Name: Earle “Greasy” Neale
Pro Career: 1941 – 1950
Team Affiliation(s): Philadelphia Eagles
College: West Virginia Wesleyan
Induction Class: 1969
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Brief Bio: One of the overlooked coaching greats of all time, Earle “Greasy” Neale turned the second-tier Philadelphia Eagles franchise into an NFL perennial power in the 1940s. When Neale took over as head coach of the struggling Eagle club in 1941, it took just three years before they began finishing second place in the Eastern Division and just another three years before they won their first divisional crown. His offense was led by quarterback Tommy Thompson and future HOFers Pete Pihos and Steve Van Buren. His legendary “Eagle Defense,” the predecessor to the still popular 4-3 formation, was stifling and helped win two straight NFL championships via shutouts; the only team to ever do so. Before his NFL coaching days, Neale was a long-time college coaching great, taking his Washington and Jefferson squad to the 1922 Rose Bowl. He was also a gifted athlete and played on Jim Thorpe’s pre-WWI Canton Bulldog team and was an outfielder who batted .357 for the Cincinnati Reds in the infamous “Black Sox” World Series of 1919.
Career Stats: 66-44-5 coaching record (0.596 winning pct)
Featured Card: 1990 Swell Greats #55. As a coach in the 1940s, Greasy Neale never had a true rookie card and no actual vintage football cards at all. He does, however, have numerous modern cards from legends-themed sets, such as the 1990 Swell Greats pictured, that can generally be found for less than $5. If your collection is not football exclusive, Neale does have some baseball cards from his playing days with the Reds, including a few WWI-era postcards, as well as several modern cards from legend-themed sets such as the 1981 and 1992 Conlon Collection sets.
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