Fritz Pollard (1894-1986) and Bobby Marshall (1880-1958)
In 1920, Fritz Pollard and Bobby Marshall became the first African-Americans to play in the NFL. Marshall attended the University of Minnesota where he played both baseball and football. After graduating, he worked as an attorney before playing semi-professional baseball for the pre-Negro National Leagues. He joined the NFL in 1920, playing with the Minneapolis Marines, Kelley Duluths and Rock Island Independents until 1924. Marshall was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
Pollard attended Brown University where he played in the 1916 Rose Bowl and became the first African-American named to the Walter Camp All-America team. Prior to playing in the NFL, he coached Lincoln University’s football team and served as the school’s athletic director. After joining the NFL, he played for the Akron Pros, Hammond Pros, Milwaukee Badgers, Providence Steam Roller, and Union Club of Phoenixville. During his time with the Akron Pros, he became their co-head coach, and he also coached the Hammond Pros, making him the first African-American head coach in the NFL. Pollard was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.