Brown was born in St. Simmons Island, Georgia – his father, Swinton Brown, was a professional boxer. He attended Manhasset Secondary School where he earned 13 varsity letters for playing football, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, and running track. His success on the playing field continued as a student-athlete at Syracuse University where he became an All-American in football and lacrosse. He was the men’s basketball team’s top scorer and finished fifth in the college decathlon.
With the Orange, Brown received the nickname “First Down Brown,” and recorded quite a few first downs against Colgate University in 1956 when he scored six touchdowns and recorded seven extra points.
During that same season, he tallied 21 points against Boston University before posting the same amount against Texas Christian in the Cotton Bowl. TCU won the 1957 Cotton Bowl by a score of 28-27, but Jim Brown was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Jim Brown played nine seasons in the National Football League (NFL) – all nine were spent with the Cleveland Browns – and tallied 12,312 rushing yards, including 1,863 yards in 1963. He also scored 106 touchdowns in 1963.
A one-time NFL champion with the Cleveland Browns in 1964 when they beat the Baltimore Colts, Brown is a nine-time pro bowler, eight-time first-team all-pro, and earned a trio of AP NFL Most Valuable Player awards in 1957, 1958, and 1965. He was tabbed the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 1957, and led the league in rushing eight times (1957-1961 and 1963-1965.
Brown retired from the NFL during the summer of 1966 – his decision stunned the football world as many wondered what he would have accomplished had he played another nine seasons. But something worth noting, he never missed a single game with the Cleveland Browns.
After retiring from football, Brown starred in numerous movies and became the first African American to announce a televised boxing match. He founded the Amer-I-Can Program, a national program that is focused on empowering individuals to “take charge of their lives and achieve their full potential.”
Our Black History Month celebration of the men and women that have and continue to make an impact on the sports – and yes, athletic world, too – continues with getting to know Paul Robeson, who played professional football for three teams, including the Milwaukee Badgers.
In addition to playing football – he also competed at Rutgers University – Robeson was an activist, actor, singer, and lawyer. And as Sports Illustrated described him, Roberson was “a true renaissance man.”
Getting to know Paul Robeson:
Paul Leroy Robeson was born in April 9, 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey. He attended SomervilleHigh School and Rutgers University.
In addition to studying at Rutgers, Robeson also went to Columbia University where he studied law while playing professional football.
Robeson’s father, William, was a minister that escaped slavery in North Carolina as a teenager.
As a high school student, Robeson performed in two plays – Julis Caesar and Othello – and sang in the chorus. He played four sports, including football, and won a statewide academic contest to Rutgers. He was also named his class valedictorian.
At Rutgers, Robeson collected numerous varsity letters in multiple sports while securing first-team All-American honors during his junior and senior seasons. Walter Camp, who played, coached, and wrote about football, considered Robeson the greatest student-athlete to play the end position.
Welcome to our late afternoon edition of the Daily Noontime!
We’re posting a bit later than usual – we apologize for the delay, but will be back tomorrow morning with some news and links to kickstart your day. But for now, enjoy a late-afternoon (and yes, early evening) edition of the Daily Noontime.
Tom Brady speaks to the media: Before he takes the field next Sunday, February 7, 2021, for what will be his tenth Super Bowl appearance, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady answered a slew of questions from the media today, including his relationship with wide receiver Antonio Brown.
As an active member of numerous Gophers athletic department, Marshall earned a pair of All-American awards as an end for the Minnesota football team where he led the Maroon and Gold to a 27-2 record over three seasons (1904-1906). Additionally, he was an all-conference baseball player, as well as a member of the school’s track and field, boxing, and hockey teams.
As noted by most historians, one of Marshall’s most impressive games with the Gophers’ football team occurred in 1906 when he kicked a field goal, which at the time was worth fourth points, that helped Minnesota edge the University of Chicago, 4-2.
Following his graduation, Marshall and Fritz Pollard became the first two African Americans to play in what is now the National Football League (NFL). Marshall competed in the league’s (American Professional Football Association) first game on September 26, 1920 as a member of the Rock Island Independents.
The Independents concluded the APFA’s initial season with a 6-2-2 record while Bobby Marshall was named a Third Team All-Pro.
While Bobby Marshall is remembered for being one of the first African American’s to play football, he was also the first Black athlete to play semi-professional hockey. He would also become the first African American to coach at his high school and as a football assistant with the Minnesota football team.
Outside of coaching and playing football, Marshall competed in the Negro League with the St. Paul Colored Gophers and Chicago Leland Giants. He also played semi-professional baseball, too.
Bobby Marshall practiced law when not playing sports, however, it appears as if he did not spend much time away from football or baseball – in fact, he played football until he was 56-years-old. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
The first day of February marks the beginning of Black History Month, which Noontime Sports is looking forward to celebrating by producing one post every Monday through Friday on the men and women that have made their mark in athletics, both recently and in the past.
And in honor of Super Bowl week, we’ll keep the focus on football for the next few days, beginning with one of the first African Americans that competed in the National Football League (NFL): Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard
Getting to know Fritz Pollard:
Fritz, who played quarterback, halfback, and running back, was born on January 27, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was Native American and his father was a professional boxer during the Civil War.
As a student at Brown, Pollard majored in chemistry and the led the football team to the 1916 Rose Bowl against Washington State. Brown lost to Washington State by a score of 14-0.
Fritz Pollard was the first African American running back to compete for the Brown football program – he was also the first black tailback to be named to the Walter Camp All-America team in 1916.
Professional football teams Fritz Pollard played for several teams, including the Akron Pros and Akron Indians, and coached four teams, including the Chicago Black Hawks in 1928. He was named a First-Team All-Pro in 1920 and concluded his career with 11 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
In 1930, Fritz Pollard founded his own professional team: the Brown Bombers. The team existed for eight seasons before folding in 1938 due to The Depression.
In 2005, Fritz Pollard was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ten years later – 2015, to be exact – he was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.