April 20, 2019


Conshohocken Pros vs The Philadelphia Yellow Jackets



By Jack Coll


A week ago or so I gave a very brief history of Conshohocken’s Golden Era of early professional football and an elderly gentleman stopped by our shop to ask me if the early Conshohocken teams ever played the famed Frankford, (Philadelphia) Yellow Jackets. Well as a matter of fact they did, once in 1920, and again in 1921.

Coming off the championship year of 1919, Conshohocken had their worst year since joining the professional ranks. In 1920 the Conshy team suffered a number of loses. Following a loss to Holmesburg on a couple of McGuckin field goals Conshy played the Yellow Jackets the following week suffering another close loss 10-6.

The Yellow Jackets were the fore-runners of the Philadelphia Eagles football team and the following year in 1921 the two teams paired off again, and this time both teams were undefeated going into the contest. The game was played at Browns Field then located on Oxford Pike in Philadelphia. More than 8,000 fans witnessed the contest including more than 1,000 Conshohocken spectators who rode the train to view the game in a pouring rain.

After a scoreless first period Conshohocken got a break midway through the second period when Rollins blocked a punt and recovered the loose ball on the Yellow Jackets five yard Line. Rosetsky ran off-tackle and sliced his way into the end zone. Lukens kicked the goal and Conshy led at the half 7-0. The locals later increased their lead to 14-0 before Adams caught a touchdown pass for the Yellow Jackets late in the game. Conshohocken won the contest 14-7.



The 1921 team photo of the Conshohocken Pros show a number of their standout players including Pottierger, Mitchhel, Yeasbsley, Isenburg and Rosetsky. There was a Lukens on the team as well. The team won 11 games in 1921 losing one game to the Philadelphia Yellow Jackets 12-0.

After the Yellow Jackets won a championship in 1926 they struggled to hold the team together and by 1931 had ceased franchise operations. In 1933 Bert Bell and Lud Wray picked up the Philadelphia organization and renamed them the Philadelphia Eagles. Bert Bell owned and coached the team from 1933-1939. In 1940 Bell sold the team to Alexis Thompson and Greasy Neal was appointed head coach.

Interesting foot-note, on October 15, 1933 the Philadelphia Eagles played their first game at the Polo Grounds in New York City and lost 56-0 to the New York Giants. The Giants also beat the Eagles in their final game of the season on December 10, 1933, 20-14.

In 1933 the Giants posted an 11-3-0 record but lost the championship game to the Chicago Bears football team at the Polo Grounds. Johnny McBride a Conshohocken native and Syracuse University standout played for the New York Giants team that beat the Eagles in 1933. McBride was an East Tenth Avenue resident who married Dorothy Davis who had lived at 906 Fayette Street.

McBride played on the very first New York Giants team in 1925 and was a fullback blocking for the great Jim Thorpe. McBride played in the National Football League for eleven years from 1925-1935 on three different teams. In 1927, McBride was named the league’s Most Valuable Player over the great Harold “Red” Grange.



John McBride – Standing 3rd from the left played on the first New York Giants football team back in 1925. McBride is standing next to Jim Thorpe, called the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century. McBride lived in Conshohocken and attended Conshohocken High School.

Following his career McBride joined the Marines and became a Captain.

And that’s the way it was all those years ago when Conshohocken beat the famed Philadelphia Yellow Jackets, and Conshohocken native Johnny McBride strapped on a leather helmet and played for the National Football League.



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