February 13, 2016

Highlighted Year: Jimmy Conzelman, 1922

Back, Rock Island Independents/Milwaukee Badgers

Age: 24
3rd season in pro football, 2nd with Independents
College: Washington (MO)
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 175

Conzelman spent two years in the Navy during World War I and was a member of the Great Lakes Navy team that won the 1919 Rose Bowl. He returned to Washington Univ. in St. Louis, where he had started out prior to the war, for the 1919 season and joined his Great Lakes teammate George Halas with his newly-organized Decatur Staleys team in the fledgling NFL (then the APFA) for 1920. A natural leader, Conzelman became player-coach of the Rock Island Independents during the 1921 season and, while he stayed on in ’22, he joined the Milwaukee Badgers after Rock Island had played out its schedule, also serving as player/coach.

1922 Season Summary
Appeared in 7 games with Rock Island, 3 with Milwaukee
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

TDs – 3 [1]

Rushing TDs – 7 [1]
Receiving TDs – 0
Other TDs – 0
Total TDs – 7 [1, tied with Guy Chamberlin]
Field Goals – 2 [6, tied with four others]
Extra Points – 0
Points – 48 [2]

Independents went 4-2-1 to finish fifth in the NFL while leading the league in rushing TDs (19, tied with Canton) and ranking second in total TDs (22) and scoring (154 points).

Badgers went 2-4-3 to finish eleventh in the NFL.

Conzelman spent another season with the Badgers in 1923, who finished in fourth place. He received first-team All-NFL honors from the Canton Daily News and was a second-team choice of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Conzelman was a player only in ’24 and became owner of his own franchise, the Detroit Panthers, in 1925. Conzelman sold the Panthers and became player/coach of the Providence Steam Roller in ’27, leading them to the NFL Championship in 1928. A knee injury curtailed his playing time and his playing career ended in 1929. As a player, he appeared in 104 games, scored 26 touchdowns, and kicked three field goals and four PATs for a total of 169 points. Conzelman coached at the minor league and college level until returning to the NFL as head coach of the Chicago Cardinals in 1940. He left after three seasons to work for major league baseball’s St. Louis Browns, but returned to the Cards and led them to two Western Division titles and the 1947 NFL Championship. His NFL coaching record was 87-63-17 and his teams won two league titles. Conzelman was a multi-talented individual who at various times was an actor, author, songwriter, sportswriter, playwright, orator, and baseball player and executive. For his pro football exploits, most notably his coaching, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1964.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970