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Today's Tidbit... Another Sideline Play
Images of sideline plays are among my favorites since they clearly show an element of the game that has gone missing since the advent of hash marks in 1933. In football’s early days, there were five ways teams could bring the ball back into play after it went out of bounds, but only one of those procedures remained in 1910 when the picture above was taken. By then, teams could bring the ball back into play by placing it up to ten yards in from the sideline and starting the next play from that spot. The procedure had an effect similar to the role played by hash marks but only came into play after the ball went out of bounds.
Wherever a play ended within the field of play, the next play started at that spot, even if a play ended one foot from the sideline. So, the image above shows a play starting about two yards from the sideline. The sideline forced both the offense and defense into unbalanced sets, and they got ready to play.
The quarterback’s position and technique add to the image. He’s offset from the center, bent over, and prepared to receive the snap using the standard technique at the time.
The image shows Kentucky on offense. They went 7-2 that year, winning their first seven games before dropping the last two to St. Louis and Central (now Centre).
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