Marshall Goldberg

American football player (1917–2006)

American football player
Marshall Goldberg
refer to caption
Goldberg with the Pittsburgh Panthers in 1938
No. 42, 89, 99
Return specialist
Personal information
Born:(1917-10-24)October 24, 1917
Elkins, West Virginia, U.S.
Died:April 3, 2006(2006-04-03) (aged 88)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school:Elkins
College:Pittsburgh (1936–1938)
NFL draft:1939 / Round: 2 / Pick: 12
Career history
  • Chicago Cardinals (1939–1943; 1946–1948)
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:1,644
Rushing average:3.5
Rushing touchdowns:11
Receiving yards:775
Receiving touchdowns:5
Return yards:1,083
Return touchdowns:1
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1943–1945
Rank Lieutenant
Player stats at PFR
College Football Hall of Fame

Marshall Goldberg (October 24, 1917 – April 3, 2006) was an American football back and return specialist who played for the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football as a halfback and fullback for the Pittsburgh Panthers. At Pittsburgh, Goldberg was twice recognized as a consensus All-American, and played on two national championship teams under head coach Jock Sutherland. Goldberg played for the Cardinals for eight seasons from 1939 to 1948, with an interruption during World War II, and was a four-time All-Pro. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1958.

Early life

Goldberg was born in Elkins, West Virginia, to a Jewish family.[1][2][3] Goldberg's father Sol emigrated from Romania to Cumberland, Maryland, where he met and married Rebecca (Becky) Fram, daughter of a Cumberland shoemaker.[4] Family lore has it that Sol Goldberg and Becky's brother, Benjamin, were friends.[5] The couple settled in the small mountain community of Elkins, West Virginia, some 170 miles (270 km) from Pittsburgh, where they set up a ladies clothing store.

Goldberg attended Elkins High School, where he was captain of the basketball, football, and track teams.[6] He was named All-State in all three sports.

College career

At the University of Pittsburgh, under coach Jock Sutherland, he led the Pitt Panthers to back-to-back national championships in 1936 and 1937. Goldberg's 1936 team won the 1937 Rose Bowl. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1937 and was runner-up for the Heisman in 1938. He was also an All-American in both 1937 and 1938, first as a halfback and then as a fullback. During his Pitt career he amassed 1,957 rushing yards, a school record that stood until 1974 when Tony Dorsett surpassed it. Goldberg was part of Pitt's legendary Dream Backfield along with Dick Cassiano, John 'Chick' Chickerneo, & Curly Stebbins. Some experts consider Pitt's Dream Backfield superior to the more famous Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.

Professional career

Goldberg was drafted in the second round of the 1939 NFL Draft.[7] After college Goldberg played in the National Football League for the Chicago Cardinals from 1939 to 1943, interrupted by his service during World War II in the United States Navy, then again from 1946 to 1948. The team won the NFL Championship in 1947, and won their division the following year. Goldberg was a four-time NFL All-Pro.[2]

Goldberg joined the Navy in 1943 and spent two years in the South Pacific rising to the rank of lieutenant. He worked in the insurance industry after his football career ended. In 1965, he took over a machine parts company, Marshall Goldberg Machine Tools Ltd., of Rosemont, Illinois.

Honors and death

Goldberg was elected by Sports Illustrated to the 1930s College Football Team of the Decade. In 1958, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame and several other halls of fame, including that of the City of Pittsburgh, the West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame, and the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[6]

Goldberg died in 2006 at age 88 at a nursing home in Chicago. Following his death, his daughter, Ellen Tullos, and his widow, Rita Goldberg, helped to set up The Marshall Goldberg Traumatic Brain Injury Fund at The University of Illinois at Chicago. Goldberg had sustained a number of concussions during his career, which the family felt contributed to difficulties later in his life. This fund has been instrumental in bringing attention to the problem of head injury in athletes. On August 24, 2007, Goldberg and Emmitt Thomas were selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee as finalists for election into the Hall of Fame with the Class of 2008 but was not selected. The Professional Football Researchers Association named Goldberg to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2007.[8]

His #99 jersey number was retired by the Arizona Cardinals, and he is in the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor. On March 2, 2021, Goldberg's daughter gave her blessing to former Houston Texans defensive end J. J. Watt to wear the previously retired #99.[9]

See also


  1. ^ The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports ... - Peter S. Horvitz - Google Books
  2. ^ a b The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame - Joseph M. Siegman - Google Books
  3. ^ The 100 Greatest Jews in Sports: Ranked According to Achievement - B. P. Robert Stephen Silverman - Google Books
  4. ^ Eugene Fram, son of Benjamin Fram cited 2014
  5. ^ Peter Levin (September 1993). Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 212. ISBN 0-19-508555-8.
  6. ^ a b e-WV | Marshall "Biggie" Goldberg
  7. ^ "1939 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved 2023-03-27.
  8. ^ "Hall of Very Good Class of 2007". Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  9. ^ "Marshall Goldberg's daughter says J. J. Watt can wear No. 99". ProFootballTalk. 2 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.

Additional sources

  • Zeise, Paul (May 6, 2006). "Marshall Goldberg, legendary Pitt back, dies at 88". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  • Berkow, Ira (April 7, 2006). "Marshall Goldberg, 88, Who Led 2 Teams to Football Titles, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  • International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame profile

External links

  • v
  • t
  • e
Chicago Cardinals 1939 NFL draft selections
  • v
  • t
  • e
Arizona Cardinals
  • Founded in 1898
  • Played in Chicago (1920–1959), St. Louis (1960–1987), and formerly the Phoenix Cardinals (1988–1993)
  • Based in Glendale, Arizona
  • Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona
Division championships (7)
Conference championships (1)
League championships (2)
Retired numbers
Current league affiliations
  • Category
  • v
  • t
  • e
Arizona Cardinals retired numbers

(*) number was unretired during J. J. Watt's time with the Cardinals

  • v
  • t
  • e
  • v
  • t
  • e
  • v
  • t
  • e
1936 Pittsburgh Panthers football—national champions
  • v
  • t
  • e
1937 Pittsburgh Panthers football—AP national champions
  • v
  • t
  • e