When Red Grange played football for the University of Illinois in 1924, the NFL was only 4 years old. Star college players had lucrative endorsements and careers awaiting them in the business sector. They never entered the world of professional football—a world filled with lairs, cheats and conmen.
That was until Red Grange.
Knowing the legitimacy that a star of Grange’s magnitude would add to his fledgling professional football league, George Halas made Grange an offer he couldn’t refuse. In exchange for playing for the Chicago Bears, Grange was given 50 percent of ticket sales.
Halas’ gamble paid off.
Red Grange became the wealthiest football player of his era, and George Halas’s NFL became a legitimate professional sports league. Grange won two championships as a Bear in 1932 and 1933. He was one of the 17 charter members of the Football Hall of Fame in 1963.