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Johnny Budd

Sport: Football

Born: January 14, 1899

Died: December 26, 1963

Town: Newton

John Walter Budd was born January 14, 1899 in Newton. A big, burly kid with strong legs, Johnny was the star of the Blair Academy football squad. Johnny enrolled at Lafayette College in 1922. The Leopards were one of the nation’s top teams in the era between World War I and World War II. Under coach Herb McCracken, the team went in 7–2 in Johnny's junior year and 7–1–1 in his senior year. The 1925 squad was led by Johnny, Red Gebhard and Frank Kirkleski. The year after Johnny graduated, Lafayette went 9–0 and claimed the 1926 national championship.

Johnny decided to try his hand at pro football and signed with the Frankford Yellow Jackets, who played in Philadelphia. Because of blue laws in the city, the team played home games on Saturdays and often scheduled league and non-league games on the road on Sundays, playing on back-to-back days.

Johnny played right tackle for the Yellow Jackets and shared the team’s kicking duties with Hap Moran. He booted 6 field goals that season, including the difference-makers in victories over the New York Giants and Buffalo Rangers. His longest kick was 42 yards, in the Giants game. Frankford tied its first and last game, and lost just once, against the Providence Steam Roller on October 30. The sting of that 7–6 home loss lasted exactly one day. The following afternoon, the Yellow Jackets beat Providence on their home field by a score of 6–0.

BuddActionFrankford’s 14–1–2 record gave them undisputed claim to the NFL title over the Chicago Bears, who were 12–1–3, with their only loss coming against the Yellow Jackets in a December 4th game in Chicago. After the season, Johnny was named to the NFL’s All-Pro team. He was the only member of his team to earn consensus first-team honors. Other Yellow Jackets getting recognition were Rudy Comstock, who played beside Johnny at guard, and runners Tex Hamer and Hust Stockton.

After the season, Johnny and his teammates received watches commemorating their championship. Johnny celebrated by purchasing a new Cadillac from a Philadelphia dealership for $1,200.

In 1927, Johnny signed to play with the Pottsville Maroons. He was a member of the Maroons for two years before leaving the NFL. He continued his football career with independent teams, including the Millville Big Blue in South Jersey, who played against NFL teams in non-league games.

Johnny passed away at age 64 the day after Christmas in 1963.


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