1927 New York Giants — Forgotten Football Champions
The 1927 New York Yankees are considered one of the greatest teams in baseball history.
Yet New York had another championship team that year, a team long-since forgotten.
That team was the New York Giants, who in just their third year in the fledgling National Football League won their first title.
The Giants finished 11-1-1 in the 12-team league and were crowned NFL champions in a time before playoff systems were used. The Giants, who called the Polo Grounds home, shut out 10 opponents that year. They allowed just three touchdowns all season and wound up outscoring the opposition 197-20.
Those opponents included both the second place Green Bay Packers (7-2-1) and third place Chicago Bears (9-3-2). The Cleveland Bulldogs, who finished fourth (8-4-2), put the only two blemishes on the Giants record, beating New York 6-0 after playing the Giants to a scoreless tie earlier in the season.
The remaining NFL teams in 1927 were the Providence Steam Roller, New York Yankees, Frankford Yellow Jackets, Pottsville Maroons, Chicago Cardinals, Dayton Triangles, Duluth Eskimos and Buffalo Bisons, who dropped out of the league after five straight losses to start the season.
The Giants were led by two Hall of Fame linemen, tackles Steve Owen, shown right, and Cal Hubbard, who played both offense and defense. Owen went on to coach the Giants for 24 seasons beginning in 1930, and won two championships of his own—in 1933 and 1938.
Hubbard is the only man to be voted into both the Baseball and Football Hall of Fame. Playing alongside Steve Owen, Hubbard was a rookie on the 1927 Giants, but a year later requested a trade to Green Bay, which won the NFL championship in his first three years beginning in 1929. He finished his football career in 1936 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, a franchise that was to become the Steelers.
Hubbard later became an umpire in the American League from 1936 to 1951. Immediately recognized as one of the game’s greatest officials, he was eventually elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The 1927 Giants were led offensively by fullback Jack McBride, who scored 57 points—with six touchdowns, two field goals, and 15 extra points. Tailback Hinkey Haines and wingback Mule Wilson each scored six TDs.
The Giants were coached by Earl Potteiger, who joints the ranks of Steve Owen (2), Bill Parcells (2), Jim Lee Howell and Tom Coughlin as the only men to coach the Giants to championships. Potteiger coached the Giants again in 1928, finished 4-7-2, and was dismissed.
Potteiger also played and managed minor league baseball. And apparently there are no known photos of William Earl Potteiger….but we do have his autograph.
Footnote: While the Giants were winning their 1927 championship, the New York Rangers were beginning just their second season in the National Hockey League. The following April, the Rangers beat the Montreal Maroons 3-2 to win Stanley Cup, giving New York three professional championships in less than six months.
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