- Harry Newman
September 5, 1909
DateOfDeath=death date and age|2000|5|2|1909|9|5
Las Vegas, Nevada
Awards=Douglas Fairbanks Trophy, 1932
Helms Athletic Foundation Player of the Year Award, 1932
NFL All-Pro Quarterback, 1933
New York Giants
Harry L. Newman (
September 5, 1909— May 2, 2000) was an American football quarterbackwho played for the University of MichiganWolverines (1930-1932), the New York Giants(1933-1935), and the Brooklyn/Rochester Tigers (1936-1937).
University of Michigan
In Newman's three years at Michigan, the Wolverines lost only one game, won three
Big Ten Conferencechampionship, and had a combined record of 24-1-2. As a senior in 1932, Newman led the team to an undefeated season and national championship, as he played 437 out of 480 minutes of game time in Michigan's eight games. In 1932, Newman was a unanimous first-team All-American, and the recipient of the Douglas FairbanksTrophy as Outstanding College Player of the Year (predecessor of the Heisman Trophy), and the Helms Athletic FoundationPlayer of the Year Award, the Chicago Tribune Silver Footballtrophy as the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten Conference.
NFL New York Giants
As a rookie with the
New York Giantsin 1933, Newman was an All-Proand led the NFLin passes completed (53), passing yards (973), touchdown passes (11), and longest pass completion (78 yards).cite web|title=Harry Newman|url=http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/N/NewmHa21.htm|publisher=Pro-Football-Reference.com] Newman's 973 passing yards stood as the NFLsingle-season record until 1937 when Arnie Herberthrew for 1,239 yards. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=Herber Shatters Two Pro League Passing Records|publisher=The Oshkosh Northwestern|date=1936-12-09] He also led the Giants, and was sixth in the NFL, with 437 yards rushing in 1933.cite web|title=1933 New York Giants|url=http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyg/1933.htm|publisher=Pro-Football-Reference.com] With 1,547 yards of total offense(973 passing, 437 rushing and 137 receiving), Newman personally accounted for more than half of the Giants' total offense in 1933. He was named to the All-Pro team, and led the Giants to the 1933 NFL championship game.
In the 1933 NFL Championship Game against the
Chicago Bears, Newman threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Red Badgroto give the Giants a 7-6 halftime lead. Newman's touchdown throw to Badgro was the first touchdown pass thrown in an NFL championship game. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=Former All-American Dies|publisher=Titusville Herald|date=2003-05-04] [cite news|author=Goldstein, Richard|title=Harry Newman, 90, Who Led Giants to Title Game as Rookie|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E02E3DA1E39F937A35756C0A9669C8B63|date=2000-05-04] After the Bears went ahead 16-14 in the third quarter, Newman threw a second touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to give the Giants the lead, but the Bears scored the winning touchdown with less than one minute left to win the championship game, 23-21.
In 1934, Newman was the Giant's leading rusher and passer, and was an
All-Profor the second consecutive season.cite web|title=1934 New York Giants|url=http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyg/1934.htm|publisher=Pro-Football-Reference.com] The Giants went on to win their first NFL championship in 1934, but Newman's season was cut short after he broke two bones in his back during the tenth game of the season against the Chicago Bears. Newman complained after the 1934 season that the new football adopted by the NFL in 1934 was "harder to pass" than the old one which had greater girth. [cite news|author=Dodge, Cecil|title=Sport Shots|publisher=Lowell Sun|date=1935-01-09]
In early September 1935, there were reports that Newman might not return to the Giants' backfield, because he did not want to leave his Detroit liquor business. [cite news|author=McLemore, Henry|title=Today's Sports Parade|publisher=The Daily News, Huntingdon, Pa.|date=1935-09-03] Newman announced he was quitting professional football and did not play the first few weeks of the season. Then, on October 15, 1935, Newman announced that he had changed his mind and signed a contract to play with the Giants beginning the following Saturday. [cite news|author=UP wire service report|title=Harry Newman Back In Pro Football With Giants|publisher=Syracuse Herald|date=1934-10-15] After his return, Newman wrote: "Football still is fun. If it weren't it wouldn't be worth while, regardless of how much they paid you for it. Believe me, I've missed it the few weeks I was out and I was mighty glad to get back into action."cite news|author=Newman, Harry|title=Newman Knows Differences of Amateurs, pros|publisher=Santa Rosa News (New York Post - WNU Service)|date=1935-11-01] Newman played in eight games (four as a starter) for a Giants team that once again advanced to the NFL Championship Game, losing to the
Detroit Lions, 26-7.cite web|title=1935 New York Giants|url=http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyg/1935.htm|publisher=Pro-Football-Reference.com] With the clock ticking off the final seconds of the championship game, Newman threw an interception that was run back 36 yards and resulted in a final score by the Lions. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=The Detroit Lions Rule As King of the Pros: Grind Giants Into Mud of Stadium in Sunday Argument|publisher=The Oshkosh Northwestern|date=1935-12-16]
In November 1935, Newman wrote a guest column for the
New York Poston the difference between the college and professional game. Newman wrote: "Among the Giants we kid a lot about how we feel Monday morning. Sometimes it's not too good. That's when the aches and pains begin to creep up on you. Boys, how you hate to get out of bed! The only difference between pro and amateur in that respect is that you ache all over a day later in pro football."
After the 1935 season, Newman credited his disappointing performance in 1935 to skating: "Skating is the best thing I know of to develop hip-swinging, judgment of distance, suppleness, dexterity, pivot and angle terms. I was off form in 1935 and the main reason was because I did no skating last winter. I did a lot in 1932-33 and followed it up with a great season on the gridiron." [cite news|author=Paprocki, Tom|title=College and Pro Football Fans Revive Old Argument: Pro Teams Are Said Better Than College Clubs|publisher=The Spring, Texas Daily Herald|date=1936-01-09]
In 1936, Giants's president John V. Mara said that the club had paid Newman $10,000 in 1935. Mara said that the owners had found out that it did not work out to pay one star $800 a game while the rest of the team was paid $100 per game, and the resentment sometimes showed. The owners reacted by trying to more evenly distributed money over the squad, such that Mara believed that the highest paid player in 1936 was paid only $500 per game. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=Pro Football Salaries Down; Linemen Get $100, Backs $150|publisher=La Crosse Tribune And Leader-Press|date=1936-10-16]
American Professional Football League
Brooklyn Tigers (1936)
In 1936, Newman jumped to the new American Football League and signed with the Brooklyn Tigers. Newman reportedly made the move "because he got a contract calling for a big increase in salary." [cite news|title=Pitt Amerks Open At Home Tomorrow|publisher=Indiana Evening Gazette|date=1936-10-17] Newman was one of the first established stars to switch to the new league, and sports writer Harry Grayson reported on Newman's move: "Harry Newman, the former Michigan quarterback who has been the highest paid pro athlete of the last three campaigns, has left the Giants flat to perform with and be the business manager of the American League entry which plans to stage its games at the Yankee Stadium." [cite news|author=Grayson, Harry|title=By Harry Grayson|publisher=The Daily News, Huntington, Pa.|date=1936-04-11]
Even before the new league got started, it was reported to be tottering on the brink and a "big flop." As one report noted: "That in spite of the fact such outstanding players as
Ken Strong,Harry Newman and Gomer Jonesare slated to compete for the new clubs." [cite news|title=New Pro Grid Loop Tottering on Brink|publisher=Middletown Times Herald (N.Y.)|date=1936-09-18]
On October 19, 1936, Newman scored the Tigers' only touchdown in a loss to Pittsburgh at
Forbes Field. [cite news|title=Americans Beat Brooklyn Tigers|publisher=The Daily News, Huntingdon, Pa.|date=1936-10-17]
On November 1, 1936, Newman made a "sensational 45-yard run" that "brought the crowd to its feet" just before the first quarter ended. Newman also kicked a field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead over the New York Yankees, but the Yankees tied it with a field goal. [cite news|author-AP wire service report|title=Strong, Newman Kick Field Goals for the Tie|publisher=San Antonio Express|date=1936-11-02] Later in the game, Newman ran 75 yards for what appeared to be the winning touchdown, but the play was called back on a clipping penalty. In response to the penalty call, the crowd at Yankee Stadium "booed lustily." [cite news|author-AP wire service report|title=Field Goal Kicks Cause 3-3 Score|publisher=Beckley Post-Herald (W.V.)|date=1936-11-02]
On November 8, 1936, Newman lateraled for both of Brooklyn's touchdowns and kicked both extra points in a 15-14 loss to the Cleveland Rams. [cite news|title=Fieldgoal Margin of Victory for Cleveland Rams|publisher=Waterloo Daily Courier|date=1936-11-09]
Rochester Tigers (1936-1937)
In mid-November 1936, the Tigers franchise moved to
Rochester, New York, where they played the final two games of the 1936 season. In announcing the move, one report focused on Newman as one of the best players in the new league: "Headlining the Rochester cast is Harry Newman, football's greatest passer . . . Newman is the leading ground gainer in the American League, despite the fact that he is with a second division club." [cite news|title=Tigers Set For Shamrock Game: Crowd of 10,000 Plan to Witness Contest, Red Wing Stadium|publisher=The Daily Messenger, Canandaigua, N.Y.|date=1936-11-20]
The Rochester Tigers lost to the Rams again in late November by a score of 7-6 on "a snow-swept gridiron." Newman put the Tigers ahead with two 35-yard field goals in the fourth quarter, but the Rams recovered a fumble behind the Tigers' goal line to win the game. [cite news|author=UP wire service report|title=Cleveland Shades Rochester Pros, 7-6|publisher=Wisconsin State Journal|date=1936-11-27]
The Brooklyn/Rochester Tigers finished the 1936 season in last place in the new league with a record of 0-6-1, and were outscored 82-58. [cite web|author=Braunwart, Bob|title=All Those A.F.L.'S: N.F.L. Competitors, 1935-41|publisher=Professional Football Researchers Association|url=http://www.footballresearch.com/articles/frpage.cfm?topic=afl35-41]
Newman closed the season on December 20, 1936 playing for the New York Yankees against the Boston Shamrocks. The Yankees won, 25-19, and Newman "booted a perfect kick from placement on the 30-yard line." [cite news|title=Sport of Sports|publisher=The Daily Mail, Hagerstown, Md.|date=1936-12-22]
Newman and Mike Palm owned the Tigers franchise and moved it to Rochester for two games at the end of 1936. However, in March 1937, Newman and Palm said they expected to move the franchise out of Rochester unless a minimum of $25,000 in cash subscriptions could be raised. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=Rochester Wants To Save Football|publisher=The Kingston Daily Freeman (N.Y.)|date=1937-03-26]
On September 14, 1937, a group of 30 men announced the formation of the Rochester Professional Football Team, Inc. to continue operation of the Rochester Tigers. Newman and Mike Palm were named as the coaches. [cite news|title=30 Join Hands to Provide Rochester With Pro Football|publisher=Syracuse Herald|date=1937-09-14] Newman drew a salary of $250 per game for Rochester in 1937, higher than the professional average of $100, but less than the $425 paid to
Sammy Baugh. [cite news|author=Kenney, John F.|title=The Lookout|publisher=The Lowell Sun|date=1937-10-13] The Tigers opened with a 16-0 loss to the Boston Shamrocks, followed by a 17-14 win over the Cincinnati Red Legs. [cite news|title=Shamrocks in Sunday Tilt: Rochester Tigers Which Belted Los Angeles, Foe at Fenway|publisher=Lowell Sun|date=1937-10-15] They followed with a 6-0 win over the Boston Shamrocks, as Newman kicked a field goal in the win. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=Los Angeles Tops in New Pro Loop|publisher=The Zanesville Signal|date=1937-10-18] On October 24, 1937, Newman and Bill O'Neill led the Tigers to a 24-0 victory over the New York Yankees, as the Tigers moved into second place with a 3-2 record behind the Los Angeles Bulldogs. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=Bulldogs Hold American Lead|publisher=The Daily Messenger, Canandaigua, N.Y.|date=1937-10-25] In the season's sixth game, Newman led the Tigers to a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, throwing three passes to account for a touchdown and then kicking the extra point in the final minute and a half. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=L.A. Bulldog Pro Eleven Continues To Lead League|publisher=Fresno Bee|date=1937-11-01] Newman and former Pitt halfback Mike Sebastianwere the mainstays of the 1937 Tigers. [cite news|title=Rochester Is Host To Boston Eleven On Gridiron Sunday|publisher=Syracuse Herald|date=1937-09-26]
On November 14, 1937, the Tigers played the first place Los Angeles Bulldogs. The Bulldogs took a 35-0 lead before Newman launched a comeback attempt. Newman ran 25 yards for a touchdown and threw two touchdown passes, but the Bulldogs won, 48-21. [cite news|author=AP wire service report|title=Los Angeles Pros Humble Rochester Grid Team 48-21|publisher=Syracuse Herald|date=1937-11-15]
After the 1937, season the American Professional Football League folded, and Newman retired from football.
Newman later became an executive with
Ford Motor Companyand owned Ford dealerships in Detroit and Denver.
Honors and accolades
Newman received numerous honors and accolades, including the following:
*Recipient of the
Chicago Tribune Silver Footballas the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten Conference in 1932.
*Unanimous choice as an All-American in 1932.
Douglas FairbanksTrophy as Outstanding College Player of the Year (predecessor of the Heisman Trophy), Douglas Fairbanks Trophy, 1932.
Helms Athletic FoundationPlayer of the Year Award, 1932 and 1933.
*Inducted into the
College Football Hall of Famein 1975.
*Inducted into the University of Michigan Hall of Honor in 1983. [cite web|url=http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/misc/hallhon.htm|title=Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor|accessdate=2007-12-11|publisher=The Regents of the University of Michigan]
*Inducted into the
International Jewish Sports Hall of Famein 1992. [cite web|title=International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame - Harry Newman|url=http://www.jewishsports.net/BioPages/HarryNewman.htm International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame]
*Selected in 2005 as one of the 100 greatest Michigan football players of all time by the "Motown Sports Revival," ranking 12th on the all-time team. [cite web|url=http://motownsportsrevival.blogspot.com/2005/08/100-greatest-michigan-football-players.html|title=100 Greatest Michigan Football Players of All-Time |accessdate=2007-12-09|publisher=Motown Sports Revival]
Michigan Wolverines Football All-Americans
History of the New York Giants (1925-1978)
University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor
* [http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fballam/aanewman.htm Bentley Library Photograph and Profile]
* [http://www.jewishsports.net/BioPages/HarryNewman.htm International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E02E3DA1E39F937A35756C0A9669C8B63 New York Times Obituary of Newman]
* [http://www.collegefootball.org/famersearch.php?id=30102 College Football Hall of Fame]
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