My first selection in the NDN All-Star Draft is… Jim Thorpe. NFL Hall of Famer, 2 time Olympic Gold Medalist and Major League baseball player… and just about any other athletic activity known to man… Thorpe was just THE BEST!
In this blog post let’s talk about football. Jim was a BRILLIANT football player! He was the best runner, the best receiver, the hardest tackler and he even kicked field goals using the old “drop kick” method! (He frequently toured in later years giving clinics on his drop kicking technique – routinely making field goals from 50+ yards…)
Thorpe dominated the game – and almost single handedly built professional football from a loose, rag tag organiztion with very low attendance to a spectacle almost on par with the king of sports at the time – baseball. People would come from miles around and pay to see “Ol’ Jim run!” As a matter of fact, there is a good story about the legendary football coach Knute Rockne, during his playing days, and his encounter with Big Jim. Rockne bragged how he would stop that big Indian! And on the first couple of plays, he tackled Thorpe for losses. Each time, Jim got up and said something to the effect of “Nice tackle. But – you better let Ol’ Jim run. That’s what people paid to see.” Rockne laughed! So, on the third play, “Ol’ Jim” took the ball, planted his foot and turned up field. He blasted right over Rockne on his way to a long touchdown. On his way back to his side of the field, Thorpe walked by a crumpled and groggy Rockne who was being helped up by his teammates and said “Good job, Rock. You really let Ol’ Jim run!” CLASSIC!
He was so respected in the football world that when the predecessor of the National Football League was formed in 1920, Thorpe was unanimously elected as the first President of the league, as well as being the main superstar and ticket draw!
Jim Thorpe meant so much to pro football, he was elected to the first class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame – there is a cool life sized statue of him right in the middle of it – and was voted to the 50th Anniversary All-Time team!
I could go on and on about NDN All-Star #1 Jim Thorpe (Sac & Fox), but I need to keep a few stories on hand for his two other roster spots, #16 for his baseball career track and #21 for his field exploits.
Jim Thorpe – everyone’s #1 Draft Pick!
Click here for a short video from the NFL about the great Jim Thorpe!
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