In the early 1920s, George Halas was desperately seeking a special gate attraction to help draw fans for his Chicago Bears and the National Football League. University of Illinois running back Harold "Red" Grange was the answer.
Grange delivered huge blocks of ice during his college days earning him the nickname "The Wheaton Iceman."
On Thanksgiving Day, 1925, just 10 days after Grange's last college game, 36,600 filled Wrigley Field to see Red's pro debut against the Chicago Cardinals.
Grange embarked on an expansive “barnstorming tour” following the 1925 NFL season, playing all over the country and winning tens of thousands of new fans for pro football.
Grange and the Bears ownership couldn’t agree on terms for the 1926 season, so he migrated to the rival American Football League and played for a team in New York called the Yankees.
Halas invited Grange back to the Bears in 1929 and he remained with them through the 1934 season.
Grange carries the ball in a game for the New York Yankees in 1926.
Grange was a member of the charter class of enshrinees inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.