McCracken played for the English club Newcastle United from 1904 to 1924, helping them win three League titles and the FA Cup. McCracken was so adept at catching the opposing teams forwards offside that he forced a change in the rules of the game.
In total he played 432 games for Newcastle, scoring 8 goals. After leaving Newcastle he went on to become Hull City manager in 1923 and he took them to the FA Cup semi-final in 1930. He left the club a year later.
McCracken is one of just a few players whose actions have brought changes the Laws Of Football when, as a centre-half at Newcastle, he masterminded the technique of making opposition forwards ruled "offside" when the rules stated that 3 defenders must be between the attacking player and the goal line. So successful was McCracken's defensive ploy that the Offside Rule was changed to "2 defenders" between the foremost attacker and the goal line".