PLAYER AND ATTENDANCE RECORDS SHATTERED IN PRO FOOTBALL LOOP
JANUARY 3 (Chicago) - Unprecedented record breaking, greater attendance - and in creased prestige ushered in a new era for professional football during 1941. It becomes increasingly trite with the passing of each season to review National league activities in these superlatives, but it is a matter of record that in each of the last 11 falls professional football has contrived to progress beyond all its previous advancements. Among the developments which made 1941 the most remarkable of the league's 22 years are:
(1) Signing on February 3 of Elmer Layden, head coach and athletic director at the University of Notre Dame as commissioner of professional football.
(2) Total paid admissions of 1,118,616 for 55 regularly scheduled games, an increase of nine percent over the previous high of 1,063,022 established in 1940.
(3) Establishment of a closer union and better understanding between the major league and its minor league contemporaries, effected by Layden in his new office as commissioner.
(4) The first playoff for a divisional championship since the league was split into eastern and western sections in 1933.
(5) Successful defense of its title by a champion of the first time since the playoff system was inaugurated in 1933.
Signing of Layden to a five-yard contract brought the National league the administrative stability imperative to the successful operation of a five million dollar enterprise. Under his guidance the National league quickly embarked on a series of reforms which enhanced its prestige in quarters where previously there had been a tendency to scoff. Outside the executive councils, the story of professional football in 1941 was the story of the Chicago Bears, a fabulous aggregation of artists who swept through a divisional playoff and the championship contest to establish themselves as the greatest team ever assembled.
After winning their championship with a 73 to 0 victory over the
Washington Redskins in 1940, the Bears, assembled, owned
and coached by George Halas, marched through 21 games
with only one defeat, a 16 to 14 setback on November 2 suffered
at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, who might rightfully have
claimed to be the nation's finest unit had there been no Bears.
The Bears defeated the Packers, 33 to 14, in the divisional
playoff, which attracted 43,425 customers not included in the
aforementioned attendance figures. The following week they
defeated the New York Giants, eastern division winners, 37 to
9, in the league playoff, climaxing a season which began with a
37 to 13 triumph over the Chicago All-Stars before 98,200 in
Soldiers' field. Greasy Neale, in his first year at the helm of the Philadelphia Eagles, turned in the outstanding coaching job, successfully and completely teaching a rookie squad the Bears' intricate T formation. He was followed closely by Bill Edwards, who leaped from secondary college football at Western Reserve to the major league and brought the Detroit Lions in third behind the Bears and Packers in the western division. George McAfee, of the Bears, was the back of the year, generally earning the acclaim of every qualified observer as the greatest ball carrier of all time. Marshall Goldberg of the Chicago Cardinals, was the most improved player of the year, reaching the peak of his career with a Cardinal team which could only win three games. Don Hutson, veteran Green Bay end, broke all scoring records, increased his amazing record for passes caught and climaxed his season by being voted the outstanding football player of the season, collegiate or professional. His teammate, Cecil Isbell, gave the greatest exhibition of passing in football history, completing at least one touchdown pass in each of the Packers' 12 games. Pug Manders, of Brooklyn, won the ground gaining championship, but Clark Hinkle of Green Bay shared the honors in this department by setting a new league all-time mark for ball carrying. The Bears with their unbelievable personnel, shattered eight team records and three game marks by setting a new standard for passing efficiency. New York's Giants returned to the championship class on the strength of a stout defense, bulwarked by seasoned veterans, and a greatly stepped up offense, provided by the outstanding group of rookies of the season. Brooklyn loomed as a powerful factor in the race by beating the Giants twice, but took lickings from less regarded opponents. Washington, which started well, bogged down under the burden of injuries to key backs. Philadelphia was exceedingly interesting, but not quite robust or experienced enough, and Pittsburgh, with its best personnel in years, was robbed by frequent changes of coaches. Cleveland, still suffering from a chronic ailment, a shortage of reserves, was riddled by the draft which took all its important rookies. Detroit, starting under a new coach, came fast at the end of the season. The Chicago Cardinals boasted their best team since 1935, but although they made it tough on everybody, they usually just managed to be nosed out in the breaks. All teams had one complaint in common. The Bears were in the league.
BEARS TIP ALL-STARS 35 TO 24 IN SAVAGE BATTLE, THREE HURT
JANUARY 5 (New York) - The mighty Chicago Bears, professional football
champions for two straight year, throttled a win-crazy league All-Star
eleven Sunday afternoon at the Polo Grounds, 35-24, in a rough and tough
battle before a meager crowd of 17,725. It was a bruising melee from start
to finish, the All-Stars seeking some sort of individual revenge for the
treatment handed out by George Halas's giants to their clubs during the
regular season. But a five touchdown barrage, three in the first half,
nullified brilliant solo performances by Slingin' Sammy Baugh, Perry
Schwartz and numerous other satellites of the play-for-pay circuit. So
rough was the fray that Don Hutson, all-league end from Green Bay,
suffered a broken rib; Frank Filchock, Washington Redskins back, was
nursing two broken ribs today, and Baugh was forced to endure four
stitches in his jaw. The season's football finale, also the last game for
many of the stars who are eligible for service in the United States armed
forces, was played for the benefit of the Naval Relief Society, with 50
percent of the gross gate of $50,609 being turned over to the fund which
aids all families of navy men lost on the battlefield. Wind, mud and snow
marred the contest yesterday, with thousands preferring to stay home with
the temperatures well below freezing. The Bears' second quarter drive in
which they scored three touchdowns, typical of their parade to the league
title, gave them a 21-3 advantage at the half but they needed every bit of
it as the All-Stars struck back on the arm of Baugh. Baugh's heaves, one
to Perry Schwartz of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the other to Bill Dewell of
the Chicago Cardinals, gave the All-Stars two quick touchdowns in the
third period. But when one of Baugh's aerials settled in Dewell's arm and
Ward Cuff added the second of his three successful conversions, the
Bears led only 21-17. The champions were not long, however, in showing
why they are kings of football. Just before the period ended, Sid Luckman
caught Ray McLean in payoff territory and Bob Snyder's conversion gave
the Bears a 28-17 margin going into the final session. They kept right on
traveling until Young Bussey passed to lanky Ken Kavanaugh midway of
the final quarter for their fifth touchdown. The minutes were ticking away
when Baugh again connected with Schwartz on the 6-yard line and the
Dodger end wiggled across for the final score. The field conditions were
far from favorable for play, and the fans shivered in the stands. The
champions, rolling to 13 first downs, drove on the ground for 125 yards
and through the air for 156 more. The All-Stars piled up 17 first downs,
gained 94 yards rushing and 161 in the air, chiefly because of Baugh's
PACKERS WILL LOSE MCLAUGHLIN TO NAVY
JANUARY 10 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packer football management
has received word from Lee McLaughlin, first year tackle of the squad this
year, that he had passed examinations for service with the U.S. Navy. His
home is at Richmond, Va. He played college football at the University of
Virginia. Another tackle, Charles Schultz, was rejected from army service
because of high blood pressure.
VAN EVERY OF PACKERS ENLISTS IN AIR CORPS
JANUARY 15 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packer management received
word today that Harold Van Every, star halfback on the local pro football
club, had enlisted in the army air corps. He will report at Baker field in
EDDIE KOTAL TO BE AIDE TO LAMBEAU OF PACKERS
JANUARY 18 (Green Bay) - Eddie Kotal, pepperbox halfback of the Packers for five season, from 1925 through 1929, will return to Green Bay next fall as an assistant Packer coach. Announcement of Kotal's appointment was made by Curly Lambeau Saturday. It followed an earlier announcement by Kotal of his resignation as athletic direction and football coach at Stevens Point Teachers, where he had served for 11 years. Kotal will work exclusively with the backfield. Red Smith will continue to handle the line. Lambeau will supervise the work of both. Kotal wound up his playing career with the great team on 1929, the ironman outfit which brought Green Bay its first National league championship. He became head coach at Lawrence college, his alma mater, in 1930, and at the end of the season was selected as athletic direction and coach of all sports at Stevens Point. His football and basketball teams at Stevens Point took rank with the best in the history of the school. In 1933, 1934 and 1936, his football team won the State Teachers' conference championship. His 1933 team was undefeated and tied once. In 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937 his basketball team also won the conference championships. The 1933 and 1936 teams were undefeated. The 1933 quintet included among its victims the University of Wisconsin. As athletic director, Kotal introduced boxing and track at Stevens Point. Two of his track athletes still hold conference records. Kotal, who never wore headgear in his playing days, scored 10 touchdowns for the Packers. He never weighed more than 170 pounds and was a jack-of-all-trades as halfbacks go, running, passing, receiving passes and punting. His bulldog determination was always one of his chief characteristics. Kotal will teach summer school at Stevens Point, then join the Packers at their camp in August.
SEEKS NAVY BERTH
JANUARY 20 (Green Bay) - Word was received here that Eddie Jankowski, former University of Wisconsin fullback and member of the Green Bay Packers, had applied for entrance in the U.S. Navy.
CECIL ISBELL PASS CHAMPION
JANUARY 21 (Chicago) - Official statistics of the NFL today gave Cecil Isbell of the Green Bay Packers the professional football forward-passing championship for 1941. The former Purdue gridiron gambler led the league last year in passes attempted (206), passes completed (117), yards gained (1,479) and touchdown passes (15). The last two figures were also new league records. His record of at least one touchdown pass in every regularly scheduled game was unmatched in league annals. His total of 15 for the season bettered by three the mark set by Slingin' Sammy Baugh of the Washington Redskins in 1940. His total yardage on passes surpassed Baugh's 1940 record by 112 yards and he had only 11 passes intercepted. Only n percentage of passes completed did Isbell yield first place. Sid Luckman of the Chicago Bears finished first, averaging .571 to Isbell's .568 and Baugh's .549. Baugh finished second to Isbell in all-around passing performance in the 1941 competition. He attempted 193 passes and completed 106 for 1,236 yards and 10 touchdowns. Luckman finished third with 119 attempts for 68 completions that gained 1,181 yards and scored nine touchdowns. Last season saw the aerial game reach a new high in professional football with 44.3 percent completions for an even 100 touchdowns. 65 men, a record number, attempted passes, and 35 completed passes for touchdowns, for another record.
TWO PRO FOOTBALLER ENLISTED BY TUNNEY
JANUARY 22 (Cleveland) - Two National Pro football league players were among 65 men accepted as physical instructors during Lieutenant Commander Gene Tunney's two day stay here. The pro gridders were Steve Andrejco, former Ohio State football captain who played the last two seasons with the Washington Redskins, and Gus Zarnas, Ohio State guard recently with the Green Bay Packers.
RED SMITH IS SUED FOR $1,107
JANUARY 25 (Madison) - Suit against Richard P. "Red" Smith, Green Bay, a Wisconsin sports figure, for $1,107.22 for materials and supplies he allegedly received while operating a filling station here from 1933 to 1935 was filed in circuit court today by the Pennsylvania Oil Co. Smith now is line coach of the Green Bay Packers and manager of the Green Bay Bluejays baseball team. He was assistant coach under Dr. Clarence Spears at the University of Wisconsin and also played with the Madison Blues baseball team.
LAMBEAU, TWO 'U' STARS CONFER HERE
JANUARY 29 (Madison) - Two University of Wisconsin football players, who completed their collegiate careers last fall, conferred with Coach E.L. "Curly" Lambeau of the Green Bay Packer at luncheon in the Loraine hotel this noon. They were Tom Farris, quarterback elected honorary captain at the end of the season, and Don Miller, who played both left and right halfback. Atty. Gerald Clifford, Green Bay, a director of the Packer corporation, also attended the conference. Farris was chosen by the Packers in the National Professional league draft, a system whereby professional teams gain exclusive rights to bargain for services of top-ranking college football stars.
GREEN BAY SAVES HUTSON-GOLDBERG SECOND FLOOR BAR
FEBRUARY 4 (Green Bay) - Henceforth, the city council voted Tuesday night, citizens will be permitted to purchase liquor at a bar above street level. The council amended an ordinance prohibiting issuance of liquor licenses to such establishments following presentation by Don Hutson, Packer football star, of a petition with 1,000 signatures favoring the amendment. Civic groups opposed the change. The revised ordinance permits issuance of a liquor license only to that portion of the premise on street level, except in the case of bowling alleys having not less than five alleys on the second floor, hotels and clubs. Hutson's Packer Playdium, an $80,000 structure, has a bar and 10 bowling alleys on each of its two floors. Buckets Goldenberg, another Packer veteran is Hutson's partner.
HERNDON SIGNS WITH PACKERS
FEBRUARY 16 (Green Bay) - Clarence Herndon, 25, 260-pound University of Nebraska tackle, has been signed to played with the Green Bay Packers, Coach E.L. (Curly) Lambeau said today. Lambeau said that Herndon, who was recommended by Charley Brock, Packer center, has been married for five yards and that it was unlikely he would be drafted for Army service. Herndon will receive his degree from Nebraska in June, Lambeau said.
RAY FLAHERTY NAMED TO RULES COMMITTEE
FEBRUARY 19 (Chicago) - Ray Flaherty, coach of the Washington Redskins, today was named to the rules committee of the NFL by Commissioner Elmer Layden. Flaherty will serve with George Halas, Chicago Bears; Steve Owen, New York Giants; Curly Lambeau, Green Bay Packers, and Bert Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers, all holdovers.
GREEN BAY PACKERS WON'T GET FLICK
FEBRUARY 24 (Green Bay) - Gene Flick, University of Minnesota football star, will not play with the Green Bay Packers next fall, it was indicated today. Packer officials learned that Flick, who was their eighth choice in the NFL draft, has signed to coach football at Red Wing, Minn., high school. He played center for the Gophers.
RAY RIDDICK JOINS STAFF AT DARTMOUTH
FEBRUARY 27 (Hanover, NH) - Ray Riddick, formerly with the Green Bay Packers, has joined the Dartmouth college coaching staff, it was announced Thursday by Geormond (Tuss) McLaughery, head football coach of the Big Green. Riddick, who will take over the job of end coach at the start of spring practice, was graduated from Fordham university in 1940 and has been with the Green Bay professional team for the last two seasons.