In Augusthe finally found a home in Canton. I knew he had been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame some 50 years before, and had made a bigger mark in the professional game as the first African-American quarterback and head coach in the NFL. I had considered Pollard association with the NFL to be the historical equivalent of Jackie Robinson in major league baseball. Not one of them was born when Pollard began his professional football career.
While he was trying to showcase black talent in New York in -- in an effort to get the NFL to sign African-American talent -- the greatest back of them all, Jim Brown, was born. By the time Pollard passed away at the age of 92 intwenty-three African-Americans had been inducted in Canton's shrine -- including one O.
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But history has been less kind to Pollard. Surprisingly, he has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and he has become, at best, an afterthought of the selection committee. There are some reasons that Pollard has been overlooked, but there are more overpowering reasons that he shouldn't single frankenthal overlooked.
Frederick Douglass Pollard was an original member of the NFL and in the early s, the game was not nearly as well received as the college game. Much of the history was never recorded.
Did Pollard rush for 1, yards in a season? We will never know, but make no mistake, he was the talk of the football world -- first for being the first black back to be named All-America while at Brown University and then for being the first African-American to play in the Rose Bowl in His first NFL team, the Akron Pros, did not lose in the first 19 games in which Pollard playedoutscoring the opposition, to 7.
Entering the season, not much was expected from the Pros, but Pollard proved to be a serious difference-maker.
In his first season, the breakaway back led the team in rushing, receiving, scoring and punt returns and the team was unbeaten Bruce Copeland of the Rock Island Argus selected an all-pro team and Pollard was a first-team choice.
The next year he was installed as the Pros' head coach and the team won its first seven games all shutoutsbefore injuries to the team's stars, including Pollard himself, caused the team to trail off, ending the season at Pollard led that team in rushing, scoring and punt returns while also serving as the head coach.
The NFL Encyclopedia credits Pollard with coaching the Pros that season, but Pollard himself contended his coaching career was much deeper. What is known about the earliest days of the league is that bench coaching was not allowed. Therefore, players served in that capacity. Because he played in a sophisticated offense at Brown, he was often relied upon for his expertise.
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Pollard's contention was that he was the coach at Akron beginning in and through He also claimed that he coached the Milwaukee Badgers in and the Hammond Pros from to The NFL Encyclopedia lists no coach of those teams.
So gathering statistics is hit-and-miss at best. But the story of Pollard is not found in statistics. If statisfics were the only criteria for becoming single hall of fame Hall of Famer, take the case of Jackie Robinson himself. He was a.
There is a website with a program that compares players throughout history statistically, and Robinson's career numbers are similar to modern players like Mike Greenwell, Jeff Cirillo, Carlos Baerga singlebörse calw Gregg Jefferies -- none russischer mann sucht deutsche frau whom will be inducted in Single hall of fame.
This is not to diminish Robinson's accomplishments. Not only was he a great player, he was a great leader, willing to endure personal sacrifices and face extraordinary scrutiny in the face of racism, pain and adversity. I would contend that Fritz Pollard played a similar role to professional football and that his exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame makes the Canton shrine incomplete.
It could be said that Pollard didn't break down a color barrier in the manner that Robinson did inbut in a New York Times interview, he remembered facing the hatred of the crowds and the indignities of dressing and eating in isolation, away from his teammates. Pollard, who weighed about pounds, was single hall of fame forced to create a strategy to protect himself after plays -- a move that would prevent piling on after plays.
When he was tackled, he'd quickly spin onto his back and stick his cleats and knees into the air above him. The fans booed me and called me all kinds of names.
Those two highly-recognizable, highly-skilled athletes serve as the cornerstones of the NFL to this day. Thorpe, quite deservingly so, was a member of the first class of inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in After paving a path for other young black players, Pollard watched the numbers of African-Americans in the NFL shrink to eventual extinction.
The NFL did not have black players from to After gaining creditably in the s, the NFL was no longer willing to sign 'name' black players. The Great Depression also turned the hiring of blacks, when single hall of fame many whites were without jobs, into what was viewed as a bad public relations move.
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Pollard's Brown Bombers -- as detailed in a December Sports Illustrated story -- won much more often than not, beating well-financed all-star teams along the way. But the NFL continued its quiet ban of black players.
In he became the first black All-American since Paul Robeson in He would repeat the feat inbut he never get the opportunity to play professionally. Some NFL insiders of that era claimed that there was a lack of interest among black players in playing in the NFL at that time. The claim was absurd, but it was this attitude that eventually caused Pollard to give up and move onto other projects.
Former Brown Bomber manager Herschel 'Rip' Day tattoo berlin single line in a letter to the Amsterdam News, "I still say that Fritz Pollard did more to advance the idea of the best-against-the-best-regardless-of-color than any single man in the business.
About as long as the Hall has existed. Those number add up to nothing in Canton, Ohio. He is not a member of the pro football hall of fame.
That is an incredible oversight -- almost as incredible as the chain of events which form Pollard's own personal history. He tried to fight injustice and felt that those in control held that against him and would never want him in the Hall. I would argue to the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters -- the men who have been selected to author the history of the league -- that Fritz Pollard has a rightful place in Canton, Ohio. The Senior Selection Committee was established to investigate significance, weigh merits and correct oversights.
If they fully understand Fritz Pollard's pioneering place in the history of professional football, they will conclude that Pollard is without peer among those who stand outside the Hall. A look at recent inductees suggests that the Hall and its Senior Committee may have passed by Pollard's era.
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Even single hall of fame Senior Committee, in 32 years of existence, has only once nominated a player whose career dated back to the s. My hope is that the Senior Committee would go back to the s -- if only once more -- to take a look at the case of Frederick Douglass Pollard.
For Canton is missing an American hero.