Monday, August 12, 2019

Bobbie Cahn 1943 All-Time NFL Team

By Chris Willis, NFL Films
Bobbie Cahn, NFL Official, photo from 1935

For over two decades the diminutive Bobbie Cahn (who stood about 5-feet tall) was an official (mainly a Referee) in the NFL. He officiated tons of games including the NFL's first post-season game played indoors against the Portsmouth Spartans-Chicago Bears in 1932, as well as the first couple of NFL Championship Games. Cahn was such a character in the early days of the NFL that sometimes he would get his name featured in the ads for games he was working. Here's an example of one that was featured in the Moline Dispatch in 1923 advertising the Rock Island Independents game agains the Milwaukee Badgers in Rock Island.
Ad for game between Rock Island vs Milwaukee, published, Nov. 3, 1923
In 1943 Cahn announced his retirement from the NFL. In turn he selected an All-Time NFL Team and the greatest game he ever worked- the 1934 NFL Championship Game between the Bears and Giants- mostly known as the "Sneakers Game." "That was the most exicting game I ever worked. What a licking the Bears gave the Giants in the first half and how helpless they were in the final half when the Giants came on the field and played in tennis shoes," said Cahn to the United Press after his retirement.

In selecting his All-Time NFL Team, Cahn had some of the normal names of the stars of the 1920's and 1930's. But in naming his No. 1 player he went with a lineman- George Trafton. "Trafton had everything, including a lot of lip for the officials," Cahn commented. "He could diagnose a play quicker than any man who ever played football, and he knew what to do about it."

Here is Cahn's All-Time Team:
Ends- Bill Hewitt, Don Hutson
Tackles- Link Lyman, Ed Healey
Guards- Dan Fortmann, Duke Osborn
Center- George Trafton
Quarterback - Dutch Clark
Halfbacks- Cliff Battles, Clarke Hinkle
Fullback - Bronko Nagurski

Cahn's choices included Osborn over Mike Michalske and selecting fullback Hinkle over all the other halfbacks who played in the first two decades. "Most observers have a hard time deciding whether they should put Nagurski or Hinkle at fullback," said Cahn. "But not me. I always wanted to see Hinkle play halfback. I think he could have been the greatest of all-time. Of course, I only saw Jim Thorpe in his declining years."

In naming his team Cahn also mentions coaches, George Halas, Jimmy Conzelman, and Potsy Clark who gave him some grief while making penalties. "But in all my years in the league I never found a coach who held any malice after a game," said Cahn.

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