89: Dutch Clark-NFL

Sports' Forgotten Heroes

22-09-2020 • 1 hr 11 mins

Sometimes superstars of the game are forgotten. There’s no real explanation for this. They just fade away with time, and this is the reason I launched Sports’ Forgotten Heroes. To remember the stars whom time has forgotten and for this episode, episode No. 89, this certainly holds true – Dutch Clark. A member of the inaugural class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Dutch was certainly on the of greats of the game – especially during his playing days which took place from 1931 through 1938. He took off the 1933 season to coach football on the collegiate level, but went back to the NFL in 1934. In six of his seven years, he was named first-team All-Pro playing quarterback. But he was also a terrific running back and led the NFL in touchdowns on three occasions. As a kicker, he was terrific as well kicking 72 extra points and 15 field goals. Clark broke into the NFL in 1931 after taking a year off from the game following a Hall of Fame college career for Colorado College. In fact, in Dutch’s first professional season, he was named first-team All-Pro for the Portsmouth Spartans. After his second season with Portsmouth, he stepped away from the game and returned to college to coach at the Colorado School of Mines. However, after a 1-5 campaign he returned to the NFL with the Detroit Lions (Portsmouth moved to Detroit) and Dutch picked up right where he left off. He led the Lions in scoring, passing and rushing, and was again named first-team All-Pro again at QB. His most celebrated season occurred in in 1935 when Dutch led the Lions to a 7-3-2 record and 26-7 win over the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game. But Dutch’s playing days were nearing an end. In fact, his final two season, Dutch worked as Detroit’s head coach while still playing! For the Lions, in his two seasons at the helm, he went 14-8. After leaving Detroit, Dutch took over the head coaching duties of the Cleveland Rams. Joining me on SFH to talk about the career of Dutch Clark is Chris Willis. Chris has been the head of research with NFL Films since 1996 and also authored the book, “Dutch Clark: The Life of an NFL Legend and the Birth of the Detroit Lions.”

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