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Last Team Standing: How the Steelers and the Eagles--"The Steagles"--Saved…
by Matthew Algeo
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Tracing the history of the National Football League during World War II, this book delves into the severe player shortage during the war which led to the merging of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, creating the "Steagles." The team's center was deaf in one ear, its wide receiver was blind in one eye (and partially blind in the other), and its halfback had bleeding ulcers. One player was so old he'd never before played football with a helmet. Yet somehow, this group of players--deemed unfit for military service due to age or physical ailment--posted a winning record in the league, to the surprise of players and fans alike. Digging into the history of the war paralleled by the unlikely story of the Steagles franchise, both sports fans and history buffs will learn about the cultural significance of this motley crew of ball players during a trying time in United States history.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)796.332097309044 — The arts Recreational and performing arts Athletic and outdoor sports and games Ball sports Inflated ball driven by the foot American football Biography And History North America United States
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All able-bodied men were shipping overseas and the ones left behind were too old, too young or too infirm to carry on a tough sport like football. Although baseball got the go-ahead to keep playing, football had a decision to make. Keep playing, or shut down for the duration.
The Cleveland Rams decided to take 1942 off, but that left the league with an odd-numbered (and difficult to schedule) nine teams. The league asked two of the weakest, the Pennsylvania pair Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, to merge for the year. Had they not, the Eagles and Steelers might not have survived.
But they did merge, and the Phil-Pitt “Steagles” were born. They were largely the Eagles with a few Steelers thrown in, but were co-coached by the odd-couple tandem of Philadelphia’s Greasy Neale and Pittsburgh’s Walt Kiesling.
This book is filled with colorful anecdotes about the players, the cities and the realities of 4F football. And with the Steagles’ surprise run for the playoffs.
It’s an episode that impacted football forever.
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