Baseball historians love telling the story of Eddie Gaedel, the little person signed by St. Louis Browns owner (and publicity stunt lover) Bill Veeck. Gaedel took one at bat, walked, had his contract voided, and forever entered baseball lore.
Well, Soapy Shapiro is football's version of Gaedel, and he preceded his baseball counterpart by 22 years.
Now, it's not that fair to compare the two: Shapiro actually played in college, at then-power New York University. And he would tower over Gaedel, turning in at a 5'0½". Yet he was signed as a publicity stunt: the Staten Island Stapletons (yes, back in 1929, Staten Island had an NFL team) wanted to sell tickets for their Thanksgiving game. How signing a short Jew would lead to selling tickets is anyone's guess.
In any case, Shapiro played as a blocking back in a game against the Minneapolis Red Jackets. Staten Island won 34:0, and Shapiro entered the NFL record books at the shortest player in league history. His lack of height hasn't been approached since.
Hmmmm. Don't the Jacksonville Jaguars have constant trouble selling tickets?