Jack Shapiro

Jack Shapiro
Personal information
Date of birth: (1907-03-22)March 22, 1907
Place of birth: New York City, New York
Date of death: February 5, 2001(2001-02-05) (aged 93)
Place of death: Carrollton, Georgia
Height: 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m)Weight: 119 lb (54 kg)
Career information
College: New York University
Debuted in 1929 for the Staten Island Stapletons
Last played in 1929 for the Staten Island Stapletons
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Stats at pro-football-reference.com
Stats at DatabaseFootball.com

Jack Emanuel "Soapy" Shapiro (March 22, 1907 – February 5, 2001) was a professional football player who played in one game with the Staten Island Stapletons of the National Football League (NFL) in 1929. Shapiro is most famous for being the shortest player in NFL history at 5'0½". His true nickname was "Soupy" not "Soapy" simply because he liked eating soup (the nickname was given by his family). He was featured on the special, NFL Films Presents: One-game Wonders.

Early life

Shapiro was born in New York City in 1907. His parents immigrated to the United States with their four boys and three girls, as well as their niece. Jack was the only one of his family to be born in America. His father and two of his brothers did odd jobs for a living, resulting in earnings of $9.00 a week. His family was of Jewish descent. His father was against Jack playing sports because two of his brothers had broken their legs playing football and soccer. In order to play, Jack forged his father's signature on the injury release form.

Shapiro attended Evander Child High School in the Bronx. While in high school, he was a starter on the football team for three straight years. However during the last game in his senior year, he was injured and was forced out of the game. His playing weight in high school was 85 pounds.

College career

Prior to joining the Stapletons, Shapiro played college football while attending New York University. He played fullback for the Violets in 1927 when the team posted a 7-1-2 record while outscoring their opponents by 345-65. He joined the NYU team his freshman year as a "walk on". However by his sophomore year, he was given a full scholarship and was awarded a varsity letterman that season.

Afterwards Shapiro moonlighted as a professional football player for a team in Meriden, Connecticut. The team was sponsored by the Sons of Italy. There Jack was paid $50 plus transportation lodging, and meal costs. To keep his identity a secret, so that he could keep his amateur status, Shapiro played under the assumed name of "Murphy".


In 1929, Shapiro played in one NFL game with Staten Island. As the shortest player in the history of the NFL, Shapiro played as a blocking back in the Stapletons' 34-0 victory over the Minneapolis Red Jackets. However Shapiro later stated that he was on the Stapletons roster for five games, playing in two regular-season games and one exhibition game. The regular-season games were late in the season against the Minneapolis Red Jackets and Orange Tornadoes.


Shapiro received recognition in the 1999 Guinness Book of Records as being the shortest player on record in NFL history.

In 1995, the National Football League Alumni awarded him the Norm Van Brocklin Award for Outstanding Achievement.


  • Jews in Sports profile
  • Jack Shapiro's obituary
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.