Marshall Goldberg

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Marshall Goldberg
Goldberg Owl1939pg279.jpg
Marshall Goldberg at Pitt in 1938
Born:(1917-10-25)October 25, 1917
Elkins, West Virginia
Died:April 3, 2006(2006-04-03) (aged 88)
Chicago, Illinois
Career information
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight190 lb (86 kg)
High schoolElkins (WV)
NFL draft1939 / Round: 2 / Pick: 12
Drafted byChicago Cardinals
Career history
As player
1939–1943, 1946–1948Chicago Cardinals
AwardsPittsburgh Panthers #42
Arizona Cardinals #99
HonorsAll American (1937, 1938)
All-Pro (1941)
Career stats
Rushing1,957 yards (college)
  1,644 yards, 11 TD (NFL)
Receiving775 yards, 5 TD (NFL)
Interceptions19 (NFL)
Kickoff returns844 yards, 1 TD (NFL)
Punt returns259 yards (NFL)
Military career
AllegianceUnited States
Years of service1943–45

Marshall Goldberg (October 25, 1917 – April 3, 2006) was a National Football League (NFL) All-Pro American football player. He played college football as a halfback and fullback at the University of Pittsburgh. 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 Chicago Cardinals of the NFL for eight seasons between 1939 and 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[edit]

Goldberg was born in Elkins, West Virginia, to a Jewish family.[1][2][3] Goldberg's father emigrated from Romania to Cumberland, Maryland, where he met and married Rebecca (Becky) Fram, daughter of a Cumberland shoemaker.[4] Family lore indicated that Sol Goldberg and Becky's brother, Benjamin, were friends,[5] who later become Marshall's mother.[6] 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.[7] He was named All-State in all three sports.

College career[edit]

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[edit]

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 next 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[edit]

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.[7]

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. However, he was not selected with the class of 2008. The Professional Football Researchers Association named Goldberg to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2007 [8]

His jersey number is retired by the Arizona Cardinals and he is in the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Eugene Fram
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b e-WV | Marshall ‘‘Biggie’’ Goldberg
  8. ^ "Hall of Very Good Class of 2007". Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2016.

Additional sources[edit]

External links[edit]