American Football Database
Pike Johnson
Date of birth: (1896-05-02)May 2, 1896
Place of birth: East Boston, Massachusetts
Date of death: November 6, 1985(1985-11-06) (aged 89)
Place of death: Meredith, New Hampshire
Career information
Position(s): Tackle, Guard
Playing stats at

Karl Hilmer "Pike" Johnson (May 2, 1896 – November 6, 1985) was a professional football player in the American Professional Football Association (later renamed the National Football League in 1922) for the Akron Pros. In 1920 he and the Pros were awarded the very first NFL Championship.

Early life

Johnson was born on September 30, 1896 in East Boston, Massachusetts. He played football for Everett High School in Everett, Massachusetts. He was a part of the 1914 Everett team that went 13–0 and outscored opponents 600 to 0.[1] In the national championship of high school football, Everett, the best team in the East, was matched against Oak Park High School from Illinois, the best team in the West. Everett defeated Oak Park 80 to 0.[2] Johnson went on to play tackle at Washington and Lee University.[1]

Football career

In 1917, Johnson played with the Massillon Tigers of the Ohio League, where he received all-pro honors in 1917. He was also World War I Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient.[3][4] After the war he played another season for Massillon and then played for the Akron Pros in 1920.

Later life

After his football career, Johnson worked for many years in the public relations department of the Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. in Boston. He resided in Belmont, Massachusetts and later in Laconia, New Hampshire.[1]

Johnson died on November 6, 1985 at a nursing home in Meredith, New Hampshire.[1]

Pro Football Hall of Fame memorabilia

In 2010 Johnson's grandson donated the miniature football shaped medallion (called a fob), to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The fob was given to his grandfather after winning the 1920 championship. During the visit, it was discovered that Pike Johnson was incorrectly identified as Frank Leonard Johnson who appears that the league's all-time roster, which also appears on However, it was the wrong "Pike" Johnson, one who never played with the Akron Pros. Also the jeweler who inscribed his name on the fob made a mistake when the first initial of "C" rather than "K" was etched onto the back of the gold piece.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Karl Johnson, 89; Worked for Boston Distillery". The Boston Globe. November 8, 1985.
  2. Morin Bishop (1984-09-05). "High School Football's Best Team May Have Been Everett, Mass., 1914". Sports Illustrated.
  3. PFRA Research. "Canton Wins Again 1917". Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association): 1–5. Archived from the original on 2013-06-17.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Medallion from NFL’s first champions". Pro Football Hall of Fame. September 29, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2011.

External links