Ernie Nevers Chicago Cardinals & Duluth Eskimos (NFL)
"I liked it the way I played it. You went the full 60 minutes...We went from September to January and from Maine to Texas to the Pacific coast. In all we played 29 games and we had only 16 men on the squad. If the coach took a man out of the game for a substitution, he got mad. That’s how much we loved it.”
Of all the records in the history of the National Football League, the one that has survived the longest was set on November 28, 1929, when Chicago Cardinals fullback Ernie Nevers, scored every one of his team’s points (six touchdowns and four extra point conversions) in a 40-6 rout of the Chicago Bears.
The next week, the former Stanford University star again scored all his team’s points for a two-game total of 59 solo points. At Stanford, Nevers had gained gridiron fame when he courageously led the Indians against Notre Dame in the 1925 Rose Bowl game. Playing on what amounted to two very sore ankles, both of which were broken earlier in the season, Nevers rushed for 114 yards as Stanford lost to the superior Irish, 27-10.
Stanford coach, Pop Warner once called him “the football player without a fault” and compared him favorably to another player he coached, the legendary Jim Thorpe. Like Thorpe, when it came to football, Nevers could do everything exceptionally well, run, pass, kick, call signals, and play rock hard defense.
After he finished his Stanford career, Nevers signed pro basketball and baseball contracts and, in fact was destined to throw two homerun pitches to Babe Ruth in his historic 60-home run season in 1927. But pro football also beckoned. In 1926, Nevers turned pro with the NFL’s Duluth Eskimos.
The Eskimos were a traveling team. That season the team crossed the country playing 29 games, 28 of them on the road, against league and non-league opponents. Nevers reportedly played all but 29 of a possible 1,740 minutes.
Injuries forced Ernie to sit out the entire 1928 season, but he returned as the do-everything man for the Cardinals in 1929. In both 1930 and 1931, he was also the playing coach of the Cardinals. Nevers earned All-NFL honors each of his five pro seasons.