Dutch Sternaman
Born:February 9, 1895
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died:February 1, 1973(1973-02-01) (aged 77)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Career information
Position(s)Halfback
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight176 lb (80 kg)
CollegeIllinois
Career history
As player
1920-1927Decatur Staleys/Chicago Staleys/Chicago Bears
As co-owner
1921-1931Chicago Staleys/Chicago Bears
Career highlights and awards

Edward "Dutch" Sternaman (February 9, 1895 – February 1, 1973) was an American player, coach, and owner in professional football for the NFL's Chicago Bears.

During the 1910s, Sternaman and George Halas excelled on the Illinois Fighting Illini football team. In 1919, Sternaman was contacted by executives from the Arcola, Illinois (Independants) football team and asked to assemble a roster strong enough to exact revenge on A. E. Staley's team following a 41–0 loss.[1] Although Sternaman agreed, the Staleys were not present when they became aware of the plan. Staley later approached Sternaman to increase the team's competitiveness, but he declined as he was close to finishing his mechanical engineering degree at Illinois.[2]

In 1920, Halas assumed control of the Staleys, and Sternaman was the first player to sign with the team.[3] During the 1920 season, Sternaman would rush for 11 touchdowns.[4] He was also known for his kicking prowess, finishing his career with 21 field goals and 28 extra points when including 1920.[5] When the team moved to Chicago in 1921, Halas "offered" 50 percent of the club to Sternaman.[6] At season's end, the two competed with agent Bill Harley for ownership of the Staleys The other owners in the American Professional Football Association (now National Football League) decided in favour of the Halas/Sternaman partnership by an 8–2 vote. The Staleys were renamed the Bears in 1922.[7] Joey Sternaman, Dutch's younger brother, also played for the team.

For the next decade, Halas was the face of the franchise, representing the Bears at league meetings. Although Sternaman was a full partner, he largely stayed in the background.

Reflecting how low the NFL ranked on the sports scene, the Bears had a difficult time making ends meet even with Red Grange on the roster. Both Halas and Sternaman had to work other jobs, especially in the offseason. The Great Depression only exacerbated the problem. At the same time, Sternaman had lost money after a series of investments went sour. With the rest of his money tied up in the Bears, Sternaman arranged for Halas to buy him out. The agreement had a deadline for Halas to make final payment or lose everything he had invested to Sternaman. According to Halas, he made the final payment with just minutes to spare.

According to the Staley Museum, however, Halas and Sternaman agreed to submit sealed bids for the other man's half of the team, with Halas submitting the winning bid of $38,000. Reportedly no one apart from Halas, Sternaman or the two partners' lawyers knew the value of Sternaman's bid.

In 1948, he coached at North Park University in Chicago.

References

  1. ^ www.ArcolaIllinois.org
  2. ^ Sorensen, Mark W. "History of the Decatur Staleys / Chicago Bears". Staley Museum. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  3. ^ Sorensen, Mark W. "George Stanley Halas". Staley Museum. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  4. ^ http://www.profootballresearchers.org/members-only/Linescores/1920Linescore.pdf
  5. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SterDu20.htm
  6. ^ Willis 2010, p. 141–142.
  7. ^ Willis 2010, p. 148.