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Our view: Signatures needed to send Ole to Hall of Fame

Can an avalanche of autographs propel a more-than-deserving nominee from the Twin Ports into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Well, let's find out. A petition drive has been launched, allowing anyone from the Northland or anywhere else to sign thei...

Can an avalanche of autographs propel a more-than-deserving nominee from the Twin Ports into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Well, let's find out.

A petition drive has been launched, allowing anyone from the Northland or anywhere else to sign their names in support of Superior native and longtime Duluth resident Ole Haugsrud, a nominee this year for the hallowed halls of Canton, Ohio.

"We the undersigned residents and visitors of Duluth, Minnesota, home of the NFL's Duluth Eskimos, do hereby support, with the strength of a Lake Superior Nor'easter, the long-overdue induction of Ole Haugsrud as a senior member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame," the petition's text declares.

A few dozen names already have been collected, including attendees of last month's Movies in the Park showing of "Leatherheads," the George Clooney-Renee Zellweger film inspired by Haugsrud's Duluth Eskimos teams of the 1920s.

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The Eskimos featured fellow Superior native Ernie Nevers, a Stanford All-American wooed to the National Football League by Haugsrud. That coup -- Nevers was being heavily recruited at the time to join a league threatening to run the NFL out of business -- caused NFL President Joe Carr to embrace Haugsrud and to announce to him: "Young man, you've just saved the NFL." With Nevers as a gate attraction, Haugsrud and his team barnstormed the country, attracting enough revenue and respectability to help carry the NFL through the lean years of the Great Depression.

Decades later, Haugsrud was a founder of the Minnesota Vikings, assuring his place as a football pioneer of two eras.

Anyone eager to sign the petition can do so in the front lobby of the News Tribune. Businesses and others willing to solicit signatures in their lobbies or at their front desks or elsewhere can receive blank sheets by contacting News Tribune Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick at (218) 723-5316 or at

cfrederick@duluthnews.com . A list of places where the petitions are available will be published in coming editorial pages.

Anyone willing to go door-to-door with petitions, or to take them to their family reunions, or to otherwise help with the gathering of signatures, can also contact Frederick. Blank sheets can be mailed, hand-delivered or e-mailed.

Let's fill as many pages as we can to show overwhelming support for Haugsrud. The football innovator and pioneer has been overlooked long enough for the game's ultimate honor.

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