The 300: #11 Walt Kiesling

Today, The 300 takes us right back to the earliest days of the NFL.


Duluth Eskimos (1926-1927)

Pottsville Maroons (1928)

Chicago Cardinals (1929-1933)

Chicago Bears (1934)

Green Bay Packers (1935-1936)

Pittsburgh Pirates (1937-1938)

Head Coach, Pittsburgh Pirates/Steelers (1939-1942, 1954-1956)



Guard and Tackle



To understand the impact of Walter Andrew Kiesling, you have to go right back to the beginning of the NFL. To the days of short lived teams, such as the Eskimos and the Maroons. And an era where players played on both offense and defense.

At 6’3″ tall and a playing weight of anywhere between 17 and 20 stones, Kiesling was a formidable proposition for any player of that era. His peak was his time with the Cardinals, during which he was regarded by many as the best guard in the NFL. He was good enough to persuade George Halas to sign him to the Bears for a year, and to play on a championship-winning Packers team in his final season.

Kiesling began working as an assistant coach during his playing career, and called time on his game time when he was appointed head coach of the Pirates (who were soon to be renamed the Steelers) by Art Rooney in 1939. He led the franchise into and through the war years (including the seasons where they temporarily merged with first the Eagles and then the Cardinals). He resigned in January 1945 and became a line coach in Green Bay, being lauded by none other than Curly Lambeau as the best in the job.

In 1947 Kiesling contracted pneumonia and resigned from his post with the Packers. However, he returned to the Steelers two years later and even served a further spell as head coach in the mid-1950s, fully 30 years after his NFL career began.

Sadly, Kiesling was never able to shake off the effects of that bout of pneumonia and indeed suffered several relapses during his life. Complications from this brought about his death in 1962 aged just 58. He was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.

Richard O’Hagan



Richard O'Hagan
Writer on such diverse topics as sport, music, theatre, law and politics. Author of 'Eddie the Sheep'. Supporter of underachieving teams, including the Chicago Bears from before that brief, heady, period in the mid-1980s when they were actually any good. All I want for Christmas is a Jim McMahon away shirt.
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    Richard O'Hagan
    Richard O’Hagan

    Today, The 300 takes us right back to the earliest days of the NFL. NFL CAREER Duluth Eskimos (1926-1927) Pottsville Maroons (1928) Chicago Cardinals
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