Today's Tidbit... The First Two-Platoon All-American Team
The start of two-platoon football in 1945 was among the most critical changes in the game's history since it allowed the specialization of players and coaches, leading to more complex schemes. Baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer do not swap offensive and defensive units during games due to tradition or the flow of the game, but tradition is nothing more than a long line of past decisions. Other sports could have changed to allow more specialization, but they didn't.
Football did, and as college teams increasingly adopted the two-platoon game in the late 1940s, those naming the All-American teams had to adjust. Through 1948, the major news syndicates and others named only eleven players to their All-American teams. Finally, the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) changed with the times, naming separate offensive and defensive teams.
Although the caption above says otherwise, Notre Dame’s Leon Hart was the only player named to the first-team offense and defense.
There were some special and specialized players on that list. Still, it omitted specialist kickers and punters who did not appear on All-American lists until the 1980s.
Imagine trying to name an eleven-player team given today’s game.
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