Cliff Battles Running Back
Cliff Battles was born on May 1, 1910 in Akron, Ohio. The 6-1 195 pound running back played his college football at West Virginia Wesleyan and played his pro ball for the Boston Braves who became the Boston Redskins, and then the Washington Redskins from 1932 until 1937. He played for $3000 per year each year he was in the league and retired prematurely at age 27 because the Redskins owner would not give him a raise.

Cliff Battles #20

Player Info

Height 6' 1"
Weight 195 lbs
DOB: 5/1/1910
Running Back


NFL Draft

Pre NFL Draft

Career Highlights

All Pro 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937
Honors Pro Football Hall of Fame
70 Greatest Redskins
NFL 1930's All Decade Team

Team(s) As A Player

Washington Redskins 1932-1937

Cliff Battles Sets Single Game Rushing Record

During an October 8, 1933 game against the New York Giants, Cliff Battles set an NFL record that would stand for about 17 years. He ran the football 16 times for 215 yards (most yards rushing in a game) as the Redskins beat the Giants 21-20. (2) Benny Friedman, a great football player in his own right said, “There are the two greatest backs I ever saw. I thought I could pass until I saw Baugh today, and I thought Red Grange was a runner until I saw Battles. Red wasn't in Battles' class.” (1) 

Cliff Battles Goes Out with a Bang

As a result of not getting a raise, Battles retired from pro football after the 1937 season. (3) Before he did though, he went out on top by helping the Redskins defeat the Chicago Bears in the 1937 NFL Championship Game 28-21, scoring the game’s first touchdown. 

A week earlier, Cliff Battles had a game for the ages against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in New York before 58000 fans, including 7000 who were cheering for the Redskins to go to the NFL Championship Game. Battles carried the football 24 times for 170 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. He also intercepted a pass on defense and returned it 76 yards as the Redskins demolished the Giants 49-14. (1)

Cliff Battles Rushing King

During his short NFL career, Cliff Battles won the NFL rushing crown twice, in his first season in 1932 and in his last season in 1937. During that career he carried the football 839 times for an NFL record 3511 yards, a 4.2 yard per carry average, caught 38 passes for another 546 yards and scored 27 touchdowns. He was the NFL’s all time leading rusher until Clarke Hinkle broke his record in 1941. Battles was All-NFL in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, and 1937. Cliff Battles was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

By A. Goodin,
May 3, 2008

Cliff Battles Bibliography: 

Football's Battles Gets Much-Deserved Honor (1955, October 24) Cumberland Evening Times, pg. 10
(3) Smith after Mark with Lots of Past (2002, October 12) The Washington Times