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Today's Tidbit... Missing The Point, As Normal
I acquired this RPPC because I loved the circular SPN logo on their jerseys and didn't have anything similar in my collection. The seller did not identify the pictured team, but with the '06' on the ball and a distinctive logo, I thought I could identify the school with a little or a lot of detective work.
The obvious question is, which school might use an SPN logo? Initially, I thought the school might be named after a saint. Then, thinking the players appeared to be college-age, I shifted my focus to the N, guessing the team might represent a normal school such as Southwestern (something) Normal or Southern (something) Normal.
I then hit on a normal school for which the SPN moniker fit, so I located a copy of their 1907 yearbook. Lo and behold, page 109 had a picture of the 1906 football team, with most wearing jerseys with the same logo as the guys in the RPPC. I hit it on the first attempt.
I quickly matched several faces between the two images using my patented brain-based facial recognition system. So, a combination of detective work and luck made for the quick identification of the team. The names and faces in the yearbook image then allowed me to identify each player on the 1906 team from Stevens Point Normal, now the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Having identified the team and its players, how did they perform? What was their record? The yearbook summarized their season in three paragraphs, with the last two sentences of the first paragraph demonstrating how to put a positive spin on a season. It states:
Thus, under adverse circumstances, and without a coach, tho ably led by their captain, the boys went to work with a will, exhibiting much energy and grit. As a result the S. P. N. Football team lost but one game out of the six which it played this season.
1907 Wisconsin-Stevens Point yearbook
Although UW-Stevens Point's 2023 Football Record Book lists the scores for only two games in 1906, a newspaper archive search located game results for five of the six games mentioned in the 1907 yearbook. The 1906 season was likely the most revolutionary in the game's history, with many new rules enacted. The forward pass became legal but saw sporadic use, so the most significant difference for most teams and fans was the requirement that teams gain ten yards in three downs rather than five yards in three downs. Unfortunately, teams across the country failed to adapt their plays and game strategy to the 1906 rules, leading evenly-matched teams to struggle to earn first downs. That resulted in many games becoming glorified punting duels, and that appears to have been the case for the Pointers:
9/28: Grand Rapids HS, 0-0
10/06 Oshkosh @ Oshkosh, 0-30
10/13 Grand Rapids HS, 0-0
10/20 Oshkosh @ Stevens Point, 0-0
11/3: Stevens Point HS, 0-0
Missing the result of one game
The Pointers clearly did not have a high-scoring offense since they did not score a point in the five games with known scores. As important, while the yearbook told us they lost only one game, the Pointers went 0-1-4 record in the five known games, and three of their four ties came against high school teams. So, while the one-loss season touted by the yearbook sounded good and appears to have been true, it was a tad deceptive.
As the article title told you at the beginning, they missed the point(s), as normal.
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