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Football History

1924-Marines v Army

Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indians (American Legion Magazine, 1940)

This football article recounts the glory days of Jim Thorpe (1888 - 1953) and his Carlisle football team as well as a number of other Native-American jocks of lesser fame who were active in other sports during the same time period.

"A remarkable all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania was a whiz at reversing his field or skirting an end, and there was bonecrunching power behind his charges into the line. He could punt with any of them and was a good drop kicker. But it was as a place kicker that he was really tops. He rarely missed one."

We recommend this unique college football site...


The Four Horsemen and Knute Rockne in His Own Words (Collier's Magazine, 1930)

An article written by one of the grand old men of football and one of the game's most legendary coaches: Knute Rockne (1888 1931). Before there was the NFL, there was only college football and it was football pioneers like Rockne who brought out the excitement of the game, generating such enthusiasm for the sport and creating a fan-base that grew steadily throughout the century. Just as Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs had "The Hogs" in the Eighties, Knute Rockne was famous for a group of players in the Twenties called the "Four Horsemen" (Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Elmer Layden, and Jim Crowley), and that is who the coach wrote about on the attached pages:

"Individually, at first, they were just four compact youths, no better than football's average...Within a season they became famous - the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame...They amazed even their own coach"


A Page from the Dartmouth Play Book Praised (Literary Digest, 1930)

In one of his weekly columns for the year 1930, Sol Metzger (1880 - 1932) praised the well-coordinated teamwork of the Dartmouth boys for a surprising play they deployed in their contest against Harvard a year earlier (Crimson ate it 34 to 7). The play is diagrammed and can easily be printed.


The Birth of the Green Bay Packers (American Legion Monthly, 1936)

This is a sports article that summarizes the meteoric course of the Green Bay Packers, from their earliest days in 1918, when Curly Lambeau approached a meat packing plant beseeching their patronage in order that the team could have uniforms, to the high perch they held in 1936.

"Consider for a moment the success this team has had, coming as it does from the smallest city in the pro league. After battling first division teams in the National Professional Football League for many years, the Packers finally came through and won three successive world championships in 1929, 1930 and 1931... If you were to ask most college football stars which pro team they would like to play on, most of them would invariably answer, 'The Green Bay Packers'".


The Case Against Football (Literary Digest, 1897)

Today the word "football" summons forth images of gigantic, vigorous and fully televised athletes sporting protective padding while surrounded by enthusiastic fans and well-compensated cheerleaders; yet, one hundred years ago, that same word made one think of embalmers, tombstones and weeping mothers. Football's popularity had been increasing since the 1870s, and by the end of the Nineteenth Century the sport had amassed a lengthy casualty list. Footballers continued to keep the American medical establishment and sundry funeral directors fully employed up to the year 1910, when helmets and padding were introduced with some success.

The attached article is from an 1897 issue of THE LITERARY DIGEST and it reported on a strong civic movement to ban the sport of football.

Click here if you would like to see three editorial cartoons denouncing football from the same era.


Anti-Football Cartoons from 1897 (Literary Digest, 1897)

Here are three forceful gags from 1897 in which the cartoonists clearly indicated a desire that football be banned from the all colleges, if not made illegal throughout the entire nation.


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