ALPHONSE (TUFFY) LEEMANS

ALPHONSE (TUFFY) LEEMANS

Class of 1978
Halfback-Fullback >>> 6-0, 195
(Oregon, George Washington)
1936-1943 New York Giants

Alphonse Emil Leemans. . .Second-round pick in first NFL draft. . . 1936 College All-Star game MVP. . .Aggressive, dedicated do-everything team leader. . .Player-coach in final 1943 season. . .Led NFL rushers as rookie, 1936. . .All-NFL, 1936, 1939. . .Second-team All-NFL five times. . .Career totals - 3,132 yards rushing, 2,318 yards passing, 422 yards receiving. . .Had 25 TD passes, 13.8-yard punt return average. . .Born November 12, 1912, in Superior, Wisconsin. . .Died January 19, 1979, at age of 66.

The New York Giants first learned of future Hall of Fame running back Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans after a vacationing high school boy, reported to his father what he had witnessed during a game between George Washington College and Alabama.

What he saw was a sensational performance by Leemans who from 1933 to 1935 starred for George Washington. The high school boy was Wellington Mara, son of the Giants owner Tim Mara. Thanks to young Mara, Leemans became the No. 2 draft pick of the Giants in the National Football League's first-ever college draft in 1936.

Tuffy was named the outstanding player in the 1936 College All-Star game and, upon joining the Giants, immediately took over as one of the NFL's most dependable workhorses. The 6-0, 195-pound fullback led the league in rushing as a rookie with 830 yards. He was the only rookie named to the annual all-league team.

During his outstanding eight-year career, he was named first- or second team all-league every year from 1936 through 1942, by either or both the NFL and a major wire service. A versatile player, at one time or another played fullback or halfback and excelled on defense. At the same time and certainly as a direct result of his play, the Giants were consistently contending for a title berth.

A native of Superior, Wisconsin, Leemans finished his pro career in 1943 with 3,132 yards rushing, 28 receptions for 422 yards, and 2,318 yards passing to his credit. He scored 17 touchdowns rushing, three on receptions, and passed for 25 more.

His career ledger also includes punt return and pass interception statistics. His marks become even more significant when it is remembered that the Giants of that era employed a system that saw two separate units divide playing time both offensively and defensively.

Year
Team
G
Att.
Comp.
Pct.
Yds.
TD
Int
Rating
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1936 New York
12
42
13
31
258
3
6
37.7
206
830
4.0
2
1937 New York
9
20
5
25
64
1
1
36.3
144
429
3.0
0
1938 New York
10
42
19
45.2
249
3
6
48.7
121
463
3.8
4
1939 New York
10
26
12
46.2
198
0
2
40.2
128
429
3.4
3
1940 New York
10
31
15
48.4
159
2
3
45.7
132
474
3.6
1
1941 New York
11
66
31
47
475
4
5
59.8
100
332
3.3
4
1942 New York
8
69
35
50.7
555
7
4
87.5
51
116
2.3
3
1943 New York
10
87
37
42.5
360
5
5
50
37
59
1.6
0
Career Total
80
383
167
43.6
2318
25
32
50.6
919
3132
3.4
17
Additional Career Statistics: Receiving: 28-422, 3 TDs; Punt Returns: 19-262; Kickoff Returns: 5-77; Interceptions: 4-35

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