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June 11, 1902: The Birth of Ernest Alanzo Nevers

On this day in 1902, future National Football League star Ernie Nevers was born in Willow River, Minnesota. Nevers attended Superior Central High School where he led the football team to the 1918 Wisconsin State Championship before going on to Stanford University where he became known as the “Big Dog,” and the “Blonde Bull.” He was an all-American on the gridiron at Stanford, where during the 1925 Rose Bowl he outgained all four of Notre Dame’s legendary “Four Horseman” playing both offense and defense during the entire game on two broken ankles. His high school teammate Ole Haugsrud would recruit him to Duluth to play for the Duluth Kelleys, which Haugsrud renamed the Duluth Eskimos or “Ernie Nevers’ Eskimos” in a move NFL president Joe Carr said “saved the NFL.” Later, as a member of the Chicago Cardinals (which boasted nine former Eskimos at the time), Nevers scored every point in a 40–0 victory over the Chicago Bears. Read more abut Nevers here and about the Duluth Eskimos here.

Ernie Nevers signed this photo of himself for his friend and high school classmate Ole Haugsrud, owner of the Duluth Eskimos and later the Minnesota Vikings. It reads “To Olaf Haugsrud, the truest friend and greatest fellow I have ever met. Very Sincerely, ‘Ernie’ Nevers.” (Image courtesy of Bob Murphy)