The NFL’s 60-Minute Men

All-Time Greats of the Two-Way Player Era, 1920–1945


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About the Book

In 2019 the NFL celebrated its 100th season. During that historic year the league selected an All-Time Team of 100 former star players. Among them were seven from before football’s free substitution rule (1920–1945), two-way players who were skilled at both offense and defense. They were: Sammy Baugh (Quarterback), Dutch Clark (Running Back), Dan Fortmann (Guard), Mel Hein (Center), Cal Hubbard (Tackle), Don Hutson (Wide Receiver) and Bill Hewitt (Defensive End).
There were more than just seven great players from those years, when men in leather helmets played multiple positions on dirt fields for modest salaries. This book ranks the NFL’s top two-way players, with detailed biographies and analysis by their contemporaries.

About the Author(s)

Chris Willis has been the head archivist at NFL Films since 1996. He is the author of multiple books on professional football and was awarded the Professional Football Researchers Association’s Ralph Award for lifetime achievement in pro football research and historiography in 2012. In 2016 he won an Emmy for his work on HBO’s Hard Knocks. He lives in Audubon, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Chris Willis
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 312
Bibliographic Info: 51 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9132-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5064-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface    1

Introduction    17

No. 1. Dutch Clark 34

No. 2. Don Hutson 44

No. 3. Sammy Baugh 52

No. 4. Mel Hein 60

No. 5. Guy Chamberlin 68

No. 6. Bronko Nagurski 73

No. 7. Verne Lewellen 79

No. 8. Sid Luckman 85

No. 9. Cal Hubbard 92

No. 10. Paddy Driscoll 98

No. 11. Pete “Fats” Henry 103

No. 12. Dan Fortmann 110

No. 13. Clarke Hinkle 115

No. 14. Roy “Link” Lyman 120

No. 15. Bill Hewitt 125

No. 16. Mike Michalske 131

No. 17. Benny Friedman 135

No. 18. Ernie Nevers 139

No. 19. Cliff Battles 147

No. 20. Ken Strong 152

No. 21. Johnny “Blood” McNally 158

No. 22. Red Grange 163

No. 23. Fritz Pollard 168

No. 24. Albert “Turk” Edwards 175

No. 25. Ox Emerson 179

No. 26. Arnie Herber 184

No. 27. George Trafton 188

No. 28. Ray Flaherty 192

No. 29. Clyde “Bulldog” Turner 198

No. 30. Tuffy Leemans 204

No. 31. Duke Slater 208

No. 32. Ward Cuff 213

No. 33. George Musso 218

No. 34. Joe Stydahar 223

No. 35. George Christensen 226

No. 36. LaVern “Lavvie” Dilweg 230

No. 37. Joe Kopcha 233

No. 38. Cecil Isbell 238

No. 39. Jack McBride 243

No. 40. Red Dunn 247

No. 41. Ed Danowski 251

No. 42. Ace Parker 256

No. 43. Charley Brock 261

No. 44. Glenn Presnell 266

No. 45. Roy “Father” Lumpkin 272

The Best of the Rest    278

Final Analysis    281

Appendix I: The Author’s ­All-Time ­Two-Way Teams    283

Appendix II: Historical Sources of NFL ­All-Pro and ­All-Time Teams, 1920–1945    285

Chapter Notes    291

Bibliography    301

Index    303

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Willis does an excellent job putting together his list of the best players in The NFL’s 60-Minute Men. It is thoroughly researched and he lays out his case for each player. This is a good book for those interested in learning more about the players from the first few decades of the NFL.”—Ken Crippen, founder, lead instructor, and podcaster at the Football Learning Academy

• “[Willis is] a pro football encyclopedia … To describe [this work] as comprehensive would be an understatement. … impeccable research … Best of all, the book is entertaining, with most of the chapters having photos to accompany the text. It’s an educational experience where you’re guided through an era too often forgotten, but it doesn’t read like a textbook. … recommended … if you care about NFL history, you should read [Willis’s] latest work”—Talk of Fame TWO