The NFL Spartans of 1932


This file appears in: The Iron Man Game

The NFL Spartans of 1932

Top (from left to right): Head Coach Potsy Clark, Father Lumpkin, Glenn Presnell, Gene Alford, Dutch Clark, Mule Wilson, John Cavosie, Ace Gutowsky, Trainer Doc Neff, and Business Manager Harry Snyder. Bottom (from left to right): Harry Ebding, George Christensen, Buster Mitchell, Ox Emerson, Clare Randolph, Ray Davis, Maury Bodenger, John Wager, Am Rascher, and Bill McKalip.

The NFL Spartans of 1932 were “known wide and near,” according to the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, as the “17 iron men” because “they have surged to the top with only six men available for substitutions." The Portsmouth Daily Times published this team photo on the morning of the Iron Man Game (4 December 1932) and, in 1994, Robert Dafford incorporated it into his iconic floodwall mural.

The original photograph captured the "17 iron men," along with Spartan Coach Potsy Clark, Trainer Doc Neff, and Business Manager Harry Snyder (the largest share owner of the Spartans). 60-minute men were not unusual in the NFL before the 1940s, when league rules changed, allowing for unlimited substitutions and the fielding of two separate offensive and defensive teams. League rules capped rosters at twenty-two and placed limitations on substitutions. The expense of carrying two teams of players was cost-prohibitive during the Depression years. As the 1932 season wore on, Potsy Clark cut his squad to seventeen Spartans.


This file appears in: The Iron Man Game