Pro Football program of the game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The New York Football Giants was created in 1925 by owner Tim Mara with an investment of $500, he would go on to bring home eight NFL championships, four of which were Superbowl championships, until his death in 1959. By 1930, the Great Depression was in full swing with the citizens of New York suffering greatly. However, the football team was not suffering from lack of funds during this time, but from lack of popularity. Pro Football was fourth in line of major sports in New York behind baseball, college football, and boxing. College football was huge at this time bringing in 50,000 to 70,000 people per game with the bigger universities, such as Columbia, Fordham, and New York University, dominated the Eastern US behind Notre Dame. The games were played at the local polo grounds or at Yankee Stadium. When the Giants played, their attendance was only about 10,000 because most of the fan base viewed pro football players as a bunch of has-beens still trying to play after college instead of working.1

The New York Giants playing a game.

Despite the success of the Giants championships in the late 1920s and the success of college football both still suffered under the boot of baseball until the world series had concluded every year. By 1930, the other major sports plummeted in popularity due to the depression in which the football giants began to rise out of the ashes with a solid popularity boost due to an exhibition game against none other than the Notre Dame All-Stars.  Famed coach of the era, Knute Rockne agreed to an exhibition game against the giants for charity purposes to help raise funds for the citizens that were hit the hardest which also boosted the NFL’s reputation and popularity. The mayor of New York knew that with Rockne coming in the grounds would fill with 55,000 strong in fans and wagered that $100,000 in funds would be reached. At half time the Notre Dame coach ran into Giants president Harry March stating “I came here to help a charity,” Rockne told him. “You are making us look bad. Slow up, will you? I don’t want to go home and be laughed at. Lay off next half.” The Giants then put in their backup players and still destroyed the All-Stars with a final score of 22-0, a few days later Tim Mara handed Mayor Walker a check for $115,000 for his relief fund. Rockne did not get much of a chance to live down the loss. Three months later, while he was on his way to Hollywood to assist in the making of the film “The Spirit of Notre Dame”, the airplane he was flying in broke apart in the skies over Kansas, killing all eight people aboard.2