The Definitive History of Cartoon Football Players

Cartoon Football Players

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, and it has been a major part of many of our childhoods. Throughout the years, cartoon football players have been a fixture in popular culture, appearing in films, television shows, video games, comic books, and even toys.

In this blog post, we will take a look at the history of cartoon football players, tracing their evolution from the early days of animation to the present day. We’ll examine some of the most iconic cartoon football players, discuss their impact on popular culture, and explore why they have been so enduringly popular.

Jim Thorpe in Sugar Bowl (1933)

Jim Thorpe was the first cartoon football player to appear on screen in 1933. He appeared in the first-ever animated short film, Sugar Bowl, which was a promotional film for the college football game of the same name.

In the film, Thorpe is depicted as a daring player who takes risks and makes spectacular plays. He often uses his athleticism to outwit his opponents and score touchdowns. He is also seen jumping over defenders, hurdling obstacles, and tackling opponents with ease.

Thorpe is known for being the first animated football character to ever exist, making him a pioneer of sorts in the cartoon football genre. His role in Sugar Bowl showed that cartoons can be used to portray sports accurately and realistically.

Barney Google in The $64,000 Question (1955)

In 1955, cartoon character Barney Google made an appearance on the popular television show, The $64,000 Question. Barney Google was a popular comic strip character that first appeared in 1919 and became a household name. His involvement with the show was part of a marketing strategy to create more interest in the show and to give the show more of a comic book feel.

The $64,000 Question was a game show where contestants answered questions of increasing difficulty for prizes up to $64,000. On the show, Barney Google asked various questions and presented the contestant with their choices of answers. While Barney Google’s presence was not essential to the show, he added a humorous and light-hearted aspect to the game show.

Barney Google’s involvement with The $64,000 Question was an early example of football being used as a marketing tool for television shows. His presence created a connection between football and entertainment, making them seem intertwined and inseparable from one another.

The Jetsons (1962)

The Jetsons was an iconic cartoon sitcom that aired from 1962 to 1963 and again from 1985 to 1987. It featured a futuristic, space-age family living in Orbit City with their beloved dog, Astro. While it may have been considered a “futuristic” cartoon at the time, the show’s themes and characters remain timeless and entertaining.

One of the most memorable elements of The Jetsons was the fact that it featured a football team, the Orbit City Rockets, complete with players, cheerleaders, and a mascot. While most of the team members had no distinct personalities or stories, they still provided plenty of fun and excitement to the show. Some of the more well-known football players included George Jetson as quarterback, his daughter Judy as center, and his son Elroy as kicker.

The Harlem Globetrotters (1969)

The Harlem Globetrotters were one of the first animated cartoon football teams to appear on television. The show was produced by Hanna-Barbera and aired from September 13, 1969 to August 30, 1975. The series focused on the basketball skills of the fictional team members and their ongoing rivalry with their adversaries, the Washington Generals.

Throughout the series, the team’s adventures took them all over the world, to places such as Egypt, China and India. The team also faced off against a variety of villains such as crooked scientists, mad scientists and a gang of space pirates.

The series featured a cast of beloved characters, including Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, and Geese Ausbie. It also featured some of the original musical compositions by jazz musician Horace Silver.
The series received generally positive reviews from critics and viewers alike, and was considered to be one of the most successful animated sports programs of its time. Though it is no longer in production, the series remains an important part of cartoon football history and has since been released on DVD for fans to enjoy.

The Super Friends (1973)

Super Friends was an American animated television series featuring a team of superheroes from DC Comics that first aired on ABC in 1973. The series was created by Hanna-Barbera and produced by Alex Toth and Ido Morisano. The characters featured included Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Apache Chief, and Samurai.

The show revolved around the Super Friends (the aforementioned heroes) who fought to stop the evil deeds of their super-villain adversaries such as Lex Luthor, The Riddler, Brainiac, and Captain Cold.
Each episode also featured an adventure involving some of the minor characters from the DC Comics universe. These included villains like Bizarro, Giganta, and Giganta’s arch-rival Mighty Manfred. The series also featured guest appearances by various other superheroes including the Flash and Green Lantern.

The Super Friends proved to be popular with viewers due to its well-crafted stories, colorful animation, and positive themes of justice and heroism. The series ran for two seasons before ending in 1985. Since then, it has been released in various formats including DVDs and streaming services.


The history of cartoon football players has been rich and varied, beginning with Jim Thorpe in 1933 and stretching all the way to NFL Rush Zone in 2012. From Barney Google to The Super Friends, there have been many iconic characters who have left their mark on the sport. These characters have been beloved by fans and have become ingrained in our culture, helping to spread the love of football and the joy of entertainment.

While some of these characters may have been forgotten by the masses, their contributions to the sport remain indelible. So the next time you’re watching a football game

Sophie Brown

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