Today’s Tidbit…The Year of the Disappearing Quarterback ($)
Often, the most interesting aspects of history are not the events that happened but those that did not. One of those events discussed, considered, and attempted in 1910 was the elimination of the quarterback position.
The quarterback is the star position in football today, but that was not the case early on due to the rules in place. In the 1880s, the player receiving the snap from the center could not carry the ball forward. Only the third and subsequent players touching the ball could run it forward. Rule 30 of the 1888 Foot Ball Rule Book read:
The man who first receives the ball when snapped back from a down, or thrown back from a fair, shall not carry the ball forward under any circumstances whatever.
Early offenses generally aligned in the Traditional T formation featuring seven men close to one another on the line of scrimmage, the quarterback squatted slightly behind the snapper-back, and the three running backs lined up four or five yards behind the line of scrimmage. While teams were not required to have seven players on the line of scrimmage, most did, while other teams positioned a few of their guards, tackles, or ends behind the line of scrimmage.