"It Was A Different Game" by Elmer Layden with Ed Snyder


"Outlined against a blue gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. in dramatic lore, they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction, and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden."

The morning after Grantland Rice's article appeared in print, Elmer Layen woke up not just a member of another college football backfield, but as one of the "Four Horsemen of Notre Dame." Along with Stuhldreher, Crowley, and Miller, the young fullback from Davenport, Iowa, had become a legend in his own time.

With Jim Thorpe still active, a new Red Grange entering the ranks, and those "immortal Four" charging down the field, 1924 and the years that followed marked the first golden age of football. Here Elmer Layden evokes a nostalgic picture of that bygone era and of the game as it was so colorfully played. It is also his life story, told with warmth and filled with anecdotes, about his experiences both on and off the fields of sport.

From his early days in Iowa and his years at Notre Dame, to his varsity coaching seasons at Duquesne and later at his alma mater, Elmer Layden stood out as a man, a coach, and an athlete. In addition to football, he made a name for himself on Notre Dame's track team and basketball squad, and won the approval of such legendary sports figures as Knute Rockne, "Pop Warner," and Ernie Nevers. Later, as a coach, his path crossed those of the other great coaches of the day-men like Stagg, Schmidt, and Yost who helped to make football one of America's most popular pastimes.

Although Elmer Layden wound up his active football career when he stepped down from his position as the first commissioner of the National Football League, the impact he made on the sport can still be felt. For Elmer Layden was one coach who really believed that football was a sport in the days when IT WAS A DIFFERENT GAME.

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