Tell Us
Have an idea for an entry? Click here and tell us.

Benjamin "Benny" Friedman - Football Player

One of the first stars of the NFL

Born: March 18, 1905 - Cleveland, OH
Died: November 23, 1982 - New York, NY

Benny Friedman
Benny Friedman
Benjamin "Benny" Friedman was born in Cleveland in 1905 to an Orthodox Jewish family. According to a 1930 book he wrote entitled The Passing Game, his "first great ambition was to become the world's champion strongman," and wanted to discover "how a lamb could be developed into a roaring lion."

Upon entering high school, Friedman quickly decided football was a sport that he wanted to pursue, and pursue it he did. He played football at the University of Michigan as a quarterback from 1924-1926. In a single game against Indiana in 1925, Friedman was responsible for 44 points, after throwing five touchdowns, kicking two field goals and eight extra points. In 1926, he was voted All-American and MVP of the Big Ten.

After college he was recruited into the NFL and played for the Cleveland Bulldogs (1927), Detroit Wolverines (1928), New York Giants (1929-1931) and Brooklyn Dodgers (when it was a football team (1932-1934)).

He quickly became one of the first great NFL players.

In 1928 Friedman led the league in rushing touchdowns and touchdown passes, a feat never accomplished again.

Benny Friedman - Trading Card
Benny Friedman - Trading Card
Friedman moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1931 as a player/coach, while at the same time he was an assistant coach at Yale. He was the league leader in completion percentages in 1933 and he retired in 1934.

After he left the Dodgers, Friedman coached at the City College of New York until 1941. In World War II he served in the Navy.

He worked as a football coach after World War II, most notably at Brandeis University where he was Athletic Director and the football coach from the late 1940s through early 1960s.

Suffering from severe diabetes, Friedman committed suicide in 1982.

  • Two-time All-America quarterback (Michigan)
  • Named All-NFL four times. (1927-1930)
  • Threw a league-record 11 touchdown passes as a rookie. (1927)
  • First player to throw 20 touchdown passes in one season. (1929)
  • First player to throw four touchdown passes in one game. (1929)
  • Led the league in touchdown passes four consecutive seasons. (1927-1930)
  • Set a career record with 66 touchdown passes.
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (2005) 1
Interesting Facts
  • Friedman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, along with Dan Marino, Fritz Pollard and Steve Young.
Further Reading
Some of these sites were used as source material for this entry and may be of interest to those looking to learn more about this person/topic.
Copy the text below to cite your paper or article:

Meyer, Daniel. "Benjamin "Benny" Friedman - Football Player." J-Grit: The Internet Index of Tough Jews.