It was 100 years ago today that the game of football was changed forever. You might not have recognized early football games. The first football game, between Rutgers and Princeton was played in 1869 with 25 players on each team, using a round ball. In early football, there were no quarterbacks, no receivers, no first downs. The ball could not be picked up and carried and was either kicked, or batted with the head, arms or body. The team had to get the ball across the goal line of the opposing team. In early football, every game had different rules. The teams would meet before the game to decide how many players would be on each team, even how long the field should be, how many points would be scored for reaching the goal and how many minutes the game would last. For awhile, touchdowns (crossing the goal line) didn’t earn you any points, only the right to kick the ball over a rope strung between two poles. In 1873, four schools met and decided on a uniform field of 400 feet by 250 feet and 20 players on each team. In 1880, the number of players on the field at one time was reduced to 11 and the snap was introduced. Originally, a snap was uncontested and on several occasions, the team just held the ball for the entire half to preserve a lead (and you thought Jaguar games were boring). Football was a dangerous sport. In 1905, there were 19 fatalities in a very limited number of football games. President Roosevelt, himself a fan since watching a game from the stands as a student at Harvard in 1876, threatened to abolish the game unless rules were changed. In 1905, sixty-two schools met in New York City and formed the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. (NCAA). Among the new rules was the introduction of the forward pass, suggested by a Georgia Tech coach named John Heisman (yeah, the trophy guy – he once beat Cumberland 222-0, the most lopsided game in football history). The first forward pass was thrown by St. Louis in a Carroll College game in Waukesha, WI. in 1906, but there were very few passes. First of all, if a pass was incomplete, it was a turnover and the defensive team got the ball on offense. Passes had to be thrown from at least 5 yards behind the scrimmage line and couldn’t go more than 20 yards. The rules were eventually eased and in 1912, passes could be longer and you didn’t turn the ball over with an incomplete pass. Also in 1912, it was decided that 6 points would be awarded for a touchdown, that the field would be shortened to 100 yards and that the offense would have four downs instead of three to get a first down. Read on… (more…)
The GVSU (8-2)/Saginaw Valley (9-1) game today in Allendale is huge. Lubbers Field will be rockin’. That’s a 1 PM game. Ferris State has a home game against Northern Michigan. Michigan State has a big match-up with Nebraska. That game’s at 3:30 PM on WOTV4. CMU (3-6) is at WMU (1-9). Both teams desperately looking for a win. Michigan heads to Evanston, IL to take on Northwestern, a team that has had too many injuries and a disappointing Big Ten season so far. My Badgers should get a win over Indiana in Madison and I’ll be helping my wife root for her alma mater, Illinois (BA and MA) against Ohio State. The last time Illinois beat Ohio State in Champaign was 1991. There is a chance of showers at that game. Stanford and USC tangle on WOTV4 at 8 PM. Stanford has won the last four games of that match. Notre Dame is idle this week. WOOD and Football Frenzy will be covering at least 10 of the high school playoff games today. The games start at 1 PM with the exception of the Zeeland West game at Mt. Pleasant, which starts at 2 PM. The games should take place under mild and dry conditions. Congratulations to Comstock Park and South Christian for their Friday night victories. In general, we had good weather for the Friday night games this year. Detroit tries to get their first win at Pittsburgh since 1955 (they’ve lost 9 in a row there). They will have to watch for a thunderstorm and strong winds at the NFL games Sunday in Chicago and Cincinnati. The Pistons won one in Sacramento, Michigan St. took way too long to put away Columbia, the Red Wings have lost 7 in a row at home.
TIGERS WIN! 1-0. They got their first hit in the 9th inning. Sanchez – no hitter thru 6 innings (he threw 116 pitches). He had 12 strikeouts and 6 walks. Sanchez with FOUR STRIKEOUTS in the first inning. A record! Penn State wins 43-40 in FOUR overtimes! Exciting game, big 4th down conversion by Penn. St. Spartans knocked off Indiana this afternoon. Central won at Ohio, 26-23, but Western got skunked 33-0 by Buffalo. Notre Dame had a bye week. My Badgers had an easier time than expected with Northwestern, winning 35-6. The Detroit Lions head to Cleveland for the usual 1 PM start. Cleveland has won 3 in a row. I see Suh is 100K poorer. NASCAR stopped in Charlotte NC. Finally, an interesting article on how President Teddy Roosevelt helped to promote football in the early days.
The big story is the Tigers. They lost a tough one 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th. Great Pitching by Verlander…gotta score. The series is 1-1. Both U. of M and MSU won. Central Michigan beat Miami (OH) 21-9. Western is still winless. Ferris made quite a comeback, but fell a little short. Notre Dame beat AZ. State. Grand Valley thumped Mich. Tech. The Lions are in Green Bay (1 PM on FOX) . NASCAR is in Kansas this weekend (Sunday 1 PM on ESPN).
The big story is the Tigers as they finish up a couple of games in Miami against the Marlins and look ahead to the playoffs…maybe with Oakland. It’s been near 90 in Miami this week. The Marlins have lost 100 games. Only Houston has more losses. Both the Cubs and White Sox finish last in their divisions. Kind of a quiet football Saturday with both Michigan and Michigan St. have a bye week. Many teams are getting two bye weeks this year. That can be both good and bad…more prep. time, a recruiting trip, injuries have another week to heal, but it can slow down your momentum (and you waste a good football weekend weatherwise on a day like today). The bigger TV games for us are #14 Oklahoma at Notre Dame at 3:30 PM – that game is on WOOD-TV. This evening, I’ll be watching my alma mater (Wisconsin) try and upend Ohio State in Columbus. That game is on WOTV4 at 8 PM. Central is at North Carolina State at 3:30 PM on ESPN3. Western has a good chance to get that first win of the year, taking on Kent St. at home. That game is at 7 PM on ESPN3. Grand Valley is at Ohio Dominion…that’s a school with 23, 464 students against a school with 2982 students (Hillsdale has 1200 students and Lake Erie 1300 – they’re like high schools in terms of numbers). Hope is undefeated so far this year and on the road against Illinois Wesleyan. Last we have the Detroit Lions playing da Bears. That’s the usual 1 PM start on FOX. The Sunday night game on WOOD-TV/NBC is New England at Atlanta. NASCAR is in Dover, Delaware Sunday afternoon on ESPN. Leave a comment if I missed anything that you’re interested in.
Michigan St. travels to S. Bend to take on Notre Dame at 3:30 PM Saturday. That game is on WOOD-TV (NBC) at 3:30 PM. I’ll probably be down at ArtPrize, but if I’m near a TV, I’ll keep an eye on my alma mater (Wisconsin). The Badgers are hosting Purdue. Michigan is at Connecticut (they should have just moved he game to the Big House and collected the extra $$). That’s an ABC (WOTV4) game and starts at 8 PM. Toledo comes to Mt. Pleasant to take on CMU at Noon (ESPN3). Western is at Iowa at Noon on the Big Ten Network. The Lions are in D.C. to take on the Redskins. Both teams really need a win. The Sunday evening game on WOOD-TV (NBC) is the 2-0 Bears against Pittsburgh. The Tigers host the last-place White Sox. They may close out the division title this weekend. NASCAR is at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sunday 2 PM on ESPN). Keep an eye on the forecasts for the Friday night Football Frenzy games. The front ought to clear our area, but east toward Detroit and especially in Ohio, thunderstorms could disrupt the games. I already linked to this video, but it’s worth seeing again. Lightning hitting a tree next to a high school football halftime show in Florida last Friday night. More new and updated threads below this one.
We kick off the NFL season this Thurs. evening on NBC (WOOD-TV) with the Ravens and Broncos. The Lions play Minnesota at 1 PM Sunday at Ford Field. As usual, Jack Doles is pessimistic about the final Lions record and Larry Figurski is more optimistic. It’s like that every year. That game is on FOX. CBS has the Bengals and Bears at 1 PM. The N.Y. Giants are at Dallas in the Sunday evening game on NBC. Michigan St. hosts South Florida at noon Sat. on ESPNU. Hopefully, CMU welcomes New Hampshire at 3 PM Sat. (ESPN3). Western has a home game at 7 PM with Nichols St. Grand Valley has an evening game with Azusa Pacific in Allendale. Ferris St. heads to North Dakota St. this Saturday. Hope is at North Park. The biggest game of the day (maybe) is Notre Dame at Michigan. That’s at 8 PM on ESPN. The Tigers gave up 20 runs and 8 home runs as Boston scored in every inning except the first. They’ve now lost 6 of their last 10 as they head to Kansas City. US Open Tennis is running now and the pro golf tour hopes the Chiquita Classic has a bunch of ap-peel. The NASCAR Sprint Tour lands in Richmond VA. this Saturday. Leave a comment and make a guess on the final record of your favorite teams.
BTW – did you see that NBC Nightly News lead story Weds. evening was from right here in G.R. Also, massive amounts of ice in the Arctic hampering ships. This was the coldest summer (June thru August) ever recorded north of 80 deg. latitude (records go back to 1958). The town of Resolute in N. Canada hasn’t been warmer than 33F since August 18th. The town of Alert hasn’t been above freezing since 8/22. On Sept. 2 they had a high temperature of 25F and a low of 10F. They’re already making ice up there. While Arctic ice extent remains well below the 1979-2000 average, there has been a huge increase in ice cover in the past year. The Antarctic ice cap is at a record extent and has been growing pretty steadily for 25 years. Here’s a graph of annual temperatures for the South Pole weather stations (Amundsen-Scott). Also, only the 4th time since 1883 that there was not a 100-deg. temperature in Alabama during meteorological summer (June, July and August).
This weekend the Chicago to Mackinac Yacht Race is on. Here’s where you can follow the race. Here’s current conditions at weather stations around Lake Michigan, current weather at the North Mid-Lake Buoy and the South Mid-Lake Buoy. Mackinac Is. webcams here. Video update here. Here’s where you can get more buoy data. Here’s the Lake Michigan wind forecast and the whole Great Lakes. Picture courtesy NBC5.
GRIFFINS WIN!!! GRIFFINS WIN!!! The Grand Rapids Griffins get the Calder Cup. Big ratings on WXSP, I bet. Here’s a list that shows where you can find WXSP in your town or on your cable or satellite TV. Our own Larry Figurski (a great hockey player and Bob Kaser announced the game on radio. , you can listen to Griffins games on WOOD-AM radio. Here’s pictures of Friday Night’s game. Picture in the middle was just sent to me by Larry Figurski during Game 6 Tues. night – Larry did the play-by-play on WOOD radio.
I have today (Thurs.) off. I’ll be at the Meadows Clubhouse at GVSU for the Champions Luncheon, featuring Darrell Waltrip, one of the best racers of all time! There’s golf to follow. You are welcome to join us for either the lunch or the golf (or both). The lunch is only $15/person. You can come as early as 10:30 AM. The lunch begins at 11:30 AM. Really, I mean it. Even if you can get away for a couple hours during the day, come out and have lunch with me. If they run out of food, you can have my lunch! If you really honestly can’t afford the $15, I’ll buy your lunch. Really, I will. There’s still room for you to golf, too. That’s $150/person and it includes the luncheon, golf fees, cart, beverages on the course and Prize Picnic to follow event. I’m playing with Darrell – I think I’ll let him drive the cart! It’s a benefit for Moriah Ministries at Grand Valley State University. Moriah Ministries has taken kids down to do tornado clean-up. – it’s a great group. More info on the luncheon and golf at this link.