Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Football
Inducted: 1979
Country: United States
Born: March 18, 1905 in Cleveland, Ohio
Died: November 1982

As quarterback and halfback of the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1924 to 1926, Benny Friedman was football’s first great passer. The consummate triple threat man (runner, passer, kicker), he was named a first team All-American in 1925 and 1926.

Friedman moved easily from the college gridiron to professional football stardom. He was All-Pro from 1927 to 1931, playing seven pro seasons beginning with the Cleveland Bulldogs in his rookie year. In 1928, Friedman starred for the Detroit Wolverines, then for the New York Giants from 1929 to 1931. The Giants purchased the entire Detroit team in order to acquire the contract of Friedman, and the $10,000 the New Yorkers paid him made Benny the
highest paid player in the pro ranks. He finished his playing career with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ football team from 1932 to 1934.

Benny’s multiple talents had a lasting effect on the evolution of the sport. Sparked by his example, football changed from a straightforward running contest to the modern pass-andrun
game. Not the least of the many Friedman-inspired innovations was the slenderizing of the football itself, to take better advantage of the forward pass.

In 1934, Friedman took the head coaching reins at City College of New York, a job he held until he joined the U.S. Navy in 1941. During the years 1949 to 1963, he served as head football
coach and athletic director at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Benny was one of the first to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 2005.


© 1996- International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame | Privacy Policy