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Today’s Tidbit… IFA Rule #15 Run-In
This is #15 in a series covering football’s original 61 rules adopted by the Intercollegiate Football Association in 1876. We review one rule each Friday.
Rule 9 tells us, “A touchdown is when a player, putting his hand upon the ball on the ground in touch or in goal stops it so it remains dead or fairly so,” which replaced rugby’s try with football’s touchdown. While Rule 15 overlaps Rule 9, though the former confirmed that running with the ball was legal, while the latter tells us th process of running it into the “in goal” area was a run-in.
Rule 15: It is lawful for any player who has the ball to run with it, and if he does so it is called a run. If a player runs with the ball and gets behind his opponents’ goal-line and there touches it down, it is called a run in.
Despite being defined in the rules, the sporting press descriptions of football games seldom mentioned “run-ins,” though running with the ball and scoring touchdowns via the run earn consistent mentions.
From its beginning, American football placed greater emphasis on running with the ball than rugby or the Association game (soccer). Thus, the first sentence of Rule 15 proved providential, while the second sentence did not. “Run-in” appears to have been recognized as superfluous since the term was eliminated from the rule book by 1883, never to be seen again.
For previous stories in the series, click Intro | Rules #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
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