The Goodyear Silents was a deaf semipro football team
The Goodyear Silents was a semi-pro football team based in
Akron, Ohio, composed of deaf players. Most, if not all,
of the players worked for the Goodyear tire plant.
During World Wars I and II, many factories hired the
deaf, including Goodyear and Firestone plants in Akron.
The team existed from 1915 to 1927, playing against
local and regional semi pro teams, and compiled an
all-time record of 68-35-11. And in the process,
the team won a few league championships.
The most disappointing moments the successful team
endured was losing all four games with rival Akron Pros
by the scores of 9-0, 20-7, 6-0 and 14-0. The Pros
was one of the pioneering teams in the newly founded
In the latter years, because of dwindling employment
among the deaf at the Goodyear factory, the team had
a shortage of deaf players. As a result, they had to
recruit hearing players – on one condition – that they
pretend to be deaf during the games!
Joe Allen, one of the Silents players, was the only one
to continue his career in semi pro football after the
Silents closed up for good. Allen, the team quarterback,
had no problems communicating with his hearing teammates
in the huddle.