On This Day in History, March 22: Remember the Football Dodgers?

March 22, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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This little item appeared on the sports page of the March 22, 1942, Brooklyn Eagle:

“REV. ELLIOTT OF GRID DODGERS NOW IN ARMY. The Rev. Wilson Elliott has notified the Brooklyn football Dodgers he would be unable to play in the National League next Fall. It became known yesterday, Elliott, a six-foot-two, 230-pound tackle from the University of Chattanooga, has enlisted in the army as chaplain. He was Brooklyn’s 17th choice in the player draft last December [1941].”

So much is known and talked about the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team that it wouldn’t be surprising that some of our readers never knew there was a Brooklyn Dodgers football team.

As a matter of fact that Brooklyn team played a very historic game. On Dec. 7, 1941, “a day which will live in infamy,” the Brooklyn football Dodgers were playing a game at the Polo Grounds against the N.Y. football Giants. The Dodgers won 14-7. Broadcasts of the game were interrupted by bulletins through which millions of Americans learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, causing U.S. entry into World War II. During the second half, numerous public address announcements at the ballpark called military personnel and reservists to their units as America began the greatest mobilization in its history.

Bill Dwyer and John Depler bought the Dayton (Ohio) Triangles of the National Football League (NFL) from Carl Storck and transferred the franchise to Brooklyn as the football Dodgers playing in Ebbets Field. They played their first NFL game vs. the Bears at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on Sept. 21, 1930. The game ended in a scoreless tie.

On Nov. 30, 1930,  the Dodgers met the Giants for the first time at the Polo Grounds and defeated them 7-6. But two weeks later the Giants beat the Dodgers, 13-0, at Ebbets Field, concluding a 13-4 season, the only one in which four New York-area teams (Newark and Staten Island being the other two) operated in the NFL. Green Bay took the league title for the second straight year, finishing 10-3-1, including a split of two games with the Giants.

On Oct. 22, 1939, the Dodgers played the Philadelphia Eagles in the first televised NFL game. The Dodgers won 23-14. A live audience of 13,057 at Ebbets Field far outnumbered those watching over NBC’s W2XBS.

The Brooklyn football Dodgers remained in the National Football League until the 1944 season. Brooklyn’s baseball Dodgers may bask in glory, but the football Dodgers had their moments as well.

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