Five years ago I wrote an article about Steve Owen for Gridiron Greats magazine (Steve Owen) I’ll begin this post with the same paragraph: I remember Steve Owen as a very big man. Of course, I was just a kid tagging along with my father to a Giants practice at the Polo Grounds and I was surrounded by big men – men who liked to leave a dent when they shook your hand.
Since that article was written I’ve added three significant Steve Owen items to the collection. The first is a photo of Steve and his wife and my father the night before Steve’s last game as head coach of the New York Giants. Steve is holding the ball from the famous “Sneakers” game when the Giants beat the Chicago Bears on the frozen Polo Grounds to win the 1934 NFL Championship
This picture was taken when I was 7 years old, so that view looking up at my father is very familiar to me.
The next year Steve was among many sports celebrities who gathered at Toots Shor’s restaurant on October 3, 1954 for what was originally planned to be a celebration of the publication of The Tumult and the Shouting by famed sportswriter Grantland Rice. Rice, however, had died before the book was published and so the celebration became a memorial. This is Steve’s copy of Rice’s book from that night, inscribed to him by Earle Greasy Neale, sportswriter Frank Graham, Ken Strong, and Elmer Layden.
It’s interesting to note that Ken Strong wrote “Still My Coach”
Finally, this pendant was given to Steve and to the Giants players for winning the 1934 NFL Championship – the “Sneakers Game” mentioned above. Steve had been Captain of the Giants when they won the 1927 NFL Championship in the days before the league was divided into two divisions and a playoff game established, but this was his first win as a coach and a unique piece of NFL history.