On October 22, 1939, Merlin was a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers when they made history in pro football's first televised game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The game was played in Brooklyn's Ebbets Field before 13,000 people. The day before the pro contest, 70,000 fans had filled Yankee Stadium for a college game, but TV was going to change that pattern. None of the players knew the game was being broadcast to the nearly 1,000 TV sets in New York City. Brooklyn defeated the Eagles (with Jewish player Dave Smukler), 23-14.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. December 31, 1916-
Merlin, who played on the offensive line at Vanderbilt, was named Grantland Rice All-America honorable mention in both 1936 and 1937. In 1937, he was also named North American Newspaper Alliance All-Southern first team.
After graduating in 1938, Merlin was selected in the third round (33rd overall) by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the NFL Draft. He played two seasons for the Dodgers and appeared in 16 career NFL games. In 1938, the Dodgers finished 4-4-3, third in the NFL East. The following year, they had a record of 4-6-1 and again finished third in the NFL East. One of Merlin's teammates with Brooklyn was tackle Leo Disend.
In 1940, Merlin moved to the Milwaukee Chiefs of the American Football League, which finished second in the league that season with a record of 7-2-0. Like previous (and unrelated) AFLs, this league tried to challenge the supremacy of the NFL in professional football. Also like the previous attempts to form a rival league, this AFL failed after only two seasons. It would be another twenty years before an American Football League would succeed.
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Merlin played guard at Vanderbilt University from 1935-1937. He played guard in the NFL for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1938-1939, then played in the AFL with the Milwaukee Chiefs in 1940.
5'10", 210 pounds
Use links below to navigate through the football section of Jews In Sports.
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)