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Wildcat Wilson

For other people of the same name, see George Wilson (disambiguation).
George Wilson
Date of birth: September 6, 1901
Place of birth: Everett, Washington
Date of death: December 27, 1963
Place of death: San Francisco, California
Career information
Position(s): Halfback
College: University of Washington
As player:
Los Angeles Wildcats (AFL)
Providence Steam Roller (NFL)
Career highlights and awards
Awards: Guy Flaherty Award 1925
Honors: Consensus All-American (College Football Hall of Fame

George "Wildcat" Wilson (September 6, 1901 - December 27, 1963) was an American football player, earning All-American honors as a halfback for the University of Washington Huskies.[1]

Collegiate career

George scored a career 37 touchdowns as a Husky, tying him with Joe Steele for a Husky record. His jersey #33 is also only 1 of 3 jerseys to be retired in Husky football history. Wilson had a standout game in the 1926 Rose Bowl. The legendary sportswriter Damon Runyan described it as such:[2]

“George Wilson, the slashing back of the Washington team, was splashing the Crimson Tide at will. Then he got hurt” (Runyon). Wilson was knocked out late in the second quarter and did not return until the fourth quarter. With Wilson on the bench, Alabama rallied to score 20 straight points. Alabama was on the move again when Wilson re-entered the game. The Huskies stopped the Crimson Tide at Washington’s 12. With Wilson leading the way, the Huskies drove down the field. Wilson hit John Cole with a 20 yard touchdown pass. It was too little, too late. Alabama won 20 to 19.

The Rose Bowl statistics confirmed the legend of George Wilson. With Wilson in the game, Washington gained 317 yards and scored 19 points. With Wilson on the sidelines for 22 minutes Washington gained only 17 yards and Alabama scored all of its 20 points. After the bitter loss, Wilson graciously told reporters “That Mack Brown was all they said of him and more”

Professional Football Career

Upon his graduation in 1926, he was enticed to join the first American Football League by agent and league co-founder C. C. Pyle, as a potential rival for Red Grange. Pyle named Wilson president of the league's traveling team, the Los Angeles Wildcats, for the upcoming 1926 AFL season. While Wilson was also nominally named the team's owner, Pyle and Grange actually paid the bills and filed the franchise's ownership papers.

Based in Chicago and training in Rock Island, Illinois, Wilson's Wildcats finished fourth in the nine-team league, with Wilson among the leaders in rushing touchdowns.[3]

Upon the demise of the AFL, Wilson joined the Providence Steam Roller of the National Football League, for which he played for three years. The championship year of 1928 featured Wilson as he was credited with five touchdowns and four interceptions as the Steam Roller won its only NFL championship.

Awards and Accomplishments

He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951, and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1991.[4]


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