Here’s a Unique 1950s Coca-Cola Ad Featuring Four Hall of Fame Black NFL Players

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If there is one thing that has been in abundance throughout the 20th and 21st centuries it’s Coca-Cola advertising. What is less common, at least in the mid-20th century, is Coke advertising prominently featuring black athletes. That’s just one reason why this piece of ad history from 1953 is so spectacular. Click for the full-size version.

1953 Coca-Cola ad featuring black NFL players - Marion Motley, Bill Willis, Emlen Tunnell, and Leonard Ford.

Here we have three members of the 1952 NFL champion Cleveland Browns — Marion Motley, Bill Willis, and Len Ford — as well as Emlen Tunnell of the New York Giants. All four, incidentally, are also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here are the blurbs for each player:

Marion Motley (Powerful fullback of the Cleveland Browns) — Leading ground gainer of The National Football League and constant threat to opponents.

Bill Willis (Panther-like guard of the Cleveland Browns) — One of the fastest men in pro football. Top ranking disc jockey and is in great demand as a public speaker.

Emlen Tunnell (Spectacular safety man of the New York Giants) — Key figure in their famed “Umbrella Defense” and prime punt returner. One of the big finds in all football history.

Leonard Ford (The giant wingman of the Cleveland Browns) — Winner of All-Conference and All-American honors and of the game’s great ends.