Delve into the curious and often comical history of professional football as Joe Ziemba discusses his book Bears vs. Cardinals: The NFL’s Oldest Rivalry, which covers the National Football League’s two oldest franchises—the Chicago Bears and the Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals. The program includes recently released documents from one of the original owners of the Chicago Bears and the impact of those records on understanding the early history of the NFL. Relive those rowdy, formative years through audience interaction, rare archival photographs, and surprising insight into legendary historical figures such as George Halas, Red Grange, Jim Thorpe, Ollie Matson, and even Al Capone!

Author Talk-i022406_bears-vs-cards Chicago Cardinals vs. Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, Chicago, Nov. 1959. CHM, ICHi-022406; J. Johnson Jr., photographer
Author Talk-SDN-065677_grange-et-al Chicago Bears football players Harold Red Grange, Frank Hanny, and McMillen at Weeghman Park, Chicago, 1925. SDN-065677, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, CHM
Author Talk-SDN-078477 Chicago Cardinals vs. Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Dec. 8, 1935. SDN-078477, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, CHM
Author Talk-ziemba-table- Items from author's collection. Courtesy of Joe Ziemba

About the Author

Author Talk-joe-ziemba
Joe Ziemba

Recognized as one of the leading authorities on the history of professional football in the country, Joe Ziemba is the award-winning author of the books When Football Was Football: The Chicago Cardinals and the Birth of the NFL; Cadets, Cannons, and Legends: The Football History of Morgan Park Military Academy; and Bears vs. Cardinals: The NFL’s Oldest Rivalry, which recently received a “Certificate of Excellence” from the Illinois State Historical Society in their annual Best of Illinois History Awards.

A life-long resident of Chicago’s South Side, Joe first became interested in the history of pro football after discovering that his father was a draft choice of the Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals in the 1940s. With his knowledge of the early days of the professional game, Joe has been a resource for Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Daily Southtown, Arizona Republic, NBC Sunday Night Football, CBS Sunday Football, ESPN, and many others.

He hosts the “When Football Was Football” podcast on the Sports History Network and was recently a speaker at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on the origins of the NFL as the league celebrated its belated 100th anniversary.

Translate »