September 1938: We found this cracked and deteriorating image in an envelope labeled “Dream Backfield.” The picture was made in 1938, when Pitt’s football team was recognized as a national powerhouse (the Panthers won national championships in 1936 and ‘37). These four players provided much of the team’s offensive punch and were thus named the “Dream Backfield.” From left are halfback Harold “Curley” Stebbens, fullback Marshall Goldberg, halfback Dick Cassiano and quarterback John Chicerneo.
In ‘38, the Panthers finished 8-2. Goldberg, runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, was named All-American. He established a Pitt rushing record that stood until Tony Dorsett came along in 1974, and played several seasons for the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals.
On the front of the “Dream Backfield” envelope is stamped this admonition: “Do not allow anyone to use these without consulting management.” Why management insisted upon being consulted about use of the “Dream Backfield” pictures is one of the PG archive’s enduring mysteries.
Want to know more about Pitt’s “Dream Backfield”? Sportswriter Bob Dvorchak digs into its history in this episode of “Sports ‘n ‘at.”