Football Legends Revealed #3

This is the third in a series of examinations of football-related legends and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of all the previous football legends.

A special theme week this time around – all legends related to college football!

Let’s begin!

FOOTBALL LEGEND: A player played professional football under an assumed name so that he could play college football, as well!

STATUS: True

John McNally was going into his last year of eligibility at St. John University in 1925 when he hit upon an idea.

Years later, he said it was based on walking past a movie marque with the movie titled “Blood and the Sand,” but who knows if that’s actually true (not me). Whatever his motive, McNally’s plan was to come up with a fake name so that he could play professional football and still play college ball!

John took the name Johnny Blood, and he played the 1925-26 season for the Milwaukee Badgers.

After graduating from college, he played one year for the Duluth Eskimos.

His longest, and most notable stint came with the Green Bay Packers, who he played for for about nine years in total, winning four championships in the process.

He was a fast runner and a great pass receiver.

He was also quite a character, and a lot of his exploits were later worked into the George Clooney film, Leatherheads…

McNally was elected to the Football Hall of Fame in 1963 – as John McNally, not Johnny Blood.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

10 Responses to “Football Legends Revealed #3”

  1. red sanders coached at ucla, not usc. he’s clearly wearing a ucla shirt in that picture too.

  2. Brian Cronin on May 26th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks, melee – silly typo there on my part. I fixed it!

  3. Regarding the quote attributed to Lombardi…

    The phrase, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” was also spoken by child actress Sherry Jackson, playing John Wayne’s daughter, Carol Williams, in the 1953 movie, “Trouble Along the Way”. She quoted the phrase to Donna Reed’s character as being spoken by her father, Steve Williams (Wayne’s character). Watch the movie and you’ll find the quote @half-way through.

    Also, since the movie has John Wayne playing the head football coach at a Catholic college, you can bet Lombardi saw it.

  4. Thanks for the info, Gene! Good call.

  5. Brian Cronin on May 16th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    That is truly fascinating, David. That would make a great legend of its own, thanks!

  6. Another excellent piece of history, David. Thanks! I’ve been working on the Robeson one for awhile, by the way. I should have something on it fairly soon!

  7. Your welcome, Something else you might be interested in is the possibility that the Oorang Indians, who entered the league in 1922?, began the halftime show. I read that owner Jim Thorpe had a friend who had a large stock of Airedale dogs he wanted to get rid of. So Thorpe began showing them off at Halftime. The dogs were sold out half way thru the season and attendance began dropping so he began showing Indian cultural dances at halftime and attendance picked up. Other teams began doing similar things at the half and the halftime show was born.

  8. Also I look forward to the Robeson thing, personally I am curious if it is true about his wife.

  9. Sorry it took so long to get back to you but I don’t think the story of Robeson’s wife is true or at least I have not found anything to back me on it. In the last year and a half I did find out more info about the Oorang Indians. They were named after a Kennel in Larue Ohio which was smaller than Green baby (population less than 1200 today). They were a traveling team with no real home field. Their main purpose was to sell the dogs from the Kennel at halftime. They were made up of Native Americans as the only way you could try out for the team was if you were full blooded Indian. The only home game they played was at nearby Marion High school field. They took the dogs with them but the team doctor was also the dogs veterinarian as they treated the dogs as well as the players.

  10. Yeah, David, the more I looked into it, the less I could find to verify it either.

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