American Football Database
American Football Database
Vern Mullen
Date of birth: (1900-02-27)February 27, 1900
Place of birth: Taylorville, Illinois, United States
Date of death: September 14, 1980(1980-09-14) (aged 80)
Career information
Position(s): Halfback
Career highlights and awards
Playing stats at

Vern Elmo Mullen (February 27, 1900 - September 14, 1980) was a professional football player from Taylorville, Illinois.

Early life

Mullen was born in Taylorville, Illinois and graduated from Taylorville High School.[1] After high school, Mullen split his college time between the University of Illinois and West Virginia Wesleyan College. While at Illinois, Mullen also competed in track and field, was a member of Sigma Pi fraternity, and participated in student opera.[2][3]

College scandal

In 1921, Mullen served as a ringer for his hometown Taylorville team against a team from rival Carlinville, who was also using ringers from Notre Dame. He left college to play in the game with nine other Illinois players. Taylorville's plan was to use its regular team in the first half and substitute the Illinois players in the second half. However Mullen, being a hometowner, would play the entire game. After two scoreless quarters, Mullen broke through the line to block a Carlinville punt and returned it 50 yards to the Carlinville two-foot-line. This later set up a score. Taylorville would go on to win the game 16-0 and an estimated $50,000-$100,000 in winnings. The game was well-publicized, but the college players' participation was not revealed until late January 1922. The nine Illinois players were banned from further intercollegiate competition. The eight Notre Dame players were expelled from school. This incident led to a revision of the eligibility rules and codes in the Big Ten Conference and the appointment of a full-time commissioner.[4]

Pro football

Mullen made his NFL debut in 1923 with the Canton Bulldogs, where he helped the team win the NFL Championship. He then played for the Chicago Bears from 1924 until 1926, before traveling crosstown to play for the Chicago Cardinals. He finished his career with the Pottsville Maroons in 1927.