One Player’s Brush with Redskins’ Owner’s Racism

One Player’s Brush with Redskins’ Owner’s Racism

With the Washington Redskins name controversy commanding the spotlight, and the recent events involving Donald Sterling, I keep thinking about an incident George Taliaferro shared with me in The Game before the Money. Taliaferro played seven positions throughout his NFL career, earning Pro Bowl honors three times. He became the first African American drafted by an NFL team when the Chicago Bears drafted him in 1949. Although the book focuses on NFL players’ passion for the game before free agency and multi-million dollar contracts, Taliaferro also recalled a game in 1953, when his Colts battled Washington: “I stood in the end zone at the stadium in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1953, when I was a member of the Baltimore Colts. George Pres­ton Marshall, the owner of the Washington Redskins, was standing maybe ten feet behind me. I was the last Colt to be introduced on the offense. George Preston Marshall shouted, ‘Niggers should never be allowed to do anything but push wheelbarrows!’” It’s […]

Chuck Noll, Rocky Bleier and Retirement

In my opinion, Chuck Noll is one of the five greatest coaches in pro football history. My other four are Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Paul Brown, and Tom Landry. Everybody else is second tier in comparison, although I might accept arguments on behalf of Sid Gillman. Noll likely learned exceptional amounts from both Brown, whom he played under, and Gillman, whom he coached with. Interestingly, Don Shula and Noll were teammates under Paul Brown. Noll later worked under Shula as an assistant in Baltimore, absorbing that painful Super Bowl 3 loss. Perhaps that loss still burned in Noll’s stomach while coaching the Steelers, and helped ensure his focus for their Super Bowls. Like I heard NBA champion Kurt Rambis say once, “You’ve gotta hate losing more than you love to win.” In honor of Coach Noll, I’ve decided to post a story from The Game before the Money that Rocky Bleier shared. Rocky started considering retirement after Super Bowl 14. He decided to […]

An Appreciation: Johnny Lujack

Johnny Lujack painting by Robert Hurst: www.ADamnFineArtist.com   SEVENTY YEARS AHEAD OF HIS TIME? When people think of Johnny Lujack, they often think of Notre Dame, the Heisman Trophy, or his shoe-string tackle of Doc Blanchard in the original “Game of the Century” (watch below). The Irish lost only one game in the three years he started at quarterback, and Lujack led them to 3 national championships. Few football fans recognize his exceptional — albeit very short – pro career. World War II interrupted Lujack’s college career after the 1943 season, causing him to miss the ’44 and ’45 seasons. George Halas’ Chicago Bears drafted Lujack in the first round of the 1946 NFL Draft, but Lujack elected to play out his eligibility at Notre Dame. “In those days you could be drafted on what the normal four years would have been,” Lujack told The Game before the Money. “I entered Notre Dame in ‘42, so my graduation year would have been […]

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