Tony Pollard and Fritz Pollard are two names that have made their mark in the history of the National Football League (NFL). Tony Pollard is a running back for the Dallas Cowboys, who had a breakout season in 2022, earning his first Pro Bowl selection. Fritz Pollard was a pioneer in the NFL, who became the first African-American head coach and quarterback in the league in the 1920s. But are these two NFL stars related by blood or by name? The answer might surprise you.
The Origin of the Pollard Surname
The surname Pollard is of English origin, derived from a nickname for a person who had a cropped or bald head. The word pollard comes from the Middle English polle, meaning “head”, and the suffix -ard, meaning “one who”. According to Ancestry.com, the Pollard surname is most common in England, especially in the counties of Devon, Somerset, and Yorkshire
The Family Tree of Tony Pollard
Tony Randall Pollard was born on April 30, 1997, in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the son of Tony Sr. and Tasha Pollard, and has two brothers, T.J. and Tyler. Tony Sr. played football at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) as a wide receiver in the late 1980s Tony Jr. followed his father’s footsteps and played college football at Memphis as well, where he was a versatile offensive weapon and a kick return specialist. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft
According to public records, Tony Jr.’s paternal grandparents are Willie James Pollard and Mary Louise Pollard, both of whom were born in Mississippi Willie James Pollard passed away in 2010 at the age of 67 Mary Louise Pollard is still living and resides in Memphis It is not clear when or how Willie James and Mary Louise moved from Mississippi to Tennessee, or what their occupations were.
The Family Tree of Fritz Pollard
Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard was born on January 27, 1894, in Chicago, Illinois. He was named after the famous abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass. He was the son of John H. Pollard and Elizabeth A. Johnson, both of whom were born in Alabama John H. Pollard was a barber and a minister, who moved his family to Chicago in search of better opportunities. Elizabeth A. Johnson was a seamstress and a homemaker, who raised eight children with John H. Pollard.
Fritz Pollard attended Lane Tech High School in Chicago, where he excelled in football, baseball, and track. He then went to Brown University in Rhode Island, where he became one of the first African-American football stars in the country. He led Brown to the Rose Bowl in 1915 and was named to Walter Camp’s All-America team in 1916. He turned pro in 1919 and played for several teams in the NFL until 1926. He also coached several teams in the NFL and outside the league, breaking racial barriers along the way. He died on May 11, 1986, at the age of 92.
According to public records, Fritz’s paternal grandparents were Henry Pollard and Mary Ann Pollard, both of whom were born in Georgia. Henry Pollard was a farmer and a laborer, who moved his family to Alabama after the Civil War. Mary Ann Pollard was a housekeeper and a mother of nine children with Henry Pollard. It is not clear when or how Henry and Mary Ann died.
The Connection Between Tony Pollard and Fritz Pollard
Based on the available information, it seems that Tony Pollard and Fritz Pollard are not closely related by blood or by name. They share a common surname that originated in England, but their ancestors came from different states in the South (Mississippi and Georgia) and migrated to different cities in the North (Memphis and Chicago). There is no evidence that they have any common ancestors or relatives that would link them as cousins or distant relatives.
However, this does not mean that they have nothing in common at all. They both have a passion for football and a talent for running with the ball. They both played college football at schools that are known for their academic excellence (Memphis and Brown). They both made history in the NFL as trailblazers for their race and position. They both have inspired generations of football fans and players with their achievements and legacy.
Therefore, Tony Pollard and Fritz Pollard are related by spirit and by sport, if not by blood or by name. They are both part of the Pollard family of football, a family that has contributed to the growth and diversity of the game. They are both worthy of respect and admiration, not only for their skills on the field, but also for their character off the field. They are both Pollards, and they are both proud.