In the days of one-platoon football and smaller rosters, a single lineman -- particularly one with great size and determination -- could dominate a game more than today. On December 6, 1936, with the NFL's Eastern Division championship up for grabs at New York’s Polo Grounds, Glen "Turk" Edwards did just that.
Edwards (1907-1973) was the captain and star tackle of the Boston Redskins, who squared off against the three-time Eastern champion Giants that day.
Taking matters into his own hands, Edwards blocked a punt, blocked a place kick, recovered two fumbles, made tackles all along the line, and opened gaping holes in the Giants' defense for Boston's backs to scurry through. The Skins won 14-0 and advanced to their first NFL championship game.
Edwards was huge for his time -- 6'2", 260 pounds -- and he used his size and strength to his advantage. But he was also surprisingly agile for a man his size, enabling him to patrol more than his share of the defensive line.
An All-American at Washington State, Turk and his best friend, Mel Hein, helped the Cougars to the 1931 Rose Bowl. When Edwards graduated in 1932, three NFL teams made him offers -- Boston, the Giants, and the Portsmouth Spartans. Boston was a new team just starting out, but Edwards liked their offer because it paid best -- $150 a game for 10 games. That wasn't bad money during the Depression.
Edwards was named All-NFL in four of his first six seasons. More important, he helped the Redskins move from also-ran status to a division title in 1936 and an NFL championship in 1937, when the team was transplanted to Washington.
Edwards’s career ended in a bizarre fashion in 1940. As captain, he oversaw the coin toss for another Redskins-Giants game. Then he shook hands with Hein, the Giants' captain, and turned toward the Redskins' bench. Edwards's cleats caught in the turf, his knee buckled, and he never played another down.
To learn more about football greats, see:
- Great Football Players
- Great Offensive Football Players
- Great Defensive Football Players
- Great Football Coaches