George Halas was the father of professional football. The more I read about him and study the work that he did, the more I am convinced. I published a book called Pillars of the NFL by George Halas’s grandson Patrick McCaskey. It’s a book that includes information on the football lives of the ten coaches who have won three or more championships in the NFL. We published the book in 2014 and nothing has changed. Well, that is the same ten coaches are still the same and no one else is getting any closer. Of course, Bill Belichick has added an explanation point to his record, but the information, especially that on the origins of the game and coaches is solid. The book can be found in the product section of this website, by the way.
One of the books that I read when I was doing some research is the book Halas by Halas. It’s an old book, but you can still find used copies if you look hard enough.
In Pillars, we talk about Halas and the origins of the NFL. And from day one, Halas was one of the most important contributors to the league. As an owner, his contributions kept piling up. And in the Halas by Halas book, he mentions being made chairman of the rules committee in 1932. Halas mentions that the complexity of football had gotten out of hand and the rules had become a problem. The rules had become too complex at every level of play. Halas being not only a great coach, but a great business man was going to see some resolution. He turned to Hugh “Shorty” Ray.
Hugh Ray was a high school teacher at Carter Harrison High School at the time when Halas’s heard of his exploits. According to George Halas, the precise Hugh Ray was appalled at the sloppy application of football rules at Chicago High Schools. He created the Chicago Public School Athletic Association and he rewrote the football rules to eliminate conflicts. Halas goes on to explain how Ray became a force for good in sports and applied a certain discipline. Halas described Hugh as a kind of efficiency expert (my term) for sports officiating. Halas was so impressed with Hugh, that he brought him in the fix the rules mess at the NFL. Hugh was hired by the NFL as a consultant and went about fixing the rules and the officiating. It was not a quick fix and Hugh’s efforts took years. Much of Hugh’s work quickened the game and allowed for more plays to be played. Hugh’s efforts should not be underestimated. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame!
According to Wikipedia, “In 2014, Ray’s grandson, James W. Stangeland, published a biography of Ray. and American football history titled, “Hugh L. Ray, The NFL’s Mr. Einstein: Master Designer Of The Modern Game.”