Zach, Erie, PA
Subj: The long and short of it
Who is the shortest player in NFL history?
That distinction belongs to Jack “Soapy” Shapiro, a 5’0½” fullback who played one game with the Staten Island Stapletons in 1929. Prior to suiting up in the pros, Shapiro was a key player on the 1927 New York University football team, leading the Violets to a respectable 7-1-2 record and helping the team to outscore their opponents by an eye-popping margin of 345-65. Although Shapiro’s tenure in the NFL was limited, one little guy who did flourish was Buddy Young, a 5’4” runningback who averaged 3.8 yards a carry during an outstanding six year career. A former world record holder in the 60 yard dash, “The Bronze Bullet,” was so impressive in 1954 that he was even named to his first – and only – Pro Bowl. "He was like a toy football player," recalls former teammate Gino Marchetti. "But he could do it all. The most amazing thing about Buddy is he had no hip pads at that time, no thigh pads and played with a pair of shoulder pads you wouldn't let your son wear, and like so many players in that era, Young refused to wear a face mask." Young went onto become the Director of Player Relations for the NFL before dying in a tragic car crash in 1983.