December 9, 2016

Highlighted Year: Beattie Feathers, 1934

Halfback/Defensive Back, Chicago Bears

Age: 25
1st season in pro football
College: Tennessee
Height: 5’10” Weight: 185

In college, Feathers starred as a halfback and punter, rushing for 1888 yards and scoring 32 touchdowns, and was a consensus first-team All-American selection in 1933. Both fast and elusive, he signed with the Bears in 1934 and had a sensational rookie season, benefiting from an outstanding supporting cast that notably included FB Bronko Nagurski, whose blocking often helped to spring Feathers on long gains.

1934 Season Summary
Appeared in 11 of 13 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 119 [9]
Yards – 1004 [1]
Yards per attempt – 8.4 [1]
TDs – 8 [1, tied with Dutch Clark]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 6
Yards – 174 [6]
Yards per catch – 29.0
TDs – 1 [14, tied with many others]

Attempts – 12
Completions – 4
Yards – 41
TD passes – 2 [6, tied with nine others]
Interceptions – 2

All-Purpose yards – 1178 [1]

TDs – 9 [1]    
PATs – 1
Points – 55 [5]

Missed postseason game due to injury

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: League, UPI, Chicago Daily News, Collyers Eye, Green Bay Press-Gazette

Bears went 13-0 to finish first in the NFL Western Division while leading the league in total yards (3802), rushing yards (2847), touchdowns (37), and scoring (286 points). Lost NFL Championship to New York Giants (30-13).

Feathers, who suffered a shoulder injury that affected the remainder of his career, never came close to duplicating the success of his rookie year. In his three remaining seasons with the Bears, he gained a total of 842 rushing yards. His best single season during that period came in 1936, when he totaled 350 yards on 97 carries (3.6 avg.) and scored two touchdowns. Feathers spent two years with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938 and ’39, running for 115 yards in a part-time role, and ended his career with Green Bay in 1940. Overall, Feathers rushed for 1980 yards on 378 attempts (5.2 avg.) and caught 15 passes for 243 yards, scoring a total of 17 touchdowns. He holds the distinction of being the NFL’s first thousand-yard rusher and his 1934 yardage total remained the league record until 1947. Feathers went on to become a college football head coach at Appalachian State and North Carolina State and was also a baseball coach at the collegiate level.


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