Earl Potteiger was the coach for the New York Giants in their first championship season, 1927 (team photo detail above) – yet it is doubtful that many Giants fans would be familiar with his name. He was a rough and tumble guy from the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania, and his sports career before and after the New York Giants is a mix of professional and semi-professional football and baseball. Although his contract was bought by the New York Yankees from Worcester (Eastern League) in 1919, there is no record he ever appeared in a MLB game. His greater success came in the NFL.
The Professional Football Researchers Association says: His NFL career is rather odd in that he played in eight different seasons from 1920 to 1928 yet appeared in only 21 games. The reason may be that he was a coach or assistant in those seasons. One source says he became a pro in 1920 when he played two games for Buffalo, but it is likely he was being paid as early as 1913. In 1920, he was either 27 or 29 (sources vary). Either way, he was rather advanced in age for a pro at that time.
Apparently Potteiger was also involved in a basketball team the New York Giants put together as part of a 1925 post-season tour to Florida. A January, 1926 newspaper article promotes an upcoming game:
Potteiger’s career after football brought him in front of a judge on more than one occasion for violations of the prohibition laws – he was facing three years in prison when the laws were repealed.
Earl Potteiger died on April 7, 1959 – not one obituary mentioned his distinction of being the coach of the New York Giants for their first championship season.