ImageWidth = 215
DateOfBirth = birth date|1905|3|18|mf=y
Cleveland, OH, United States
DateOfDeath = death date and age|1982|11|24|1905|3|18
New York, NY, United States
Quarterback Head Coach
College = Michigan
DatabaseFootball = FRIEDBEN01
player = yes
years = 1927
New York Giants Brooklyn Dodgers (NFL)
DatabaseFootballCoach = FRIEDBEN01
coach = yes
New York Giants Brooklyn Dodgers (NFL)
coachingyears = 1930
CollegeHOF = 20078
HOF = 241
HOFYear = 2005
Benjamin "Benny" Friedman (
March 18, 1905– November 24, 1982) was an American football quarterbackwho played for the University of Michigan(1924-1926), Cleveland Bulldogs(1927), Detroit Wolverines (1928), New York Giants(1929-1931), and Brooklyn Dodgers (1932-1934). He is generally considered the first great passer in pro football. In 2005, Friedman was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Friedman became the starting QB and
placekickermidway through his sophomore year at Michigan. (On defense, he played in the backfield.) In 1925 and 1926, he led the Wolverines to 7-1 seasons and first place finishes in the Big Ten. Against Indiana in 1925, Friedman accounted for 44 points, throwing for five touchdowns and kicking two field goals and eight extra points. The following year, he was a consensus first-team All-American and most valuable playerof the Big Ten.
In 1927, Friedman joined his hometown Cleveland Bulldogs in the
National Football League. Pro football was a decidedly minor sport in those days, but Friedman would go on to contribute substantially to its growth. After a successful rookie season in Cleveland, he had a spectacular second year playing for the Detroit Wolverines. In 1928, Friedman led the NFL in passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and scoring as well as extra points. (He may have led in other categories, too, but the NFL did not record yardage stats in those days.) No player since has dominated in so many aspects of the game.
Friedman's performance so impressed
New York Giantsowner Tim Marathat Mara bought the whole Wolverines team just so he could have the rights to the quarterback. With the Giants in 1929, Friedman led the league again with 20 touchdown passes. Friedman's passing proficiency was especially noteworthy considering that most teams rarely threw the ball in those days. The football used at the time was rounder and more difficult to throw, and any incomplete pass in the end zone resulted in a turnover. No NFL "team" would surpass 20 passing touchdowns in a season until 1942.
In 1931, Friedman suffered a knee injury that hampered the rest of his career. He moved to the Brooklyn football Dodgers in 1932 as a player-coach while simultaneously serving as an assistant coach at Yale. He led the league in completion percentage in 1933 and retired after the 1934 season.
After leaving the Dodgers, Friedman coached
City College of New Yorkuntil 1941. He served in the Navy during World War II. He then moved to Brandeis Universityin Massachusetts, where he served as athletic director from 1949 to 1961 and head football coach from 1951 to 1959, when the football team was disbanded due to high costs.
Suffering from severe
diabetes, Friedman committed suicidein 1982.
Despite his impressive numbers, Friedman was not chosen for the Pro Football Hall of Fame until 2005. Some people attributed this to Friedman's relentless self-promotion and campaigning for induction, which was considered bad form. Friedman is also a member of the
College Football Hall of Fame, and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
History of the New York Giants (1925-1978)
Michigan Wolverines Football All-Americans
University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor
*"Pro Football Hall of Fame:" [http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=241 Member profile]
*"College Football Hall of Fame:" [http://www.collegefootball.org/famersearch.php?id=20078 Member profile]
* [http://www.profootballhof.com/history/release.jsp?release_id=1546 Article from the Pro Football Hall of Fame]
* [http://www.jewsinsports.org/profile.asp?sport=football&ID=5 Jews in Sports: Benny Friedman]
* [http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0805/benny_friedman.php3?printer_friendly "'Jewish Johnny Unitas' finally inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame"] by Ed Sherman, Jewish World Review, Aug. 10, 2005.
* [http://www.j-grit.com/athletes-benny-friedman.html Benny Friedman Biography at J-Grit]
Carroll, Bob, et al. (1999). "Total Football II". New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-270174-6.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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