1939 IN REVIEW
In the middle of a game with the Lions, Curly Lambeau made a switch which added a few years to Don Hutson's career. Lambeau assigned rookie Larry Craig, a 205-pound bruiser, to play blocking back on offense and end on defense, freeing Hutson to use his speed at safety. His new secondary post spared Hutson the pounding of defensive line play, and left him more energy for his pass-catching on offense. Passes from Cecil Isbell and Arnie Herber kept Hutson busy, while the running corps gained enough yards to make the Packers the top offensive team in the NFL. The foundation for the attack was a solid line featuring guards Russ Letlow and Buckets Goldenberg, all of which combined to give Green Bay a return trip to the championship game.
THE PENNSYLVANIA KEYSTONERS
(SOURCE: Wikipedia) The Pennsylvania Keystoners was the idea thought up by then-Pittsburgh Pirates owner, Art Rooney, in 1939 to have a single NFL franchise based in both Pittsburgh
and Philadelphia. The team would play half of its home games in each location. The idea for the Keystoners still exists with the most convoluted in sports history. During their early histories,
the Pirates and the Eagles were among the weakest in the league. In his first eight years of operating the Pittsburgh franchise, Pirates founder Art Rooney was estimated to have lost
$100,000. Neither the Eagles nor the Pirates-Steelers had posted a winning record in their first eight years of existence. Losses on the field were compounded by the combined loss of
about $190,000 in Depression dollars. The Steelers were so bad that Rooney sold them at the end of the, 1940 season to Alexis Thompson, a 26-year-old steel heir from Boston.
Thompson renamed the Steelers the Ironmen, but he planned to move the franchise to Boston and play games in Fenway Park. Eagles owner Bert Bell brokered the deal, which also
involved the trade of 11 Steelers to the Eagles and eight Eagles to the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Eagles were owned by a syndicate headed by Bell, however the team lost $80,000 and 21
games in its first three seasons. Soon all of the team's investors left the franchise, and by the end of the 1935 season Bell had the Eagles to himself. Rooney and Bell had become close
friends, and soon after he sold the Pittsburgh franchise, Rooney bought a half interest in the struggling Eagles operation. The two owners planned was to field a combined Philadelphia-
Pittsburgh team called the Keystoners that would play home games in both cities. The original proposition was that Thompson would buy the franchise and take the Pittsburgh club to
Boston and Bell and Rooney would pool their interests in the Eagles to form a Philadelphia-Pittsburgh club, splitting the home games between Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia's
Municipal Stadium. The Pittsburgh Pirates were supposed renamed the Boston Iron Men, however Thompson's move to Boston fell through. The Rooney/Bell idea to have one franchise with
games in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh was vetoed by the league as well. However Rooney had second thoughts about leaving Pittsburgh for Philadlephia, he caught Thompson at the right
time and the two men changed their plans. As a result, Rooney and Bell would take their Philadelphia operation back to Pittsburgh and rename it the Steelers while Thompson, could
move Rooney's original franchise to Philadelphia and play as the Eagles.