‘Outlined Against a Blue, Gray October Sky … the Four Horsemen’

After being nicknamed the “Four Horsemen,” a Notre Dame publicity aide made arrangements to set up this photo. Signed by Don Miller, Elmer Layden, Jim Crowley and Harry Stuhldreher, this original photograph sold for $5,975 in November 2013.

By Jim O’Neal

In 1941, Elmer Layden left Notre Dame to become the first commissioner of the NFL.

If that name sounds familiar, it is probably because he was one of the “Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.”

Layden’s teammates included Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller and Jim Crowley. Coach Knute Rockne had devised the line-up in 1922, but it took the great sportswriter Grantland Rice to ensure their immortality after a 13-7 victory over Army in 1924.

Rice penned the most famous line in the history of sports journalism:

“Outlined against a blue, gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again.”

All four players were elected (easily) to the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame.


There has been a debate about who had the worst temper in tennis … John McEnroe or Jimmy Conners.


In 1986, Conners threw one of his famous tantrums in the fifth set of the semi-finals in the Lipton International Players Championships.

After a close call, he first stormed over to the umpire’s chair. No relief. Then, he began ranting and screaming while running around the court. Still no help. Finally, when it seemed clear that the call would stand, he took his racket, packed his gear and left the court.

The effect was a forfeit of the match to opponent Ivan Lendl, who had been quietly observing the antics. Later, Conner was fined $5,000.


In May 1955 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Charlie Dumas high-jumped 6 feet 9½ inches and won the California State High School championship. In the process, he broke the all-time U.S. National Inter-Scholastic Record by 4½ inches. Don’t recall where I was … probably at the beach.

However, on June 29, 1956, I picked him up and we drove to the same Los Angeles Coliseum for the U.S. Olympic trials. Our tickets were not at the box office as promised, and we both had to pay a 25-cent admission.

It was worth it.

Not only did Charlie qualify, on his third and last jump, he set a new world record and became the first person in history to high jump the magical 7 feet.

He then won the Olympic gold medal at the 1956 Summer Games in Melbourne, and set another world record.

Jim O'NielIntelligent Collector blogger JIM O’NEAL is an avid collector and history buff. He is President and CEO of Frito-Lay International [retired] and earlier served as Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Restaurants International [KFC Pizza Hut and Taco Bell].

In Super Bowl’s Afterglow, Let’s Remember All-Time Great Paul Hornung

This 1957 Topps Paul Hornung trading card #151, PSA Mint 9, realized $28,800 at a February 2017 auction.

By Jim O’Neal

Super Bowl I was played on Jan. 15, 1967, in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum (yes, I was there) and the Green Bay Packers (NFL) defeated the Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) in a lopsided game, 35-10.

The only player on the Green Bay roster who did not play was the all-time great Paul Hornung, due to a pinched neck nerve.

Hornung was an all-around player that Coach Vince Lombardi had labeled “the most versatile player in football.” He played halfback (primarily), but also quarterback and placekicker (field goals and PAT).

In 1960 (the last year of 12-game seasons), he set the single season scoring record of 176 points … a record that lasted 46 years until 2006, after the league had extended the season to 14 games. The following year, 1961, he set the NFL record for most points scored (19) in an NFL Championship game.

Later in his career, he became the oldest player to score five touchdowns in a single game (29 years and 354 days old).

But it all really got started at Notre Dame, where he also played basketball. In 1956, he won the Heisman Trophy despite playing on a mediocre team. Mighty Notre Dame was 2-8 that year and Hornung was the only player to win the Heisman with a losing team. Many consider Hornung the greatest all-around player in Notre Dame history.

The Heisman Trophy was named in honor of John Heisman, who was a coach at Georgia Tech when the team beat Cumberland College 222-0 in 1916. In that game, kicker Jim Preas had 16 straight point-after-touchdowns, a single game record. Sportswriter Grantland Rice wrote, “Cumberland’s finest play was when halfback Allen circled right end for a 6-yard loss.”

Back to Paul Hornung. As a player, he was the first (only?) to win the Heisman, be drafted first in the NFL, win the NFL MVP, and then be inducted into the High School, College and NFL halls of fame.

He also had a great sense of humor. He often said, “Never get married in the morning. You just never know who you might meet that night.” However, he did get married in the morning and when asked about it replied, “Well, if it didn’t work out, I didn’t want to blow the whole day.”

P.S. Hornung and Alex Karras were suspended for a year in 1963 for alleged gambling. Commissioner Pete Rozelle ran a tight ship.

Jim O'NielIntelligent Collector blogger JIM O’NEAL is an avid collector and history buff. He is President and CEO of Frito-Lay International [retired] and earlier served as Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Restaurants International [KFC Pizza Hut and Taco Bell].