Steffen was an American football player and coach. He emerged on the national scene as a high school quarterback, leading his Chicago North Division team to an intersectional championship over Brooklyn Boys by a score of 75-0 that ended after three quarters because of darkness.
Steffen and his team helped introduce the more open style of play that prevailed in the Midwest. He played college football as a quarterback at the University of Chicago from 1906 to 1908 and was a two-time All-American selection. Steffen served as the head football coach at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University, from 1914 to 1932, compiling a record of 88-53-8.
He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1969. He served as a judge after his time playing and coaching football.