Football introduces the first head protection: the “nose guard.” Who needs a football helmet when a player can grow his hair long for plenty of head padding? (Hey, Kaepernick, you weren’t the first!)
If a player in 1907 is more afraid of a broken nose than a broken head, is he a dumb pretty-boy or a different breed of tough? You be the judge.
- In 1907, the “starting 11” means just that. You play both ways, offense & defense.
- Substitutions? Sure, but if you leave the game, you’re done, like in baseball. The only exception is if an injury takes you out, then you can come back in. (And don’t think there were concussion protocols.)
- Then there’s the first meaning of “pass interference.” Receivers run downfield. The pass is thrown. All but one of the receivers knock down and take out the defensive backs so the last man standing, the designated receiver, can catch the ball. It was rough, and totally legal.
How tough were the Carlisle Indians in 1907?
- Oct. 2, they played Susquehanna and “scalped” them 91-0. Why the run-up? National ranking was also judged by total points. (“Mercy rules” were for church.)
- Three days later, Oct 5, Carlisle played Penn State. Okay, the Indians were a little tired; they were behind 5-4 at the half. But Penn State petered out. The better trained and nail-tough Indians went on to win 18-5.
Next: Pop Warner, his most infamous trick plays, and his mantra: “There’s no rule against it.”