I didn't finish researching this during "Black History Month," but when NFL Network (Cable 219) aired "Forgotten Four," about a quartet of players who broke the color barrier in professional football, it had a photo of three members of the 1939 UCLA football team...
...the middle one, wearing #28 and perhaps not immediately recognizable without his celebrated #42, is a historic figure, Jackie Robinson.
Wearing #13 on the right is Kenny Washington, officially the first black player in the National Football League, while #27 on the right is Woody Strode, who, after a brief post-WW II pro career, is better known later in life as a actor, mostly as a solid member of director John Ford's "stock company" headed by John Wayne.
With three such heralded players, it's not surprising that UCLA finished the 1939 season undefeated with a a 6-0-4 record of wins, losses and ties.
The Rose Bowl bid, however, went to crosstown University of Southern California with a 8-0-2 record after the Bruins eschewed a short field goal attempt at the end of their season-ending match-up and failed on a fourth down pass into the Trojans' end zone, leading to a scoreless tie.
But look at the equipment, especially the leather helmets, Strode, Robinson and Washington are wearing compared to the CTE-prone football players of today.
Those gridiron athletes of 75-80 years ago were not only talented, they were tough, the more so because of their hue!