|Date of birth:||March 22, 1907|
|Place of birth:||New York City, New York|
|Date of death:||February 5, 2001(aged 93)|
|Place of death:||Carrollton, Georgia|
|Height:||5 ft 1 in (1.55 m)|
|Weight:||119 lb (54 kg)|
|College:||New York University|
Career NFL statistics
|Stats at NFL.com|
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
Jack Emanuel "Soapy" Shapiro (March 22, 1907 – February 5, 2001) was a professional football player who played in one game with the Staten Island Stapletons of the National Football League (NFL) in 1929. Shapiro is most famous for being the shortest player in NFL history at 5'0½". His true nickname was "Soupy" not "Soapy" simply because he liked eating soup (the nickname was given by his family). He was featured on the special, NFL Films Presents: One-game Wonders.
Shapiro was born in New York City in 1907. His parents immigrated to the United States with their four boys and three girls, as well as their niece. Jack was the only one of his family to be born in America. His father and two of his brothers did odd jobs for a living, resulting in earnings of $9.00 a week. His family was of Jewish descent. His father was against Jack playing sports because two of his brothers had broken their legs playing football and soccer. In order to play, Jack forged his father's signature on the injury release form.
Shapiro attended Evander Child High School in the Bronx. While in high school, he was a starter on the football team for three straight years. However during the last game in his senior year, he was injured and was forced out of the game. His playing weight in high school was 85 pounds.
Prior to joining the Stapletons, Shapiro played college football while attending New York University. He played fullback for the Violets in 1927 when the team posted a 7-1-2 record while outscoring their opponents by 345-65. He joined the NYU team his freshman year as a "walk on". However by his sophomore year, he was given a full scholarship and was awarded a varsity letterman that season.
Afterwards Shapiro moonlighted as a professional football player for a team in Meriden, Connecticut. The team was sponsored by the Sons of Italy. There Jack was paid $50 plus transportation lodging, and meal costs. To keep his identity a secret, so that he could keep his amateur status, Shapiro played under the assumed name of "Murphy".
In 1929, Shapiro played in one NFL game with Staten Island. As the shortest player in the history of the NFL, Shapiro played as a blocking back in the Stapletons' 34-0 victory over the Minneapolis Red Jackets. However Shapiro later stated that he was on the Stapletons roster for five games, playing in two regular-season games and one exhibition game. The regular-season games were late in the season against the Minneapolis Red Jackets and Orange Tornadoes.
Shapiro received recognition in the 1999 Guinness Book of Records as being the shortest player on record in NFL history.
- Jews in Sports profile
- Bashore, Mel (1999). ""Cup of Coffee" Players: Jack Shapiro" (PDF). Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 21 (4): 1–2.