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History Happy Hour: The Founding Fathers of Football

The Founding Fathers of the NFL:  The Untold Story of Five Men who Turned an Amateur Endeavor into a Multi-Million Dollar Industry.

Join Jim Hewes, veteran bartender at the Willard InterContinental, and John Eisenberg, renowned sports columnist and author of "The League: How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire", as they recount the tumultuous early days of professional football, exploring the history of the game and how the devotion, dedication and overall persistence of George Halas (Chicago Bears), Bert Bell (Philadelphia Eagles), Art Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers), Tim Mara (New York Giants) and George Preston Marshall (Washington Redskins) propelled the league to what it is today.

Throughout the event, hear about:

  • The life and legacy of each of the founding fathers of professional football and how they collectively worked together to ensure the league succeeded
  • Hugh “Shorty” Ray, regarded as the “greatest contribution to the NFL” by the league’s co-founder George Halas
  • The challenges the league faced by the 1929 Stock Market Crash, the Great Depression and World War II
  • The creation of the annual player draft in 1936
  • How the rules of the game evolved
  • The Giants gambling scandal of 1946 and how it nearly undermined the success of the league
  • How radio and television revolutionized the game
  • Woody Strode and the reintegration of the NFL
  • The history of the Washington Redskins, one of the most storied franchises in the NFL

$54 per adult (21 years+)
(Includes 3 cocktails and light appetizers)


Guest Speaker:

John Eisenberg, sports columnist and author 

John Eisenberg is one of the country’s most acclaimed sportswriters. A native of Dallas, Texas and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he has written newspaper and website columns for nearly 40 years, mostly in Baltimore, where he opines on the hometown Ravens and Orioles and also has covered major events such as the World Series, Super Bowl and Olympics. He has won more than two dozen writing awards. John has also authored 10 bestselling books about baseball, horse racing and pro football. His most recent title is The League: How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire — a deep dive into the early days of pro football, lauded by reviewers as a definitive study of the subject.