Early NFL Players Tackle Off-Season Jobs

Before the television era of professional football, which certainly changed the financial outlook of the National Football League, most players still needed to work at some other profession, often both during and after the football season. In 1941, the Chicago Tribune reported that “Twenty-seven percent of the young men under contract to teams in the National Football … Read more

The Story of Ernie Nevers’ First Pro Football Game

Fans of football history usually find the name of Ernie Nevers to be a familiar one. Maybe not a household word in 2021, but certainly one that ripples with respect with the knowledge that Nevers was one of the all-time greats in the National Football League. And yet, his entrance into the world of pro football … Read more

From Okinawa to Wrigley Field: WWII Vets Outflank Halas!

As we celebrate our first anniversary of “When Football Was Football” on the Sports History Network, we can look back at a wide variety of episodes from the golden days of football in the Chicago area. While we’ve covered topics such as the first-ever indoor football games held in Chicago, the individual heroics of players … Read more

Three Unique Chicago Bears: John “Bull” Doehring, Lloyd “Shorty” Burdick, and George Trafton

a trio of players from the Chicago Bears that you may have never heard about. After all, they played nearly a century ago and except for one, never received much public–or lasting-acclaim. Throughout the years, the National Football League has seen its share of rogues, complainers, whiners, and personality problems among its players…but we’ll just … Read more