American Football Database
John Pingel
Date of birth: (1916-11-06)November 6, 1916
Place of birth: Mount Clemens, Michigan
Date of death: August 14, 1999(1999-08-14) (aged 82)
Place of death: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Career information
Position(s): Halfback
College: Michigan State
NFL Draft: 1939 / Round: 1 / Pick 7
Playing stats at
College Football Hall of Fame

John Spencer Pingel (November 6, 1916 – August 14, 1999) was an American football halfback.

Pingel played for the Michigan State Spartans and was selected as a first-team All-American in both 1937 and 1938. He holds the all-time NCAA record for most punting yards in a season with 4,138 yards in 1938. Pingel was a triple-threat man who also ranked among the NCAA leaders in rushing (7th with an average of 5.0 yards per rush) and passing (7th win an average of 6 completions per game) during the 1938 season.[1]

Pingel was selected by the Detroit Lions in the first round (7th overall pick) of the 1939 NFL Draft.[2] He signed with the Lions in May 1939 and played in nine games, eight as a starter for the 1939 Detroit Lions.[2][3] After retiring from football, he had a successful career in advertising, serving as the chief executive officer of the Ross Roy advertising agency. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968. Pingel died at age 82 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.[4][5]


  1. ESPN College Football Encyclopedia. ESPN Books. 2005. p. 1175. ISBN 1401337031.(1938 NCAA Major College Statistical Leaders)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Johnny Pingel".
  3. "Pingel, Michigan State, Signs With Detroit Lions". The New York Times. 1939-05-14.
  4. "Sidelines: College Football". Lakeland Ledger. 1999-08-16.,4560685&dq=pingel+michigan+football&hl=en.
  5. "John Pingel, star in football, rose to run advertising agency". The Detroit News. 1999-08-17.

Template:1939 NFL Draft