Today’s Tidbit… 1876 IFA Rule #20: Maul-In Participation
This is #20 in a series covering football’s original 61 rules adopted by the Intercollegiate Football Association in 1876. We review one rule each Friday.
The coverage of Rule 19 described maul-ins and how they related to a ball carrier’s attempt to score a touchdown. In short, a maul-in, which was a maul occurring behind the goal line, was an effort by the defense to keep the ball carrier from touching the ball to the ground while also trying to steal the ball from the ball carrier or force him back across the goal line.
Rule 20 is tied to Rule 19 because Rule 20 defines who can participate in a maul-in.
Rule 20: In case of a maul-in goal, those players only who are touching the ball with their hands when it crosses the goal-line may continue the maul-in goal, and when a player has once removed his hold of the ball after it is inside the goal-line, he may not again join the maul, and if he attempts to do so, may be dragged out by the opposite side; but if a player when running in is tackled inside the goal-line, then only the player who first tackled him, or if two or more tackle simultaneously, they only may join in the maul.
So, only those players touching the ball with their hands when it crosses the goal line can participate in the maul-in, and players that lose touch with the ball during the maul-in are barred from further participation.
Presumably, most maul-ins were brief, but Amos Alonzo Stagg described a maul-in he witnessed as a Yale freshman that took fifteen minutes to resolve. You can read his lengthy description about halfway down this article.
Maul-ins went away in 1885 when the rule makers altered the rules, so a touchdown no longer had to be touched down. Instead, a touchdown was scored once the ball carrier possessed the ball in the opponent’s goal, making moot Rules 19 and 20.
Also, I removed the restrictions on recent posts that allowed access only to paid subscribers. Everyone can access all recent Tidbits and articles.
For previous stories in the series, click the line for each rule: Intro | #1 Drop Kick | #2 Place Kick | #3 Punt | #4 Goal Posts | #5 Goal | #6 Goal ≠ Punt | #7: Scoring | #8: Dead Ball | #9: Touchdown | #10: Tackle | #11: Scrimmage | #12: Ball Handling | #13 Dead Ball | #14: Scrimmage Ball Handling | #15 Run In | #16: Goal Line | #17: Boundary Lines | #18: Crying “Down” | #19: Maul In
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