Discover more from Football Archaeology
Today's Tidbit... Sweet Southern Tee
One reason football’s rules are complicated is the history of players and coaches exploiting loopholes in the rules in place at the time. Such was the case when Auburn met Georgia in 1916, and Auburn’s Moon Ducote kicked a fourth-quarter field goal to beat the Bulldogs, 3-0.
The rules of the time specified that place kicks were made after the ball had been placed on the ground. Back then, kickers or holders scraped up dirt from the surrounding area to build a mound or tee on which they placed the ball. However, instead of gathering dirt, halfback Moon Ducote removed his flimsy leather helmet and placed it on the ground in the spot in which he would normally build the dirt mound. Calling for the snap, the holder, Auburn’s quarterback Lucy Hairston, set the ball atop the helmet and Ducote kicked the ball fair and true from the 47-yard line to give the Tigers the victory.
Auburn’s little workaround contributed to the 1917 rules committee updating the rules to state:
A goal from field may be scored only by a place kick or drop kick. …A place kick is made by kicking the ball from its position while it is resting upon the ground. …It is allowable to scrape up the earth, but no artificial tees shall be permitted.
Surely, that would solve the problem, right? Well, those clever college boys found another hole in those rules, so come back tomorrow to learn part two of the story.
Subscribe for free and never miss a story. You can also support this site with a paid subscription that provides additional content or check out my books here.