Outlined against a blue-gray October sky the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below.The passage added great import to the event described and elevated it to a level far beyond that of a mere football game. This passage, although famous, is far from atypical, as Rice's writing tended to be of an "inspirational" or "heroic" style, raising games to the level of ancient combat and their heroes to the status of demigods. He became even better known after his columns were nationally syndicated beginning in 1930, and became known as the "Dean of American Sports Writers". He and his writing are among the reasons that the 1920s in the United States are sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age of Sports". Grantland Rice died of a heart attack at the age 73 on July 14, 1954.
His sense of honor can be seen in his own actions. Before leaving for service in World War I, he entrusted his entire fortune, about $75,000, to a friend. On his return from the war, Rice discovered that his friend had lost all the money in bad investments, and then had committed suicide. Rice accepted the blame for putting “that much temptation” in his friend’s way. Rice then made monthly contributions to the man’s widow for the next 30 years.
According to author Mark Inabinett in his 1994 work, Grantland Rice and His Heroes: The Sportswriter as Mythmaker in the 1920s, Rice very consciously set out to make heroes of sports figures who impressed him, most notably Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Bobby Jones, Bill Tilden, Red Grange, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, and Knute Rockne. Unlike many writers of his era, Rice defended the right of football players such as Grange, and tennis players such as Tilden, to make a living as professionals, but he also decried the warping influence of big money in sports, once writing in his column,
A sports-writing scholarship named for Rice and fellow Vanderbilt alumnus and former Rice colleague Fred Russell is awarded each year to an entering Vanderbilt freshman who intends to pursue a career in sports-writing. The accomplished list of past winners includes author and humorist Roy Blount, Jr.; Skip Bayless of ESPN; Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post; and Tyler Kepner of The New York Times.
Rice authored a book of poetry, "Songs of the Stalwart" published in 1917 by D. Appleton and Company of New York.
He was the father of actress Florence Rice.
For many years, a portion of one floor of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism was designated the "Grantland Rice Suite".
A street in his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee is named in his honor (Grantland Street).
Trojans stripped of 2004 trophy; College football; NCAA sanctions lead writers to take away Grantland Rice Trophy.(Sports)
Aug 27, 2010; Byline: Seattle Times News Services LOS ANGELES -- The Football Writers Association of America announced Thursday it was...