, Newburyport, MA


December 17, 2012

The way football used to be played


Back in the old days, the football was more rounded. It was fatter in the middle, which made it a little more difficult for passers. There wasn’t that much passing; the game was mostly running. Kicking the ball was very important; they could punt it more effectively because of its being fatter. Drop kicking was also a typical play; all teams had at least one player who could drop kick. Adding to the interest of drop kicking was the use of the play close to the goal line. They would fake a run and someone would drop kick for a field goal. Extra-point attempts were mostly done with drop kicks.

I hope people haven’t forgotten Doug Flutie, who contributed to putting Boston College on the map. He was a spunky little quarterback who went on to play professional football. In his last season in the pros he delighted everyone by drop kicking for a point after. Even though the football was narrow, he accomplished the old style of drop kicking.

Kids would learn early how to punt the ball. They practiced punting as well as drop kicking. I admire the old-time greats who could do it all — they were so versatile. They could run, pass and kick a ball and still play a heck of a game on defense. There were no specialists then, the backs did it all. A strategy they used a lot was a quick kick. You hardly see it today. They would catch a team by surprise and punt the ball way down the field. With a good defense they would try to keep the opponent there.

Football today has gotten too big for my money. There is far too much hype for me. I remember as a kid listening to a college games on the radio. On Saturday afternoons, I’d listen to Bill Stern announce the game; he did the job so well, I could picture the game in my mind. I don’t appreciate all the commentaries today; I just want to watch the game. With the instant replays, who needs two announcers reviewing what you have already seen? In my opinion, it’s not necessary.

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