A fascinating look at a long-forgotten time in pro football – when it was hanging by its nails just as World War II got under way, and a move that saved two storied franchises.
All able-bodied men were shipping overseas and the ones left behind were too old, too young or too infirm to carry on a tough sport like football. Although baseball got the go-ahead to keep playing, football had a decision to make. Keep playing, or shut down for the duration.
The Cleveland Rams decided to take 1942 off, but that left the league with an odd-numbered (and difficult to schedule) nine teams. The league asked two of the weakest, the Pennsylvania pair Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, to merge for the year. Had they not, the Eagles and Steelers might not have survived.
But they did merge, and the Phil-Pitt “Steagles” were born. They were largely the Eagles with a few Steelers thrown in, but were co-coached by the odd-couple tandem of Philadelphia’s Greasy Neale and Pittsburgh’s Walt Kiesling.
This book is filled with colorful anecdotes about the players, the cities and the realities of 4F football. And with the Steagles’ surprise run for the playoffs.
It’s an episode that impacted football forever.