Today's Tidbit... The More Things Change and Massive Badger Offensive Linemen
Among the signature features of the Wisconsin Badgers football program is their huge offensive linemen, so it was no surprise to come across the following 1914 headline.
The story went syndicated –the 1914 version of going viral- so anyone interested in football learned the Badgers had a 6-foot 5-inch, 265-pound center named Arlie Mucks. According to the story, the Badger coaches hid his uniform to ensure no one could steal it since Arlie was the seventh wonder of the world and his football togs were the eighth.
Like many Badger linemen, Mucks was a Wisconsin boy. Before playing football for the Badgers, he had proven his athletic credentials as the first high schooler to represent the U.S. in the Olympics (1912 Stockholm), placing sixth in the discus. He also placed fifteenth in the two-handed discus, an event that gave competitors three throws with their right hand and three with their left, with the best throw from each hand summed to generate their total distance.
Despite the football fanfare, concern about his knees led him to focus on track. Mucks set the U.S. collegiate discus record at the 1916 Penn Relays, exceeding the previous best toss by five feet, and presaged the NIL era when the citizens of Oshkosh, his hometown, awarded him a Kissel Motor Car soon thereafter. Despite accepting the car, Mucks played football for Wisconsin that fall, limiting his role to punting. How he managed that during the single-platoon era is unclear.
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