He studied at West Haven High School. Strong graduated from New York University.
Strong began his athletic career at West Haven High School, but he first achieved national renown at New York University. There he was an outfielder on the baseball team. It was in football, however, that Strong gained his greatest fame. After spending 1925 on the freshman team and 1926 as a blocking back, Strong became the star of Coach Chick Meehan's two greatest New York University teams. Strong was a triple-threat football player, equally skilled at running, passing, and kicking. During his senior year the six-foot, 200-pound back and placekicker led the East in scoring with 162 points.
Strong began his professional sports career in 1929 after graduating from New York University.
That season he signed with the New Haven, Connecticut, farm team of the New York Yankees, batting . 285 with twenty-one home runs. Strong played in 1930 with Hazelton in the New York-Penn League, where he had a . 373 batting average with a league record of forty-one home runs.
On June 8, 1930, he hit four successive home runs against Wilkes-Barre, also a league record. The next season, while playing for Detroit's top farm team in Toronto, Strong's promising professional baseball career came to an end.
A severe wrist injury made it impossible for him to throw from the outfield. Strong's second career, as a professional football player, also began in 1929, as an off-season adjunct to his more promising baseball career. Although offered a contract with the New York Giants, he signed instead with the Staten Island Stapletons, becoming that team's dominant player.
When the Staten Island franchise folded following the 1932 season, Strong joined the Giants in 1933 and tied for the National Football League's lead in scoring sixty-four points. That season Strong also began a string of outstanding performances in championship play. After winning the Eastern Division, the Giants met the Chicago Bears at Chicago's Wrigley Field for the 1933 National Football League championship. Strong kicked three extra points and scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter on an eight-yard pass from Harry Newman. The Bears came back to win the game in the closing minutes, however.
In 1934 the Giants, led by Strong and Ed Danowski, again topped the National Football League's Eastern Division and met the Bears in the championship game, this time at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Freezing weather had turned the field into a sheet of ice, and at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Giants trailed 13 to 3.
In a desperate attempt to gain better traction, they switched from cleats to sneakers. Strong scored on touchdown runs of forty-two and eleven yards, and kicked two extra points as the Giants came back to win 30 to 13.
In the 1935 championship game Strong scored all seven of the Giants' points in a 26-7 loss to the Detroit Lions. He left the Giants in 1936 after a salary dispute and signed with the New York Yankees of the short-lived American Football League. When the Yankees collapsed after one season, Strong attempted to rejoin the Giants, but found he had been banned by the National Football League for having left his team. Strong's suspension lasted only one year, and he returned to the Giants for the 1939 season. Bleeding ulcers forced him to retire in 1940. At that point he had scored 322 career points, more than anyone else in National Football League history.
When World War II caused a shortage of players, Strong was asked to return to the Giants. He did, serving as a placekicking specialist from 1944 until 1947. Strong tied for the league lead in field goals his first year back, with six, and he kicked extra points in the 1944 and 1946 National Football League championship games.
During this last phase of his career Strong had little contact with the violent side of football. He rarely wore shoulder pads while kicking and was one of the few players to take the field with a wristwatch. Following his playing career Strong worked in public relations and as a liquor salesman. In 1950 he coauthored the book Football Kicking Techniques with Emil Brodbeck. It was the first book to use motion-picture studies to demonstrate the proper methods of kicking. Strong returned to the Giants as a kicking coach from 1962 through 1965. Strong's official career statistics of 1, 321 yards gained on 363 rushing attempts, and his 479 points scored on 33 touchdowns, 167 extra points, and 38 field goals pale beside modern records. They reflect, though, the slower pace and less accurate record keeping of the pre-World War II game.
Strong had a history of heart problems and died of a heart attack in 1979 at age 73.
Quotes from others about the person
In New York University's most important game that season, a victory over Wally Steffens's as-yet-undefeated Carnegie Tech team, Steffens declared Strong to be "the greatest football player I ever saw. "
Harry Grayson wrote: "An amazing runner, blocker, passer, kicker, and defensive man, Strong was, in the opinion of many who saw him, the greatest football player of them all. "
Grayson later called Strong "a runaway buffalo with the speed of an antelope. "
Strong secretly married Amelia Hunneman, a showgirl known professionally as Rella Harrison, in 1929. The couple lived apart as soon as the honeymoon was over.
In 1931, divorced from Hunneman, Strong married Mabel Anderson. Strong and his second wife remained married for nearly 48 yards and had a son, Kenneth Robert Strong, born in approximately 1932.