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John McNally
Date of birth November 27, 1903(1903-11-27)
Place of birth New Richmond, Wisconsin, United States
Date of death November 28, 1985 (aged 82)
Position(s) Halfback
Head Coach
College St Johns University
Honors NFL 1930s All-Decade Team
Career record 6-19-0
Playing stats DatabaseFootball
Coaching stats DatabaseFootball
Team(s) as a player
Milwaukee Badgers
Duluth Eskimos
Pottsville Maroons
Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Pirates
Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Pirates
Buffalo Tigers (AFL)
Team(s) as a coach/administrator
1937-1939 Pittsburgh Pirates
Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1963

John Victor "Blood" McNally (November 27, 1903 – November 28, 1985) was an American football player who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Early life

A native of New Richmond, Wisconsin McNally was an intelligent and unathletic youth who graduated from high school at age 14. He blossomed into an athlete while at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he became the captain of the basketball team and a letterman in track, baseball, and football, all in his junior year.

"Johnny Blood"

With one year of college eligibility left, McNally and a friend decided to join a professional football team. While passing by a movie theater, McNally saw the title of the film Blood and Sand on the marquee. He turned to his friend and said, "That's it. You be Sand. I'll be Blood."

Using the alias "Johnny Blood" — an alias that became his nickname — McNally was able to play professional football without losing his college eligibility.

Career highlights

McNally played in the National Football League for 14 seasons, with five different teams. In his prime, McNally was 6'1" and 188 lbs., known for his speed, agility, and pass-catching ability. He got his professional start in 1925 with the Milwaukee Badgers, where he became famous as the "Vagabond Halfback" for his off-the-field behavior and spontaneity. In 1926 and 1927 he played for the Duluth Eskimos, and in 1928 he played with the Pottsville Maroons.

Between 1929 and 1936 he played with the Green Bay Packers, with whom he won four championships. In 1937, he moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers (then called the Pirates), where on his first play he ran back a kick 92 yards for a touchdown. He ended his NFL career in 1939 as the head coach of the Pirates. One day in 1941, McNally took a day off from his coaching duties for the Kenosha Cardinals minor league football team and played one game with the Buffalo Tigers of the third American Football League. From 1950-1952, he coached football at Saint John's where he amassed 13-9 record during his three year stint.

Later in life

McNally's spontaneous and bizarre behavior didn't stop with his football career. On one occasion, out of boredom, he climbed to the top of a train, walked to the engineer's car, dropped through the ceiling, and spent the rest of the trip entertaining the drivers.

In the Second World War, McNally served as a cryptographer in India. He returned to Saint John's at age 42 to finish his economics degree and write a textbook on the subject.

McNally was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

Johnny Blood's life and career are the basis for the character Dodge Connolly in the movie Leatherheads. The character is played by George Clooney.


Preceded by
Joe Bach
Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach
Succeeded by
Walt Kiesling


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