Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shortest Players to Ever Play in the NFL

The following is a list of the shortest players to ever play in the NFL. I've listed all the shortest players in NFL history that I am aware of that were 5' 5" tall or shorter, and then a couple of notable players who just miss making the list.

                                                (Photo by Keith Allison)

Some of these shortest players in NFL history were pretty good, while others just played in the NFL very briefly. One of the players on the list is active today.

One player on this list starred as a football player in a very famous and hilarious movie you have probably watched. I have seen a player named John Law on a list as being 5' 3" tall, but the NFL lists Law as being 5' 9" tall.

Shortest players to ever play in the NFL

1. Jack Shapiro (1929) - 5' 1"

The shortest player in NFL history is Jack Shapiro, who stood only 5' 1" tall. Shapiro's NFL career was brief, as he only played in one game for the Staten Island Stapletons in 1929.

Jack Shapiro was a reserve blocking back, and in the one NFL game he did play in, Shapiro returned a punt for 12 yards, and he also carried the ball twice for seven total yards. Not bad for a player who was only 5' 1" tall and the shortest player in NFL history. Some sites list Jack Shapiro as only being 5' 1/2" tall.

2. Butch Meeker (1930-1931 ) - 5' 3"

Butch Meeker, who is in the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame, played in the NFL for two seasons (1930 and 1931) at a height of 5' 3", making him the second shortest player in NFL history. Meeker played in 20 games, starting six of them, for the Providence Steam Roller.

Butch Meeker scored two touchdowns in his career, one a receiving touchdown and the other was a returned punt for a touchdown. Meeker also kicked one field goal and made one PAT in his career.

T-3 Nate Abrams (1921) - 5' 4"

Nate Abrams played in one game for the Green Bay Packers in 1921 at the height of 5' 4". Abrams returned an interception for a touchdown in the game.

T-3. Herb Clow (1924) - 5' 4"

Fullback Herb Clow played in one game for the Duluth Kelleys in 1924.

T-3. Dick Dobeleit (1925-1926) - 5' 4"

Dick Dobeleit played in 12 games, starting nine of them, for the Dayton Triangles over two seasons in 1925 and 1926.

T-3. Buddy Young (1947-1955) - 5' 4"

Running back and defensive back Buddy Young played in the AAFC and the NFL from 1947 to 1955. Young was probably the best shortest player in NFL history, as he scored 17 rushing touchdowns, 21 receiving touchdowns, had four kickoff returns for touchdowns, and returned two punts for touchdowns in his career.

T-3. Patsy Giugliano (1923) - 5' 4"

Patsy Giugliano played in one game for the Louisville Brecks in 1923.

T-8. Noland "Super Gnat" Smith (1967-1969)

Noland "Super Gnat" Smith was primarily a kick and punt returner in the AFL and NFL from 1967-69. Smith returned both a punt (80 yards) and a kickoff (106 yards) for TDs in his career.

Noland Smith was also in the movie M*A*S*H as Superbug, the player who returned kicks during the hilarious football game in the movie.

T-8. Mack Herron (1973-1975) - 5' 5"

Running back Mack Heron, who stood just 5' 5" tall, played in the NFL for the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons from 1973 to 1975. Herron scored 16 touchdowns in his NFL career.

T-8. Howard Stevens (1973-1977) - 5' 5"

Running back Howard Stevens, who was also 5' 5" tall, played in the NFL from 1973 to 1977. Stevens scored four rushing touchdowns in his career.

T-8. Michael Clemons (1987) - 5' 5"

Running back Michael Clemons, another 5' 5" tall player, was a backup in the NFL during the 1987 season with the Kansas City Chiefs.

T-8. Trindon Holliday - 5' 5"

Trindon Holliday is a free agent who may not play in the NFL in 2016. Holliday played in the NFL from 2011-14 primarily as a kick and punt returner for the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos. Trindon Holliday returned two kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns in the NFL. 

T-8. Ray Brenner (1925) - 5' 5"

Wing back Ray Brenner played in two games for the Canton Bulldogs in 1925.

T-8. Two-Bits Homan (1925-1930) - 5' 5"

Two-Bits Homan played from 1925 to 1930 for the Franklin Yellow Jackets, and scored 10 career touchdowns. As you can see by some of the nicknames on this list political correctness was not around in earlier times.

T-8. Pard Pearce (1920-1925) - 5' 5"

Pard Pearce was a quarterback who played for the Chicago Bears, Kenosha Maroons, and Providence Steam Roller from 1920 to 1925.

T-8. John Tanner (1922-1924) - 5' 5"

John Tanner played for the Toledo Maroons and the Cleveland Bulldogs from 1922 to 1924. The Cleveland Bulldogs won the NFL Championship in 1924.

NFL players of note who were 5' 6" in height

Lionel "Little Train" James (1984-1988) - 5' 6"

Lionel "Little Train" James was a pretty good running back in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers from 1984 to 1988. James scored 16 touchdowns in his NFL career.

Darren Sproles (active) - 5' 6"

Darren Sproles (pictured above) is a great NFL player at 5' 6" tall. Sproles has played in the NFL since 2005, and he is currently with the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2016 season. Sproles has scored 20 rushing TDs, caught 28 receiving TDs and he's returned seven punts and two kickoffs for TDs for a career total of 57 NFL touchdowns.

© Joe Dorish

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