1939 Pittsburgh Pirates (NFL) season

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1939 Pittsburgh Pirates season
Head coach John McNally, Walt Kiesling
Owner Art Rooney
Home field Forbes Field
Results
Record 1–9–1
Division place 5th NFL Eastern
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers Byron Gentry
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1938 1940

The 1939 Pittsburgh Pirates finished the season under coaches John McNally and Walter Kielsling with club worst 1-9-1 record. They also finished last in their division for the second straight season. The 1939 team would be the last team to use the "Pirates" name. In 1940, they renamed the club to the Steelers to end confusion, and foster their own identity. The Pirates looked to finish with a winless season in 1939, however in their final game, they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-12 in Forbes Field. The team did however finished worst in the league at 1-9-1.

Offseason[edit]

1939 NFL Draft[edit]

Main article: 1939 NFL Draft
Pittsburgh Pirates 1939 NFL Draft selections
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Choice Overall
1 2 2 - - - Traded pick to Chicago
2 1 11 - - - Traded pick to Brooklyn
3 2 17 Billy Patterson Back Baylor Played 1 season for Steelers in 1940
4 1 26 Hugh McCullough Defensive Back Pittsburgh Played 1 season for Pirates in 1939
5 2 32 Ernie Wheeler Back North Dakota State Played for Cards and Steelers in 1939
6 1 41 Sam Boyd End Baylor Played 3 season for Pirates/Steelers
7 2 52 Eddie Palumbo Back Detroit
8 1 61 Ole Nelson End Michigan State
9 2 72 Steve Petro Guard Pittsburgh Played for Dodgers
10 1 81 Jack Lee Back Carnegie-Mellon
11 2 92 Lou Tomasetti Back Buckwell
12 1 101 Denny Cochran Back St. Louis Played 3 season for Pirates/Steelers
13 2 112 Fabian Hoffman End Pittsburgh
14 1 121 Ed Clary Back South Carolina
15 2 132 John Tosi Center Niagara
16 1 141 Al Lezouski Guard Pittsburgh
17 2 152 Ed Longhi Center Notre Dame
18 1 161 Dave Shirk End Kansas
19 2 172 Frank Peters End Washington
20 1 181 Tom Sheldrake End Washington

Pittsburgh's 1939 Draft (like many of the Steelers drafts from these days) was useless. The one player that played longer 1 season was Sam Boyd who played just 3 season for the Pirates/Steelers. The Pirates also traded their first two picks to Chicago and Brooklyn. The Bears would draft future Hall of Famer, QB Sid Luckman, and the Dodgers would select Clarence "Pug" Manders who eventually played 9 years of pro ball.

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result
1 September 14, 1939 @ Brooklyn Dodgers L 12-7
2 September 24, 1939 Chicago Cardinals L 10-0
3 October 2, 1939 Chicago Bears L 32-0
4 October 8, 1939 New York Giants L 14-7
5 October 15, 1939 @ Washington Redskins L 44-14
6 October 22, 1939 Washington Redskins L 21-14
7 October 29, 1939 @ Cleveland Rams T 14-14
8 November 6, 1939 @ Brooklyn Dodgers L 17-13
9 November 19, 1939 @ New York Giants L 23-7
10 November 23, 1939 @ Philadelphia Eagles L 17-14
11 November 26, 1939 Philadelphia Eagles W 24-12

Game Summaries[edit]

Week 1 (Thursday September 14, 1939): Brooklyn Dodgers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Pirates 0 7 0 0 7
Dodgers 3 7 0 2 12

at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 19,444
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Brooklyn – FG Kercheval 27
  • Pittsburgh – Platukis 30 pass from Wheeler (Niccolai kick)
  • Brooklyn – Parker 10 run (Kinard kick)
  • Brooklyn – Safety, Wheeler tackled in end zone by Hill

Week 2 (Sunday, September 24, 1939): Chicago Cardinals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Cardinals 7 0 0 3 10
Pirates 0 0 0 0 0

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 19,008
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Chicago Cardinals – Goldberg 4 run (Monahan kick)
  • Chicago Cardinals – FG Monahan 32

Week 3 (Monday October 2, 1939): Chicago Bears[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bears 0 13 13 6 32
Pirates 0 0 0 0 0

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 10,325
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Chicago Bears – Omanski 21 run (Stydahar kick)
  • Chicago Bears – Manske 24 pass from Masterson (kick failed)
  • Chicago Bears – Maniaci 75 run (kick failed)
  • Chicago Bears – Maniaci 4 run (Manders kick)
  • Chicago Bears – MacLeod 29 pass from Patterson (kick failed)

Between this game and the next, the Pirates shoehorned in a midseason exhibition game against the McKeesport Olympics, in McKeesport on October 4. The Pirates won that game, 9–6.[1]

Week 4 (Sunday October 8, 1939): New York Giants[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Giants 0 0 14 0 14
Pirates 0 7 0 0 7

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 9,663
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Johnson 1 run (Niccolai kick)
  • New York – Cuff 20 pass from Danowski (Cuff kick)
  • New York – Cuff 5 pass from Danowski (Cuff kick)

Week 5 (Sunday October 15, 1939): Washington Redskins[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Pirates 7 7 0 0 14
Redskins 13 6 19 6 44

at Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 25,982
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Washington – German 15 run (kick failed)
  • Pittsburgh – Francis run (Niccolai kick)
  • Washington – German 14 run (Russell kick)
  • Pittsburgh – McDonough 3 pass from Tomasetti (Niccolai kick)
  • Washington – Farkas 11 run (kick blocked)
  • Washington – Farkas 99 pass from Filchock (kick failed)
  • Washington – Todd 19 pass from Filchock (Todd kick)
  • Washington – Todd 60 run (kick failed)
  • Washington – Justice 33 run (kick failed)

Week 6 (Sunday October 22, 1939): Washington Redskins[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins 14 0 7 0 21
Pirates 0 7 0 7 14

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 8,602
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Washington – Millner 56 pass from Filchock (Russell kick)
  • Washington – Farkas 40 pass from Filchock (Russell kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Boyd pass from McDonough (Niccolai kick)
  • Washington – Irwin 25 run (Farkas kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Brumbaugh pass from McDonough (Niccolai kick)

Week 7 (Sunday October 29, 1939): Cleveland Rams[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Pirates 0 7 7 0 14
Rams 7 0 0 7 14

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 11,579
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Cleveland – Hall 88 run (Spadaccini kick)
  • Pittsburgh – McCullough 9 run (Niccolai kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Boyd 27 pass from McCullough (Niccolai kick)
  • Cleveland – Drake 3 run (Spadaccini kick)

Week 8 (Monday November 6, 1939): Brooklyn Dodgers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Pirates 0 3 3 7 13
Dodgers 0 7 7 3 17

at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 8,951
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Brooklyn – Schwartz 9 pass from Parker (Kinard kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Niccolai 25
  • Pittsburgh – FG Niccolai 37
  • Brooklyn – Parker 28 run (Kinard kick)
  • Brooklyn – FG Parker 28
  • Pittsburgh – Sortet 22 pass from McCullough (Niccolai kick)

Week 9 (Sunday November 19, 1939): New York Giants[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Pirates 0 0 0 7 7
Giants 7 7 3 7 24

at Polo Grounds, New York, NY

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 19,372
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • New York – Soar 2 run (Strong kick)
  • New York – FG Barnum 37
  • New York – FG Barnum 28
  • New York – FG Strong 24
  • Pittsburgh – Brumbaugh 19 run (Niccolai kick)
  • New York – Miller 21 run (Barnum kick)

Week 10 (Thursday November 23, 1939): Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Pirates 0 0 0 14 14
Eagles 0 7 3 7 17

at Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 20,000
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Philadelphia – Carter 65 pass from O'Brien (Murray kick)
  • Philadelphia – FG Murray 32
  • Pittsburgh – Brumbaugh 1 run (Niccolai kick)

Week 11 (Sunday November 26, 1939): Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Eagles 0 0 6 6 12
Pirates 3 14 7 0 24

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 8,788
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Niccolai 28
  • Pittsburgh – Johnston 2 run (Niccolai kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Tomasetti 1 run (Niccolai kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Platukis 37 pss from Brumbaugh (Niccolai kick)
  • Philadelphia – O'Brien 2 run (kick blocked)
  • Philadelphia – Bukant 3 run (kick blocked)

Standings[edit]

NFL Eastern
W L T PCT PF PA STK
New York Giants 9 1 1 .900 168 85 W-4
Washington Redskins 8 2 1 .800 242 94 L-1
Brooklyn Dodgers 4 6 1 .400 108 219 L-3
Pittsburgh Pirates 1 9 1 .100 114 216 W-1
Philadelphia Eagles 1 9 1 .100 105 200 L-2

References[edit]