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Herman Ball (May 9, 1910 – January 12, 1999) was a football player and coach who was a long-time assistant in the National Football League and served as head coach of the Washington Redskins from 1949 to 1951.
American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.
The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington metropolitan area. The Redskins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team plays its home games at FedExField in Landover, Maryland; its headquarters and training facility are at Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia and the Redskins Complex in Richmond, Virginia, respectively.
A native of Elkins, West Virginia, Ball attended Davis & Elkins College for three years beginning in 1932, helping the 1933 squad finish the season as the highest scoring team in college football with 345 points. Following his graduation, his first coaching position came in his home state as head coach at Ridgeley High School.
Elkins is a city in and the county seat of Randolph County, West Virginia, United States. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins, a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,094 at the 2010 census. Elkins is home to Davis and Elkins College and to the Mountain State Forest Festival, held in early October every year.
Davis & Elkins College (D&E) is a small private liberal arts college in Elkins, West Virginia.
The following year, he moved south to begin a seven-year stint in Cumberland, Maryland, as head coach at Allegany High School. In his inaugural season at the helm, Allegany finished undefeated, the first of three spotless campaigns during his tenure, the others coming in 1940 and 1941. By the time he departed for the University of Maryland in 1943, he had compiled an impressive mark of 56-13-1.
Cumberland is a city in and the county seat of Allegany County, Maryland, United States. It is the primary city of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 20,859, and the metropolitan area had a population of 103,299. Located on the Potomac River, Cumberland is a regional business and commercial center for Western Maryland and the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia.
Ball became an assistant with the Terrapins' football team, and also helped coach the school's baseball and basketball teams. During his third and final year in that role, he worked under the legendary Bear Bryant. Ball also worked part-time as a scout for the Redskins during the 1945 season, then joined the team the following year when he was hired as line coach.
Paul William "Bear" Bryant was an American college football player and coach. He was best known as the head coach of the University of Alabama football team. During his 25-year tenure as Alabama's head coach, he amassed six national championships and thirteen conference championships. Upon his retirement in 1982, he held the record for most wins as head coach in collegiate football history with 323 wins. The Paul W. Bryant Museum, Paul W. Bryant Hall, Paul W. Bryant Drive, and Bryant–Denny Stadium are all named in his honor at the University of Alabama. He was also known for his trademark black and white houndstooth fedora, deep voice, casually leaning up against the goal post during pre-game warmups, and holding his rolled-up game plan while on the sidelines. Before arriving at Alabama, Bryant was head football coach at the University of Maryland, the University of Kentucky, and Texas A&M University.
On November 7, 1949, Redskins' first-year head coach John Whelchel was dismissed with the team sporting a 3-3-1 mark, with Ball being elevated to the position. In the team's final five games, Ball managed only one more win, then struggled the next year with a 3-9 mark, the worst record ever (at the time) for the franchise. Despite the miserable fortunes of the team, due in part to Ball's attempt at balancing the team's offensive attack with more of a running game, player loyalty and fan popularity helped Ball earn another year on the sidelines.
John Esten "Billick" Whelchel was a decorated officer in the United States Navy with the rank of Vice Admiral, American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at the United States Naval Academy from 1942 to 1943, compiling a record of 13–5. In 1949, he was the head coach for the National Football League's Washington Redskins, tallying a mark of 3–3–1.
That term would be a short one when the Redskins began the 1951 NFL season with an 0-3 start. Ball was fired on October 18, a decision that helped bring about a bizarre situation in which his successor, former Bears assistant Hunk Anderson, was announced as Washington's new head coach, but was prevented from starting his new job because of contract issues with Chicago's George Halas. After refusing to provide compensation for Anderson, Redskin owner George Preston Marshall hired Ball's assistant, Dick Todd.
The 1951 NFL season was the 32nd regular season of the National Football League. Prior to the season, Baltimore Colts owner Abraham Watner faced financial difficulties, and thus gave his team and its player contracts back to the league for $50,000. However, many Baltimore fans started to protest the loss of their team. Supporting groups such as its fan club and its marching band remained in operation and worked for the team's revival.
George Stanley Halas Sr., nicknamed "Papa Bear" and "Mr. Everything", was a player, coach, and owner involved with professional American football. He was the founder, owner, and head coach of the National Football League's Chicago Bears. He was also lesser known as a Major League Baseball player for the New York Yankees.
George Preston Marshall was an American businessman, and the owner and president of the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL), from their inception in 1932 in Boston until his death in 1969.
Serving as Washington's chief scout, Ball also returned to the sidelines as a Redskins' assistant until he resigned on December 17, 1954. He was hired three weeks later as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, spending one season in the Steel City until taking a similar position on February 2, 1956, under Weeb Ewbank with the Baltimore Colts.
Over the next seven years, Ball would help the team capture consecutive NFL titles in 1958 and 1959. When Don Shula replaced Ewbank after the 1962 NFL season, Ball was dismissed and signed as offensive line coach of the American Football League's Buffalo Bills on February 9, 1963. He spent one year there until returning to the NFL when former Redskins head coach Joe Kuharich took over the same role with the Philadelphia Eagles.
In five seasons, the team's best finish was in 1966, when they finished 9-5 and competed in the Playoff Bowl, but following a 2-12 finish in 1968, Kuharich and his staff were fired, although Ball remained as the team's director of player personnel. He remained in that role until announcing his retirement on December 23, 1977, staying on as a consultant until the end of the 1986 NFL season.
He died at the age of 88 at a Paoli, Pennsylvania, hospital of complications from a heart ailment.
Wilbur Charles "Weeb" Ewbank was an American professional football coach. He led the Baltimore Colts to NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 and the New York Jets to victory in Super Bowl III in 1969. He is the only coach to win a championship in both the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL).
Donald Francis Shula is a former professional American football coach and player who is best known as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, the team he led to two Super Bowl victories, and to the only perfect season in the history of the National Football League (NFL). He was previously the head coach of the Baltimore Colts, with whom he won the 1968 NFL Championship. Shula was drafted out of John Carroll University in the 1951 NFL Draft, and he played professionally as a defensive back for the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, and Washington Redskins.
Joseph Lawrence Kuharich was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of San Francisco from 1948 to 1951 and at the University of Notre Dame from 1959 to 1962, compiling a career college football record of 42–37. Kuharich was also the head coach of the Chicago Cardinals in 1952, the Washington Redskins from 1954 to 1958, and the Philadelphia Eagles from 1964 to 1968, amassing a career coaching record of 58–81–3 in the National Football League (NFL). He played football as a guard at Notre Dame from 1935 to 1937 and with the Chicago Cardinals in 1940, 1941 and 1945. Kuharich's death fell on the day the Eagles lost Super Bowl XV to the Oakland Raiders.
James Arthur Zorn is a former American football player and coach in the National Football League. He is now currently the GM and head coach of the Seattle XFL team set to begin in 2020. Zorn was a left-handed quarterback, and is best known as the starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks for their first eight seasons. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 2001 until the 2007 season, before being hired by the Washington Redskins to be their head coach starting in the 2008 season.
The 1954 NFL season was the 35th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended when the Cleveland Browns defeated the Detroit Lions in the NFL Championship Game.
Michael Regis Nixon was an American football player, coach and scout who spent close to a half-century connected to the game. His most prominent positions were as head coach of the National Football League's Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Charley Winner is a former a football coach whose professional and personal life was closely intertwined with that of Weeb Ewbank, another coach.
Michael Joseph McCormack was an American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played with the Cleveland Browns from 1954 through 1962 and served as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Baltimore Colts and the Seattle Seahawks. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
Kyle Michael Shanahan is an American football coach who is the current head coach of the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). Previously, he served as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, whose offense led the league in points scored in 2016 and helped the team reach Super Bowl LI. In addition to the 49ers and Falcons, Shanahan has coached for the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns. He is the son of former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan.
The Washington Redskins have played over 1,000 games. In those games, the club has won five professional American football championships including two NFL Championships and three Super Bowls. The franchise has also captured 15 NFL divisional titles and five NFC championships.
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Hue Jackson is an American football coach. He has served as the head coach for the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). He has also been an offensive coordinator for multiple teams. Before joining Oakland, Jackson served as offensive assistant coach for several NFL teams, most notably as the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins under Steve Spurrier and the Atlanta Falcons under Bobby Petrino. Jackson’s 3-36-1 record over two-and-a-half seasons with the Browns is the worst record that a head coach has recorded while presiding over one team in NFL history.
Richard Anthony Stanfel was an American football player and coach with a college and professional career spanning more than 50 years from 1948 to 1999. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 2016. He was also named to the National Football League (NFL) 1950s All-Decade Team.
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Todd Robert Bowles is an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL), as well as a former player. He played eight seasons in the NFL as a safety, mainly for the Washington Redskins, and started in Super Bowl XXII against the Denver Broncos. Bowles was the interim defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, and then for the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 and 2014. He was the interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins for the final three games of the 2011 season with a 2-1 record after the firing of Tony Sparano, and served as the heach coach of the New York Jets from 2015-2018.
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