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Today's Tidbit... 100 Years of Football: 1910-1915
This is the sixth 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 1910 to 1915.
The first half of the 1910s brought important rule changes to football and tactical innovations that took advantage of those changes. The running, passing, and kicking games all benefited from new rules, and the combination led to a more open and interesting game. (Click images to enlarge)
As noted, the rule makers vacillated on what to do with the forward pass. The 1910 rules allowed the person receiving the snap to run within five yards left or right of center, and a similar restriction disappeared in the passing game. However, passes had to be thrown from a least five yards behind the line of scrimmage and no more than 20 yards downfield.
The rule changes of 1912 challenged those of 1906 for their importance in setting football’s direction. Designated end zones were added, the 55-yard line disappeared, passes could be thrown more than 20 yards downfield, and passes over the goal line became legal.
Gus Dorais and Knute Rockne of Notre Dame formed a passing-catching tandem that surprised a tough Army team in front of the Eastern press. Word quickly spread that that a new boss was coming to town: the forward pass.
With the 1912 rule allowing the player receiving the snap to cross the line of scrimmage at any point along the line, Warner quickly implemented his Single Wing offense using Jim Thorpe as the tailback. Warner referred to the Single Wing as Formation A and the Double Wing as Formation B. The Single and Double Wing terminology did not emerge until 1927.
Jim Thorpe was a stud.
Percy Haughton won four national titles in nine years of coaching at Harvard. His team had stars such as Charles Brickley and Eddie Mahan. Haughton was among the first to substitute kickers into the game at key moments and was likely the first to refer to them as specialists.
Football would be interrupted in the second half of the 1910s by WWI, yet the football played in the military camps would enhance the democratization of the game and spur the development of the professional game, particularly the participation of former college players.
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