Landsberg, Mort : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Landsberg, Mort

Mortimer W. Landsberg Jr.

A member of the Cornell football team, Landsberg was a participant in the famed "Fifth Down" game in 1940 against Dartmouth. Cornell had won 14 consecutive games, but were down 3-0 with 4:30 left to play when they regained possession of the ball. They marched down the field to the Dartmouth 5-yard line. Referee Lefty Friesell lost track of downs and awarded the Cornell team an extra down -- so the Big Red scored a touchdown on fifth down. Dartmouth protested without success and Cornell kicked the extra point to win, 7-3.

Two days later, Cornell reviewed the game film and agreed they had been given a fifth down. The Cornell Athletic Director sent a telegram to Dartmouth which said, "Cornell relinquishes claim to the victory and extends congratulations to Dartmouth." This is the only time a college game's result has been decided off the field.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 25, 1919 - d. December 31, 1970

Career Highlights:
Landsberg played as a back at Cornell for two seasons and helped lead them to an 8-0-0 record and a No. 4 ranking in 1939. The following year, they won their first six games before the infamous "fifth down" game. The Big Red finished the season with two consecutive losses (Dartmouth and Penn) for a record of 6-2-0 and were ranked No. 15.

After graduating in 1941, Landsberg was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 20th round (204th overall, and the last pick) of the NFL Draft. In 1941, he played in 11 games for the Philadelphia Eagles, who finished 2-8-1 and in fourth place in the NFL East. Landsberg rushed 23 times for 69 yards and had five receptions for 51 yards; he also had two interceptions as a defensive back.

During World War II, Mort was a Marine pilot before returning to play professional football. In 1947, he played in six games in the All-American Football Conference for the Los Angeles Dons, who finished 7-7; one of his teammates was All-AAFC lineman Butch Levy.

Origin:
New York City

Career Dates:
Landsberg played as a back at Cornell University from 1939-1940. He then played halfback and defensive back in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1941 and for the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Conference in 1947.

Physical description:
5'11", 180 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NFL:
Games:11

Rushes: 23
Rushing yards: 69
Rushing average: 3.0

Receptions: 5
Receiving yards: 51
Receiving average: 10.2

Interceptions: 2
Interception return yards: 45

Punt returns: 2
Punt return yards: 15 yards
Punt return average: 7.5

Kick returns: 2
Kick return yards: 49
Kick return average: 24.5

In the AAFC:
Games: 7

Rushes: 2
Rushing yards: -11
Rushing average: -5.5
Receptions: 1 Receiving yards: 0



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References:
The Encyclopedia of Football, by Roger Treat (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1976 -- 14th Edition)
Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)


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