BEFORE RAY LEWIS, TONY DUNGY, OR WALTER PAYTON: FRITZ POLLARD

50 shades-fritz pollard-nfl

50 shades-fritz pollard-nfl

After last night's Superbowl win with Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens, we take a moment today to highlight an NFL pioneer who paved the way for not only every other black professional football player to follow, but also for the (significantly fewer in number) National Football League head coaches.

Fritz Pollard, an All-America halfback from Brown University was a pro football pioneer in more ways than one. The 5-9, 165-pound back, who led Brown to the Rose Bowl in 1915, turned pro in 1919, when he joined the Akron (OH) Pros following army service during World War I.  In 1920, the Pros joined the newly founded American Professional Football Association, later renamed the National Football League.  That season, with Pollard leading the charge, the Pros went undefeated (8-0-3) to win the league's first crown.

As a member of the new league, Pollard immediately earned a place in pro football history as one of just two African Americans in the new league.  In 1921 he earned another distinction becoming the first African American head coach in NFL history when the Pros named him co-coach of the team. -taken from the Official Site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

50 SHADES OF BLACK salutes Fritz Pollard.