The term "franchise player" is used to describe a star who, by the excellence of his play on the field, plays a major role in his team's success or, in some cases, its very existence. John "Paddy" Driscoll, who excelled as a quarterback and halfback, proved himself to be a franchise player of the rarest kind.
The Chicago Cardinals, a charter member of the National Football League were challenged in the Windy City by another league team, the Tigers. The Cardinals hired Driscoll, for the then-princely sum of $300 a game in an effort to bolster the team’s performance on the field and in the box office. In a mid-season game against the Tigers, Driscoll scored the game’s only touchdown to lead the Cardinals to a 6-0 victory, giving them bragging rights as Chicago’s best.
The Tigers folded following the 1920 season. Driscoll at just 5-11 and 160 pounds was not very big. But size didn’t prevent him from excelling on both offense and defense, and he was particularly skilled in punting and dropkicking. After the Bears moved to Chicago in 1921, they quickly became the Cardinals archrivals. Driscoll seemed always to be at his peak when the two teams played. In 1922, he scored all the points on dropkicked field goals as the Cardinals beat the Bears, 6-0 and 9-0.
When the famed Red Grange made his pro debut against the Cardinals in 1925, Driscoll angered the large crowd by continually punting away from the “Galloping Ghost.” "I decided if one of us was going to look bad, it wasn't going to be me. Punting to Grange is like grooving a pitch to Babe Ruth," he explained. The possibility that Driscoll might defect to a new league being formed in 1926 prompted his trade to the Bears, where he continued to subdue the opposition single-handed through the remainder of his career that ended following the 1929 season.
Full Name: John Leo Driscoll
Birthdate: January 11, 1896
Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois
Died: June 29, 1968
High School: Evanston Twp. (Evanston, IL)
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: September 12, 1965
Presenter: Jimmy Conzelman
Other Members of Class of 1965: Guy Chamberlin, Dan fortmann, Otto Graham, Sid Luckman, Steve Van Buren, Bob Waterfield
Pro Career: 11 seasons, 118 games
Drafted: Driscoll played prior to the NFL Draft being implemented.
Uniform Number: 1, (2, 20, 26)