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Today's Tidbit… 1876 IFA Rule #34: Right Angle Throw Out
This is #34 in a series covering football's original 61 rules adopted by the Intercollegiate Football Association in 1876. We review one rule each Friday.
Rule 32 listed the five methods of bringing the ball back onto the field of play after it went into touch. The third method allowed the team that possessed the ball to “throw it out at right angles to the touch-line,” much like the lineout in rugby union today, and we used the image below to illustrate how the fair or lineout worked.
By throwing the ball out at right angles, the ball should end up between the lines formed by the two teams, but that was not always so, creating the need for Rule 34.
Rule 34: If the ball, when thrown out of touch, be not thrown out at right angles to the touch-line, the captain of either side may at once claim to have it thrown out again.
It may seem odd that the captains needed to claim the ball was not properly thrown out. However, unlike football today, where the game officials automatically rule on observed fouls, rugby had the captains call and rule on the fouls. As we will see with Rule 59, one of the few rule changes made by the IFA was to appoint a neutral referee and two umpires, each of whom advocated for their teams. We’ll cover that issue more fully later in the year.
Click the appropriate link for previous stories in the series: 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 | #20 Maul in Pax | #21 Touch-in Goal | #22 Onside | #23 Offside | #24 Return to Onside | #25 Defensive Offside | #26 Throwing Back | #27 Knocking On | #28 Fair Catch | #29 Punt-out | #30 Punt-On | #31 Into Touch | #32 Inbounding | #33 Pushed Into Touch
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