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Today's Tidbit... I-N-D-I-A-N-A and Letters on Back (LOB)
The Indiana Hoosiers are known more for their innovations on the basketball court than the football field, but no one can take away football coach Ewald Stiehm's big idea. In the days before everyone wore numbers on their backs, Coach Stiehm, aka The Stiehm Roller, had his linemen wear letters on their backs.
The left end wore an "I," the left tackle wore an "N," and so on until they spelled" I-N-D-I-A-N-A."
Pictures of the seven linemen in a row appear nonexistent, but game-action images show them wearing scattered letters against Minnesota in 1917 and 1919.
Perhaps because the Big Ten mandated that players wear numbers beginning in 1920, Indiana dropped the back letters shortly after that. Still, Indiana appears to have pioneered the Letter on Back (LOB) movement. In contrast, Maryland, a future Big Ten opponent, pioneered the Name of Back (NOB) in college football during the 1960 season.
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