Benny Friedman and the Early NFL

9780786726950_p0_v1_s260x420The Passing Game: Benny Friedman and the Transformation of Football by Murray Greenberg
PublicAffairs (2008)
ISBN-10: 158648477X
368 pages

Benny Friedman should have been inducted into the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame. He had much greater claim to that than a Red Grange whose name recognition and exploits in college got him in far more than his pro career.

This biography does a fantastic job of telling the life of Benny Friedman, a Jewish kid who had to buck the odds and discrimination to become the first Jewish captain of the Michigan Wolverines football team.

What struck me most about this biography is what a passing phenomenon he was in the late 1920’s and 1930’s when the football was a big fat mostly roundish lump that wasn’t really throw able. And an incomplete pass was a penalty! Yet, he used the pass effectively and if you take the era into account, and the state of the ball and the rules, an all-time great at quarterback. And oh, he could run the ball very, very effectively too. Of course in that era the quarterback had to be a runner too.

That it took until 2005 for him to make the Hall of Fame which is a travesty of justice. Just as the 1925 NFL Champions were really the Pottsville Maroons not the Chicago Cardinals. NFL never did get that one right, but at least they eventually got Benny Friedman into the Hall of Fame.
Passing Game: Benny Friedman and the Transformation of Football

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s