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Ernie Caddel

john caddell, ernie caddel
Ernest Wiley Caddel March 12, 1911 – March 28, 1992 was an American football running back He played college football for Glenn "Pop" Warner at Stanford University from 1930 to 1932 and later played six seasons in the National Football League for the Portsmouth Spartans 1933 and Detroit Lions 1934–1938 He helped lead the Detroit Lions to the NFL championship in 1935 and led the NFL in average yards gained per rushing carry for three consecutive years, from 1935 to 1937 He was also the first player in NFL history to finish among the top 10 players in the league in both rushing and receiving yards, accomplishing the feat in 1934 and again in 1936 He was known during his football career as the "Blond Antelope"


  • 1 Early years
  • 2 Stanford
  • 3 Professional football
  • 4 Later years
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Early years

Caddel was born in Granite, Oklahoma in 1911 and was raised near Fresno, California


Caddel was given the name "Ee-Dub" after his father's initials EW, as was the custom in those days He enrolled at Stanford University in 1929 on a baseball scholarship, having never played football Stanford would not recognize the initials "EW," and so Caddel became "Ernie" While attending Stanford, head football coach Glenn "Pop" Warner noticed Caddel's athletic ability and persuaded him to play for the football team He played at the halfback position for Stanford from 1930 to 1932 In November 1931, he drew national attention when he ran for three touchdowns, two on long runs, in a 32-6 victory over Dartmouth

As a senior in 1932, Caddel starred for Stanford in September and October In October 1932, a United Press correspondent wrote: "Ernie Caddel, a rangy fleet-footed halfback, is regarded by many as an All-America candidate In every appearance this season he has brought spectators from their seats by his spectacular wide, sweeping runs around the end -- invariably evading tacklers for 15 to 30 yards" Caddel suffered two broken ribs in a game against Oregon State To allow Caddel to play through the injury, Stanford's coach Warner created what has been described as the first flak jacket worn by a running back The San Jose News in October 1932 noted that Caddel was wearing a shoulder brace "to permit him to play as long as wind and limib hold out" Another writer noted, "Pop made a paper pattern one day and the thing that night It was an ingenious affair It had steel ribs, but you hardly noticed the weight" Due to this injury, however, Caddel was unable to play baseball in the Spring of his senior year, and he lost his Stanford scholarship Fortunately, he was recruited by the Portsmouth Spartans to play professional football in Ohio

Professional football

After graduating from Stanford, Caddel played professional football in the National Football League for six years from 1933 to 1938 Caddel was 6 feet, 2 inches, and weighed 190 pounds during his football playing career With blonde, curly hair and "a beach-boy tan," he was "a striking figure in the Midwest" and became known as the "Blond Antelope"

Caddel began his professional football career in 1933 with the Portsmouth Spartans in Portsmouth, Ohio He ran 82 yards for a touchdown on his first carry for the Spartans Caddel accumulated 393 yards from scrimmage for the Spartans in 1933 and scored five touchdowns As a rookie, he led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with three and finished second in the league with an average of 52 yards per touch

In 1934, the Spartans were sold, and the new owner moved the team to Detroit, Michigan, and renamed them the Detroit Lions Caddel started all 12 games and helped the Lions post a 10-3 record in their inaugural season He was among the NFL leaders in 1934 with 655 yards from scrimmage 4th in the NFL, an average of 57 yards per touch 4th in the NFL, and 528 rushing yards 5th in the NFL

Caddel No 1 in January 1936 with newspaper caption, "Here's How Stellar Lion Halfback Makes those Long Gains"

As a third-year player, Caddel was both the leading rusher and the leading receiver for the 1935 Detroit Lions team that won the 1935 NFL Championship He was also the second leading passer for the 1935 Lions with 169 passing yards Caddel also led the NFL in 1935 in all-purpose yards 621, rushing touchdowns 6, yards per rushing attempt 52, and yards per touch 64 He also finished second in the NFL with 450 rushing yards

Caddel remained one of the NFL's leading players in 1936 He accumulated 730 yards from scrimmage, third best in the NFL, and led the league with an average of 66 yards per touch and 64 yards per rushing attempt His total of 19 pass receptions was also good for third best in the NFL during the 1936 season

Caddel was the first player in NFL history to finish among the top 10 players in the league in both rushing and receiving yards He accomplished the feat in 1934 and again in 1936 The next player to twice rank in the top 10 in both categories was Frank Gifford in 1956 and 1957

In 1937, Caddel led the NFL for the third consecutive year in yards per rushing attempt with an average of 56 yards per carry

Later years

After retiring from football, Caddel operated an automobile dealership, Roseville Chevrolet, in Roseville, California, for 42 years He became known for his charismatic personality and for starring in light-hearted TV commercials" with "The Roseville Gang" He died due to complications Alzheimer's in Roseville in 1992 at age 81, possibly brought on by head trauma from his years with the Lions

During his early Spartan years, Caddel met his wife Nell Margaret Gableman, the daughter of Portsmouth's mayor When they moved to Detroit, during the off-season, Caddel built cars in GM factory General Motors noted his personality and good looks, and promoted him to sales They had a daughter, Trudy Frances, and a granddaughter, noted vocalist Connie Champagne née Kelly Brock


  2. ^ "STANFORD WINS 32-6 CONTEST: Versatile Attack Of Californians Crushes Dartmouth Eleven" The Sun, Baltimore, Md November 29, 1931 
  3. ^ "Old Pop Warner's Strategy Is Too Much For Indian" The Lewiston Daily November 30, 1931 
  4. ^ "Caddel Stars As Stanford Defeats Dons" San Jose News September 23, 1932 
  5. ^ Richard C Wilson October 21, 1932 "Troy To Oppose Powerful Card Team Tomorrow" Berkeley Daily Gazette UP story 
  6. ^ a b Charlie Sanders, Larry Paladino 2005 Charlie Sanders's Tales from the Detroit Lions Sports Publishing LLC p 76 ISBN 1-58261-910-7 
  7. ^ "Players Mark Time Awaiting Opening Shot" San Jose News October 21, 1932 
  8. ^ a b "Ernie Caddel" pro-football-referencecom 
  9. ^ "1933 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards" pro-football-referencecom 
  10. ^ "1934 Detroit Lions" pro-football-referencecom 
  11. ^ "1934 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards" pro-football-referencecom 
  12. ^ a b "1935 Detroit Lions" pro-football-referencecom 
  13. ^ a b "1935 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards" pro-football-referencecom 
  14. ^ a b "1936 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards" pro-football-referencecom 
  15. ^ a b Dick Kelly December 10, 1964 "Spotlight on Sports" The Daily Mail, Hagerstown, Maryland 
  16. ^ "1937 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards" pro-football-referencecom 
  17. ^ http://wwwconniechampagnecom

External links

  • Ernie Caddel at Find a Grave

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Ernie Caddel

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