By Chris Willis, NFL Films
|Ernie Nevers, fullback, Chicago Cardinals|
(Color image courtesy PFJ)
On this day (June 11th) Ernie Nevers was born in Willow River, Minnesota. The six-foot, 205 pounds fullback played just five seasons in the NFL for two different teams- the Duluth Eskimos (1926-1927) and the Chicago Cardinals (1929-1931). But during those five seasons he was one of the best players in the NFL, being selected 1st Team All-Pro all five years. Playing in just 54 games Nevers finished in the top 5 of scoring in the NFL three times; 2nd in 1926; 1st in 1929 and 2nd in 1931.
In 1929 Nevers had a game for the ages for the Chicago Cardinals by scoring an NFL Record, 40 points, in a game on Thanksgiving Day against the cross-town Chicago Bears. He scored 6 touchdowns and kicked 4 extra points. The record still stands.
Nevers was selected to the NFL 1920's All-Decade Team and was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
Over the years only two books have been written exclusively about Nevers.
Ernie Nevers: A Football Hero was 175 pages in length, had 13 chapters and featured 9 photos. It was your standard biography covering from childhood to his post-football career. It contained quotes from Nevers, as well as his comtempories such as Jimmy Conzleman:
"Ernie shoots bullet-like passes on a flat trajectory that leads a receiver just right. He also analyzes enemy plays so well and makes more tackles than any other man on the field."
Nevers talks about the current game (1968) and perferring to play both ways:
"I wouldn't care for it. All the clubs have two teams- one for offense, the other for defense. In my days, eleven men were about enough. No, I wouldn't like it. I couldn't stand to spend half the time on the bench."
Both books are worth the read, but more could be told of this great early NFL pioneer. Happy Birthday, Ernie Nevers!