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Today's Tidbit... 100 Years of Football: The 1870s
This is the first in a series looking back at “100 Years Of Football,” syndicated cartoons published by Jerry Brondfield and Charles Beck in 1969. Today's version covers the 1870s.
Tidbits are scheduled for release at 7:00 PM Eastern time each day, but yesterday, I skipped the scheduling step and inadvertently released the Today's Tidbit intended for today at 11:45 PM last night. (That Tidbit concerns athletes at Eastern Michigan in 1911 and is here.)
Since I mistakenly doubled your pleasure yesterday, I initially planned to skip posting today. However, I realized a few of you might go into Tidbit withdrawal, and rather than potentially kill off a paid subscriber, I opted to start a new series one week earlier than planned. The series is a rerun of a 1969 syndicated cartoon series by Jerry Brondfield (author) and Charles Beck (illustrator) called 100 Years Of Football, which they also released in book form.
The series included six cartoons per week during the 1969 season since even cartoonists rested on the Sabbath, with each week covering one decade of football history. I have not yet reviewed the full series of cartoons, so we may be in for a surprise or two as the season progresses, but let's take that risk.
The focus each week will be on the images and information Brondfield and Beck provided. Brief notes follow each cartoon, mostly so the cartoon contents are discoverable from an indexing and search perspective. Additional commentary will be provided only if new information and views have come along in the 50+ years since they published the series.
As always, click the image to enlarge...
Folk-style kicking games preceded football. The Rutgers-Princeton games of 1969 were played under soccer-like rules.
Princeton created a unique football code in 1872, while Harvard played a folk game that allowed players to carry the ball. Monteal’s McGill played English rugby.
Harvard and McGill played one game using rugby rules and another using Boston rules in 1874. Both allowed carrying the ball and tackling the ball carriers.
Harvard and Yale played a "concessionary rules" game in 1875 that was a modification of rugby. The Intercollegiate Football Association met in 1876 and approved a set of rules that slightly modified English and Canadian rugby.
Penn wore the first football uniforms in 1876, the same year Walter Camp appeared on the scene at Yale. Football quickly attracted spectators, with 4,000 watching the 1878 Yale-Princeton game.
Rugby-style games became dominant at colleges in the East. Innovations included the drop-kick, blocking, and an emphasis on carrying rather than kicking the ball. The game also switched from 15 per side to 11.
That’s it for the 1870s. We’ll see you next week when we cover the 1880s.
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