Said the Papa Bear, coach George Halas, who had coached the
legendary runner Red Grange in the '20s, "This is the greatest
performance I've ever seen on a football field by one man."

1975

FUELED BY A NEW, RIVAL LEAGUE, LABOR STRIFE HITS THE NFL

SEPT. 18, FOXBORO, MASS.--The New England Patriots called off
their wildcat strike today, agreeing to begin the season as
scheduled. The Patriots and some members of the Washington
Redskins, the New York Jets, the New York Giants and the Detroit
Lions were protesting both the absence of a collective
bargaining agreement and the so-called Rozelle Rule, which
effectively limits free agency.

The season, which begins next Sunday, promises to be an
interesting one. The rival World Football League has raided the
NFL of some major stars, including Miami Dolphin runners Larry
Csonka and Jim Kiick, and flanker Paul Warfield, who have signed
with the Memphis Southmen; and Dallas Cowboy running back Calvin
Hill and San Francisco 49er tight end Ted Kwalick, who have
joined the Hawaiians. At the same time, Oakland Raider
quarterback Ken Stabler and Houston Oiler middle guard Curley
Culp have walked out on the WFL contracts they signed last
season, and Pittsburgh Steeler defensive end L.C. Greenwood had
no choice but to return to his NFL club: The team he signed with
in the struggling new league folded last summer.

B/W PHOTO: UPI 1925 Even with Thorpe the Giants were far from invincible. [Jim Thorpe] B/W PHOTO: AP1935 Despite Bell's losers-first draft, the Bears got Jay Berwanger. [Jay Berwanger] B/W PHOTO: AP 1945 Tonelli (seated) said his grid grit helped him to survive Bataan. [Man handing picture to Mario (Motts) Tonelli] COLOR PHOTO: HEINZ KLUETMEIER 1975 Warfield (42), Kiick (21) and Csonka dallied with the WFL. [Paul Warfield, Jim Kiick, and Larry Csonka]

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)