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Today's Tidbit... 100 Years of Football: 1922-1925
This is the eighth 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 period from 1922-1925.
Fair warning: Readers allergic to Notre Dame or Illinois football history may want to sit out this week’s column.
For those choosing to continue, click the image to enlarge...
We start this week with another cartoon devoted to Yale’s role in football’s history; this one covers their 1923 team. It mentions Ducky Pond, who returned to Yale to coach and mentor two Heisman Trophy winners, allowing him to become the only multi-Heisman coach with a losing career record. Of course, Tad Jones’ speech before the 1923 Harvard game guarantees the team’s place in football history.
After emigrating from Norward, Rockne spent the rest of his life in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, though he almost took the Columbia job in 1925. A great motivator and tactician, the era's rules allowed his teams to get opponents off balance by shifting and pausing for only a moment before the snap.
Notre Dame’s late shifts and passing plays after the shifts were effective, and as more teams adopted the tactics, defenses had to move players from down positions on the line of scrimmage to standing positions off the ball that could move with the shifts and pass patterns.
Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen and Seven Mules have gone down in history after winning the 1924 national championship. Whether it actually happened or not, their 1922 team was the first credited with executing a “Hail Mary” play.
Illinois’ Bob Zuppke was an innovator whose most important innovation was the huddle. Zuppke’s teams called the play in the huddle, then rushed into their formation before pausing in snapping. A 1927 rule requiring pausing at least one second made the last-second movements less effective.
Zuppke’s innovative mind combined with a premier talent from 1922 to 1925 as Red Grange sprinted up, down, and around the field, culminating in his performance in 1925 against Michigan. Unfortunately, an injury in his first year in professional football kept him from performing at a comparable level in the pros.
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