Plainfield Teachers: A Way Better CFB Hoax Than Manti Teo

ziplock007's picture
January 17, 2013 at 2:33a

Manti Teo, you fooled us all. Ok, not all of us, just the people who over indulge in college football news.  Read all about it on 11W.

There's a bigger and better CFB media hoax... It all started back in the pre-1995 era.  It was a pretty good era no one knows about, some of the best Simpsons episodes ever made.  There was also a world war or two, answering machines, and dinosaurs.  Any way sit back and learn about the greatest CFB hoax.

Have you ever met a former player from the 1941 Plainfield Teachers' football team?  Of course not, they didn't exist.

Like Teo's girlfriend, they were a figment of someone's imagination.  More specifically, Morris Newburger's imagination.  A Harvard educated stock broker with a jovial spirit, some free time on Saturday, and a phone (having a phone was a bigger deal back then).  Morris would phone the New York Times and his buddy phoned the Philadelphia papers with results from Plainfield Teachers gridiron.  In late October Newburger called in the scores for Plainfield's first three games.

While their mascot was the lion, everything else was unconvential.  They boasted a Hawaiian quaterback, Johnny Chong, named after Newburger's Chinese dry cleaner.  The media sensationalized Chong as "The Celestial Comet," who, according to Plainfield's ficticious Public Relations Manager Jerry Croyden, replenished himself during half time with a big bowl of wild rice.
The "Lions" were coached by Ralph "Hurry Up" Hobiltzel.  He pioneered the infamous 'W' formation where the backs actually faced the opposite direction (insert Jim Bollman joke here).  The 'W' formation was effective as Hobiltzel's squad ouscored their opponents 117-3 in their first 6 games.  Plainfield routed Randolph Tech 35-0 on the same day Notre Dame and Army fought to a scorelss tie.  The future was looking bright for this undefeated 6-0 small town squad.

For 4 weeks the New York Times reported the score of Plainfield Teachers.  Red Smith, a newspaper reporter for the Philadelphia Record, uncovered the hoax.  Sensing trouble was near, the school's agent Jerry Croyden (err... Newburger) released, "Due to flunkings in the mid-term examinations, Plainfield Teachers College has been forced to call off its last two scheduled games with Appalachian Tech tomorrow and with Harmony Teachers College on Thanksgiving Day."

Fun Facts:

  • Red Smith would become a famous writer for the NY Times and is remembered for his harsh criticism of Muhammad Ali.
  • The Pranksters claimed Plainfield Teachers was in New Jersey or, as it's now referred, Big Ten Country
  • Chong accounted for 69 of the teams' points and his home state of Hawaii has an annual Rice Festival (ask about their Halftime specials)
  • Pearl Harbor was bombed 16 days after the "season" was cancelled

Ok, ain't that a nice story... I remember reading this in a Hall of Shame Sports book once.  I feel the situation requires some sources:

Now, let's all share our favorite Lennay Kekua (Teo's deceased imaginary girlfriend) memories in the comments.

Comments Show All Comments


The "W Formation" comment about made me spit my coffee out.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

BostonBuck's picture

This is very disturbing. I played quarterback there and my college girlfriend and future wife was a cheerleader for Plainfield Teachers College?!? It's fake?

bodast67's picture

Hey BOSTONBUCK....I am originally from Newton, Ma. are you from there or anywheres near ?




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

Alhan's picture

I have no problems with a hoax like this, as it seems to be all in fun unless there are victims that I don't know about.
The Te'o situation on the other hand, is just despicable no matter what the truth ends up being.

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Unky Buck's picture

That made me laugh...well done on the research, sir.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

Philly White's picture

As someone living out there, I can report this might still work on Philadelphia and New York media given the region's awareness of college football.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I remember reading about this case years ago. It sounds like what happened is that the scores of their games were so overwhelming, and the colorful details about Johnny Chong and the like were so intriguing, that the "real press" started asking around about this team that they had otherwise just seen in the fine print.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

buckeyedude's picture

Great Blog. Very "Ramzy-esque." <-----that's a compliment.



ziplock007's picture

thanks... I guess

cajunbuckeye's picture

According to my sources, Johnny Chong was the original Johnny Football.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Chief B1G Dump's picture

According to MY sources, John Heisman was the original Johnny Football.