January 27: This Date in American Football History

Brown - Fritz PollardFritz Pollard was born on this date in 1894 eventually becoming a star halfback for Brown in 1915-1916. He was just the second African-American player to earn All-American honors in 1916. He was teammates with future Alabama and Duke coaching legend Wallace Wade at Brown.

Pollard wasn’t just a pioneer in college football, however. He was also the first African-American coach in the history of the NFL coaching the Hammond Pros from 1923-1925. In 1954, he became just the second African-American selected to the College Football Hall of Fame after Iowa’s Duke Slater. He was also, finally, elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Pollard was a college head coach for a short time at Lincoln University in addition to his head coaching stint in the NFL. Later in life he was a successful businessman who owned coal companies in Chicago and Harlem. He also dabbled in the entertainment industry operating a movie studio and a booking agency. He passed away on May 11, 1986, at the age of 92.

Peter Pund was born in 1907, and legendary Notre Dame head coach Knute Rockne once noted that “nobody could stop him” after Pund, a center, led his Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a 1928 game against the Fighting Irish. Pund eventually came to be known as “Peter the Great,” leading his Yellow Jackets to an undefeated 9-0 record that year including an 8-7 win over California in the Rose Bowl. That game featured the famous wrong-way run by the Golden Bears’ Roy Riegels, and it also was Pund’s last game as a football player. Pund eventually rose through the ranks to become a top executive in Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s shipping department.

Pund passed away on October 17, 1987, at the age of 80.

Frankie Albert was born on this date in 1920, and grew up to be a star quarterback for the Stanford Cardinal in college before enjoying a seven-year pro career with the San Francisco 49ers.

Albert was the first ‘T’ formation quarterback in history, and he perfected the offense under the direction of legendary head coach Clark Shaughnessy who had previously coached at Tulane, Loyola (LA) and Chicago and would eventually lead the programs at Maryland, Pittsburgh and Hawaii. With Albert as his quarterback at Stanford, he engineered one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history when the Cardinal went from 1-7-1 in 1939 to 10-0 in 1940. That included a 21-13 victory over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl as the Cardinal finished No. 2 in the polls.

The start of Albert’s pro career was delayed by his service in the Navy during World War II. But once he launched his career with the 49ers in 1946, he became an All-Pro quarterback as well. Albert eventually retired after the 1952 season and returned to coach the 49ers from 1956-1958.

Albert passed away on September 5, 1982, at the age of 82.



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