The MMQB presents NFL 95, a special project—unveiled every Wednesday, from May through July—detailing 95 artifacts that tell the story of the NFL, as the league prepares to enter its 95th season. See the entire series here.
In the throes of the Great Depression, New York City mayor Jimmy Walker issued a call for help. The New York Giants responded in a big way.
On Dec. 14, 1930, they played a postseason exhibition game to raise funds for New Yorkers hit hard by the hard times—and their opponent was not just any team. Across from team captain Benny Friedman and his Giants was an All-Star team of past and present Notre Dame greats, from coach Knute Rockne to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Harry Stuhldreher, Jim Crowley, Don Miller and Elmer Layden. The Giants couldn’t be stopped at the packed Polo Grounds, besting the All-Stars, 22–0. But the biggest victory was the check that Giants team founder Tim Mara presented to Walker at City Hall four days later: $115,153, the game’s entire revenue.
From its earliest days, the NFL has used its popularity for good. During World War II, the league sold war bonds and contributed revenues from 15 exhibition games to service charities. In this generation, the NFL and the players union established a Disaster Relief Fund after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which has since been used to contribute millions to relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Sandy.
Photograph courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.