Football: The Parting of Papa

It is not quite accurate to say that George Stanley Halas invented pro football. He was, after all, only seven months old in 1895 when the first pro game was played. But after almost five decades as player, coach and owner, "Papa Bear" of the Chicago Bears does have a couple of impressive credits in the football record book. One is the longest run (98 yds.) with a recovered fumble (the fumbler: Jim Thorpe) in the history of the National Football League. Another is the National Football League.

Halas organized the N.F.L. in...