With the Giants coming to Washington for a Thursday night game, the Redskins are facing the dreaded Short Work Week. But at least they don’t have to game plan for Butch Gibson, the all-pro lineman for the Giants in the ’30s. According to a Ripley’s Believe It or Not cartoon that ran in newspapers, the 5-foot-9, 204-pound Gibson was so powerful he could “tear a deck of cards into SIXTEENTHS with his BARE HANDS!”
Try that sometime. (Heck, try tearing a deck in half.)
There was something else about Gibson that was unusual: He didn’t wear a typical leather helmet. “He wore one of those boxer’s headgears,” one of his opponents, Glenn Presnell of the Portsmouth Spartans, once told me. Butch probably wanted to protect himself against head slaps — which were legal in that era — and also avoid developing cauliflower ears (another hazard of the early years).
Here’s the classic Ripley’s cartoon: