Forward pass

In several forms of football a forward pass is a throwing of the ball in the direction that the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team's goal line. The forward pass is one of the main distinguishers between gridiron football (American football and Canadian football) in which the play is legal and widespread, and rugby football (union and league) from which the North American games evolved, in which the play is illegal.

In some football codes, such as association football (soccer), the kicked forward pass is used so ubiquitously that it is not thought of as a distinct kind of play at all. In these sports, the concept of offside is used to regulate who can be in front of the play or be nearest to the goal. However, this has not always been the case. Some earlier incarnations of football allowed unlimited forward passing, while others had strict offside rules similar to rugby.

The development of the forward pass in American football shows how the game has evolved from its rugby roots into the distinctive game it is today. Illegal and experimental forward passes had been attempted as early as 1876, but the first legal forward pass in American football took place in 1906, after a change in rules. Another change in rules occurred on January 18, 1951, which established that no center, tackle, or guard could receive a forward pass (unless such a player announces his intent to the referee he will be an eligible receiver, called a tackle-eligible play). Today, the only linemen who can receive a forward pass are the tight ends. Current rules regulate who may throw and who may receive a forward pass, and under what circumstances, as well as how the defensive team may try to prevent a pass from being completed. The primary pass thrower is the quarterback, and statistical analysis is used to determine a quarterback's success rate at passing in various situations, as well as a team's overall success at the "passing game."

Matt Cassel 2015
Quarterback Matt Cassel of Dallas Cowboys about to throw a forward pass in 2015

American and Canadian football

1964 Staubach
Quarterback Roger Staubach of the Navy Midshipmen throwing a pass against Maryland just as the pocket collapses, 1964

In American and Canadian football, a forward pass is usually referred to simply as a pass, and consists of a player throwing the football towards the opponent's goal line. This is permitted only once during a scrimmage down by the offensive team before team possession has changed, provided the pass is thrown from in or behind the neutral zone. An illegal forward pass can incur a yardage penalty and the loss of a down, although it may be legally intercepted by the opponents and advanced.

If an eligible receiver on the passing team legally catches the ball, the pass is completed and the receiver may attempt to advance the ball. If an opposing player legally catches the ball (all defensive players are eligible receivers) it is an interception. That player's team immediately gains possession of the ball and he may attempt to advance the ball toward his opponent's goal. If no player is able to legally catch the ball it is an incomplete pass and the ball becomes dead the moment it touches the ground. It will then be returned to the original line of scrimmage for the next down. If any player interferes with an eligible receiver's ability to catch the ball it is pass interference which draws a penalty of varying degree (largely depending upon the particular league's rules).

The person passing the ball must be a member of the offensive team, and the recipient of the forward pass must be an eligible receiver and must touch the passed ball before any ineligible player.

Matt Hasselbeck (8) drops back to pass
Matt Hasselbeck (8) of Seattle Seahawks dropping back to pass against Green Bay Packers in 2009

The moment that a forward pass begins is important to the game. The pass begins the moment the passer's arm begins to move forward. If the passer drops the ball before this moment it is a fumble and therefore a loose ball. In this case anybody can gain possession of the ball before or after it touches the ground. If the passer drops the ball while his arm is moving forward it is a forward pass, regardless of where the ball lands or is first touched.[1][2]

Tom Brady blocked. (6837565229)
Tom Brady trying to pass before being blocked, 2012

The quarterback generally either starts a few paces behind the line of scrimmage or drops back a few paces after the ball is snapped. This places him in an area called the "pocket", which is a protective region formed by the offensive blockers up front and between the tackles on each side. A quarterback who runs out of this pocket is said to be scrambling. Under NFL and NCAA rules, once the quarterback moves out of the pocket the ball may be legally thrown away to prevent a sack. NFHS (high school) rules do not allow for a passer to intentionally throw an incomplete forward pass to save loss of yardage or conserve time, except for a spike to conserve time after a hand-to-hand snap. If he throws the ball away while still in the pocket then a foul called "intentional grounding" is assessed. In Canadian football the passer must simply throw the ball across the line of scrimmage—whether he is inside or outside of the "pocket"—to avoid the foul of "intentionally grounding".

If a forward pass is caught near a sideline or endline it is a complete pass (or an interception) only if a receiver catches the ball in bounds. For a pass to be ruled complete in-bounds, depending on the rules either one or two feet must touch the ground within the field boundaries, after the ball is first grasped. In the NFL the receiver must touch the ground with both feet, but in most other codes—CFL, NCAA and high school—one foot in bounds is enough.

Common to all gridiron codes is the notion of control—a receiver must demonstrate control of the ball in order to be ruled in possession of it, while still in bounds, as defined by his code. If the receiver handles the ball but the official determines that he was still "bobbling" it prior to the end of the play, then the pass will be ruled incomplete.

Early illegal and experimental passes

The forward pass had been attempted at least 30 years before the play was actually made legal. Passes "had been carried out successfully but illegally several times, including the 1876 YalePrinceton game in which Yale's Walter Camp threw forward to teammate Oliver Thompson as he was being tackled. Princeton's protest, one account said, went for naught when the referee 'tossed a coin to make his decision and allowed the touchdown to stand' ".[3]

The University of North Carolina used the forward pass in an 1895 game against the University of Georgia. However, the play was still illegal at the time. Bob Quincy stakes Carolina's claim in his 1973 book They Made the Bell Tower Chime:

John Heisman, namesake of the Heisman Trophy, wrote 30 years later that, indeed, the Tar Heels had given birth to the forward pass against the Bulldogs (UGA). It was conceived to break a scoreless deadlock and give UNC a 6–0 win. The Carolinians were in a punting situation and a Georgia rush seemed destined to block the ball. The punter, with an impromptu dash to his right, tossed the ball and it was caught by George Stephens, who ran 70 yards for a touchdown.

In a 1905 experimental game at Wichita, Kansas, Washburn University and Fairmount College (what would become Wichita State) used the pass before new rules allowing the play were approved in early 1906.[4] Credit for the first pass goes to Fairmount's Bill Davis, who completed a pass to Art Solter.[5]

Georgia Tech Auburn football game Thanksgiving 1921
A pass at the 1921 Georgia Tech v Auburn game

1905 had been a bloody year on the gridiron; the Chicago Tribune reported 18 players had been killed and 159 seriously injured that season.[6] There were moves to outlaw the game, but United States President Theodore Roosevelt personally intervened and demanded that the rules of the game be reformed. In a meeting of more than 60 schools in late 1905, the commitment was made to make the game safer. This meeting was the first step toward the establishment of what would become the NCAA and was followed by several sessions to work out "the new rules."[7]

The final meeting of the Rules Committee tasked with reshaping the game was held on April 6, 1906, at which time the forward pass officially became a legal play.[4] The New York Times reported in September 1906 on the rationale for the changes: "The main efforts of the football reformers have been to 'open up the game'—that is to provide for the natural elimination of the so-called mass plays and bring about a game in which speed and real skill shall supersede so far as possible mere brute strength and force of weight."[8] However, the Times also reflected widespread skepticism as to whether the forward pass could be effectively integrated into the game: "There has been no team that has proved that the forward pass is anything but a doubtful, dangerous play to be used only in the last extremity."[9] John Heisman was instrumental in the rules' acceptance.

In Canadian football, the first exhibition game using a forward pass was held on November 5, 1921, at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada between the McGill Redmen football team and visiting American college football team the Syracuse Orangemen from Syracuse University. The game was organized by Frank Shaughnessy, the head coach of McGill[10][11]. McGill player Robert "Boo" Anderson is credited with the first forward pass attempt in Canadian football history.[12]

The forward pass was not officially allowed in Canadian football until 1929.[13]

First legal pass

Cochems 175
Eddie Cochems, "Father of the Forward Pass", 1907

Most sources credit St. Louis University's Bradbury Robinson from Bellevue, Ohio with throwing the first legal forward pass. On September 5, 1906, in a game against Carroll College, Robinson's first attempt at a forward pass fell incomplete and resulted in a turnover under the 1906 rules.[14] In the same game, Robinson later completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jack Schneider. The 1906 St. Louis team, coached by Eddie Cochems, was undefeated at 11–0 and featured the most potent offense in the country, outscoring their opponents 407–11. Football authority and College Football Hall of Fame coach David M. Nelson wrote that "E. B. Cochems is to forward passing what the Wright brothers are to aviation and Thomas Edison is to the electric light."[4]

While St. Louis University completed the first legal forward pass in the first half of September, this accomplishment was in part because most schools did not begin their football schedule until early October.

In 1952, football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg discounted accounts crediting any particular coach with being the innovator of the forward pass. Stagg noted that he had Walter Eckersall working on pass plays and saw Pomeroy Sinnock of Illinois throw many passes in 1906. Stagg summed up his view as follows: "I have seen statements giving credit to certain people originating the forward pass. The fact is that all coaches were working on it. The first season, 1906, I personally had sixty-four different forward pass patterns."[15] In 1954, Stagg disputed Cochems' claim to have invented the forward pass:

"Eddie Cochems, who coached at St. Louis University in 1906, also claimed to have invented the pass as we know it today ... It isn't so, because after the forward pass was legalized in 1906, most of the schools commenced experimenting with it and nearly all used."[16]

Stagg asserted that, as far back as 1894, before the rules committee even considered the forward pass, one of his players used to throw the ball "like a baseball pitcher."[16]

On the other hand, Hall of Fame coach Gus Dorais told the United Press that "Eddie Cochems of the St. Louis University team of 1906–07–08 deserves the full credit."[17] Writing in Collier's more than 20 years earlier, Dorais' Notre Dame teammate Knute Rockne acknowledged Cochems as the early leader in the use of the pass, observing, "One would have thought that so effective a play would have been instantly copied and become the vogue. The East, however, had not learned much or cared much about Midwest and Western football. Indeed, the East scarcely realized that football existed beyond the Alleghanies ..."[18]

Robinson forward pass
Bradbury Robinson, who threw the first legal forward pass in 1906

Once the 1906 season got underway, many programs began experimenting with the forward pass. On September 26, 1906, Villanova's game against the Carlisle Indians was billed as "the first real game of football under the new rules."[19] In the first play from scrimmage after the opening kicks, Villanova completed a pass that "succeeded in gaining ten yards."[19] Following the Villanova-Carlisle game, The New York Times described the new passing game this way:

"The passing was more of the character of that familiar in basket ball than that which has hitherto characterized football. Apparently it is the intention of football coaches to try repeatedly these frequent long and risky passes. Well executed they are undoubtedly highly spectacular, but the risk of dropping the ball is so great as to make the practice extremely hazardous and its desirability doubtful."[19]

Another coach sometimes credited with popularizing the overhead spiral pass in 1906 is former Princeton All-American "Bosey" Reiter. Reiter claimed to have invented the overhead spiral pass while playing professional football as a player-coach for Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics of the original National Football League (1902).[20][21] While playing for the Athletics, Reiter was a teammate of Hawley Pierce, a former star for the Carlisle Indian School. Pierce, a Native American, taught Reiter to throw an underhand spiral pass, but Reiter had short arms and was unable to throw for distance from an underhand delivery. Accordingly, Reiter began working on an overhand spiral pass.[20] Reiter recalled trying to imitate the motion of a baseball catcher throwing to second base. After practice and experimentation, Reiter "discovered he could get greater distance and accuracy throwing that way." [20] In 1906, Reiter was the head coach at Wesleyan University. In the opening game of the 1906 season against Yale, Reiter's quarterback Sammy Moore completed a forward pass to Irvin van Tassell for a thirty-yard gain. The New York Times called it "the prettiest play of the day", as Wesleyan's quarterback "deftly passed the ball past the whole Yale team to his mate Van Tassel."[22] Van Tassel later described the historic play to the United Press:

"I was the right halfback, and on this formation played one yard back of our right tackle. The quarterback, Sam Moore, took the ball from center and faded eight or 10 yards back of our line. Our two ends angled down the field toward the sidelines as a decoy, and I slipped through the strong side of our line straight down the center and past the secondary defense. The pass worked perfectly. However, the quarterback coming up fast nailed me as I caught it. This brought the ball well into Yale territory, about the 20-yard line."[23][24]

The football season opened for most schools during the first week of October, and the impact of the forward pass was immediate:

Some publications credit Yale All-American Paul Veeder with the "first forward pass in a major game." Veeder threw a 20 to 30-yard completion in leading Yale past Harvard 6–0 before 32,000 fans in New Haven on November 24, 1906.[30][31][32] However, that Yale/Harvard game was played three weeks after St. Louis completed 45 and 48-yard passes against Kansas before a crowd of 7,000 at Sportsman's Park.[33][34]

New style of play

HackettPostGame
Referee Hackett's analysis of St. Louis' passing game against Iowa, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, written by Ed Wray, November 30, 1906

The forward pass was a central feature of Cochems' offensive scheme in 1906 as his St. Louis University team compiled an undefeated 11–0 season in which they outscored opponents by a combined score 407 to 11. The highlight of the campaign was St. Louis' 39–0 win over Iowa. Cochems' team reportedly completed eight passes in ten attempts for four touchdowns. "The average flight distance of the passes was twenty yards." Nelson continues, "the last play demonstrated the dramatic effect that the forward pass was having on football. St. Louis was on Iowa's thirty-five-yard line with a few seconds to play. Timekeeper Walter McCormack walked onto the field to end the game when the ball was thrown twenty-five yards and caught on the dead run for a touchdown."[4]

The 1906 Iowa game was refereed by one of the top football officials in the country, West Point's Lt. Horatio B. "Stuffy" Hackett.[35] He had officiated games involving the top Eastern powers that year. Hackett, who would become a member of the football rules committee in December 1907[36] and officiated games into the 1930s,[37] was quoted the next day in Ed Wray's[38] Globe-Democrat article: "It was the most perfect exhibition ... of the new rules ... that I have seen all season and much better than that of Yale and Harvard. St. Louis' style of pass differs entirely from that in use in the east. ... The St. Louis university players shoot the ball hard and accurately to the man who is to receive it ... The fast throw by St. Louis enables the receiving player to dodge the opposing players, and it struck me as being all but perfect."[39]

Hackett is the only known expert witness to the passing offenses of both Cochems' 1906 squads and that of Stagg, who dismissed any special role for the St. Louis coach in the development of the pass. Hackett was an official in games involving both teams. As Wray recalled almost 40 years later: "Hackett told this writer that in no other game that he handled had he seen the forward pass as used by St. Louis U. nor such bewildering variations of it."[40]

"Cochems said that the poor Iowa showing resulted from its use of the old style play and its failure to effectively use the forward pass", Nelson writes. "Iowa did attempt two basketball-style forward passes."[41]

"During the 1906 season [Robinson] threw a sixty-seven yard pass ... and ... Schneider tossed a sixty-five yarder. Considering the size, shape and weight of the ball, these were extraordinary passes."[41]

In 1907, after the first season of the forward pass, one football writer noted that, "with the single exception of Cochems, football teachers were groping in the dark."[42]

Because St. Louis was geographically isolated from both the dominating teams and the major sports media (newspapers) of the era ... all centered in and focused on the East ... Cochems' groundbreaking offensive strategy was not picked up by the major teams. Pass-oriented offenses would not be adopted by the Eastern football powers until the next decade.

But that does not mean that other teams in the Midwest did not pick it up. Arthur Schabinger, quarterback for the College of Emporia in Kansas, was reported to have regularly used the forward pass in 1910. Coach H. W. "Bill" Hargiss' "Presbies" are said to have featured the play in a 17–0 victory over Washburn University[43] and in a 107–0 destruction of Pittsburg State University.[44] Coach Pop Warner at Carlisle had quarterback Frank Mount Pleasant, one of the first regular spiral pass quarterbacks in football.[45]

Rockne

RocknescoringonArmy
Knute Rockne of Notre Dame running away from Army after a forward pass from Gus Dorais, 1913

Knute Rockne and Gus Dorais worked on the pass while lifeguarding on a Lake Erie beach at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, during the summer of 1913.[46] That year, Jesse Harper, Notre Dame head coach, also showed how the pass could be used by a smaller team to beat a bigger one, first utilizing it to defeat rival Army. After it was used against a major school on a national stage in this game, the forward pass rapidly gained popularity.[47]

The 1919 and 1920 Notre Dame teams had George Gipp, an ideal handler of the forward pass,[48][49] who threw for 1,789 yards.[50]

John Mohardt led the 1921 Notre Dame team to a 10-1 record with 781 rushing yards, 995 passing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, and nine passing touchdowns.[51] Grantland Rice wrote that "Mohardt could throw the ball to within a foot or two of any given space" and noted that the 1921 team was the first at Notre Dame "to build its attack around a forward passing game, rather than use a forward passing game as a mere aid to the running game."[52] Mohardt had both Eddie Anderson and Roger Kiley at end to receive his passes.

Increase in popularity

BrickvsWJ
Editorial cartoon depicting Cal's Brick Muller vs. W & J College, 1922

From 1915–1916, Pudge Wyman and end Bert Baston of Minnesota were "one of the greatest forward-passing combinations in the history of the gridiron."[53][54]

In the 1921 Rose Bowl, California's Brick Muller completed a touchdown against Washington & Jefferson which went 53 yards in the air, a feat previously thought impossible.[55]

In a 1925, 62–13 victory over Cornell, Dartmouth's Andy Oberlander had 477 yards in total offense, including six touchdown passes,[56] a Dartmouth record which still stands.

The 1925 Michigan team was coach Fielding H. Yost's favorite and featured the passing tandem of Benny Friedman and Bennie Oosterbaan.

Yost disciple Dan McGugin coached Vanderbilt and was one of the first emphasize the forward pass.[57] His 1907 team beat Sewanee on a double pass play Grantland Rice cited as his biggest thrill in his years of watching sports.[58] McGugin's 1927 team was piloted by Bill Spears, who threw for over a thousand yards. According to one writer, Vanderbilt produced "almost certainly the legit top Heisman candidate in Spears, if there had been a Heisman Trophy to award in 1927."[59] McGugin disciple and former quarterback Ray Morrison brought the pass to the southwest when he coached Gerald Mann at Southern Methodist.[48]

First pass in a professional game

The first forward pass in a professional football game may have been thrown in an Ohio League game played on October 25, 1906. The Ohio League, which traced its history to the 1890s, was a direct predecessor of today's NFL. According to Robert W. Peterson in his book Pigskin The Early Years of Pro Football, the "passer was George W. (Peggy) Parratt, probably the best quarterback of the era", who played for the Massillon, Ohio Tigers, one of pro football's first franchises.[60] Citing the Professional Football Researchers Association as his source, Peterson writes that "Parratt completed a short pass to end Dan Riley (real name, Dan Policowski)" in a game played at Massillon against a team from West Virginia. Since the Tigers "ran up a 61 to 0 score on the hapless Mountain Staters, the pass played no important part in the result."[61]

According to National Football League history,[62] it legalized the forward pass from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage on February 25, 1933. Before that rule change, a forward pass had to be made from 5 or more yards behind the line of scrimmage.

Forward passes were first permitted in Canadian football in 1929,[63] but the tactic remained a minor part of the game for several years. Jack Jacobs of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is recognized, not for inventing the forward pass, but for popularizing it in the Western Interprovincial Football Union (one of the forerunner leagues to the modern Canadian Football League) in the early 1950s, thus changing the Canadian game from a more run-dominated game to the passing game as seen today.

Change in ball shape

Changes in ball shape through the years: from a first egg-shapped (1892) to a Wilson of 2012

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Specification of the size of the ball for the American game came in 1912, but it was still essentially a rugby ball. Increased use of the forward pass encouraged adoption of a narrower ball, starting with changes in the 1920s which enhanced rifled throwing and also spiral punting.[64] This had the consequence of all but eliminating the drop kick from the American game.[65]

Rugby football

In the two codes of rugby (union and league), a forward pass is against the rules. Normally this results in a scrum to the opposing team, but on rare occasions a penalty may be awarded if the referee is of the belief that the ball was deliberately thrown forward.[66]

In both codes of rugby the direction of the pass is relative to the player making the pass and not to the actual path relative to the ground. A forward pass occurs when the player passes the ball forward in relation to himself.[66] (This applies only to the movement of the player, not to the direction in which he or she is facing, i.e. if the player is facing backwards and passes in front of him, it is not forward; and conversely, if he passes behind him, it is forward as he is passing toward the opponent's goal area.) In rugby league, the video referee may not make judgements on whether a pass is forward.[67]

The garryowen, as well as the cross-field kick, while not as reliable as the forward pass and more difficult to execute successfully, can provide some of the function that a forward pass does in American and Canadian football.

See also

References

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  2. ^ "2013 Official Playing Rules of the National Football League" (PDF). www.nfl.com. National Football League. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  3. ^ Gregorian, Vahe, "100 years of Forward Passing; SLU Was the Pioneer" Archived 2011-08-22 at the Wayback Machine St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 4, 2006
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  5. ^ "ADDENDA TO "COLLEGE FOOTBALL IN KANSAS"". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
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  16. ^ a b "Stagg Disagrees on Origin of Forward Pass Play". Wilmington Sunday Star. 1954-01-24.
  17. ^ Casserly, Hank, "Hank Casserly Says", The Capital Times, page 1, September 17, 1952
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  20. ^ a b c "First Forward Pass Coach To Be Honored". North Adams Transcript. 1955-11-03.
  21. ^ "Forward Pass Pioneer Dies". Chester Times. 1957-11-12.
  22. ^ "Yale Scores Four Times: Centre Plays Yield Three Touchdowns". The New York Times. 1906-10-04.
  23. ^ Irwin van Tassel (as told to the United Press) (1955-11-05). "First Forward Pass Thrown By Wesleyan Team in 1906". Bridgeport Post.
  24. ^ "Bosey Reiter Dies". Bridgeport Post. 1957-11-13.
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  26. ^ "Tigers Brilliant Against Stevens: New Rules Seem To Please Princeton Players". The Trenton Times. 1906-10-04.
  27. ^ "Indians Swamp Susquehanna". The Trenton Times. 1906-10-04.
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  31. ^ Al Morganti (1983-11-18). "A Century of the Game: Yale-Harvard Is a Matter of Pride". The Philadelphia Inquirer. ("the first significant use of the forward pass in a major game, a 20-yard gain on a Paul Veeder-to-Clarence Alcoft pass in The Game of 1906")
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  40. ^ Wray's Column, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 9, 1946
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  43. ^ Kansas Sports Hall of Fame Archived 2009-05-14 at the Wayback Machine, Arthur Schabinger
  44. ^ Pittsburg State (Kansas) Football Scores, 1910 Archived 2009-02-15 at the Wayback Machine
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  49. ^ "Leslie's Weekly". google.com.
  50. ^ "Notre Dame Archives: George Gipp". Retrieved May 8, 2008.
  51. ^ Keith Marder; Mark Spellen; Jim Donovan (2001). The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia: The Ultimate Guide to America's Favorite College Team. Citadel Press. p. 148. ISBN 0806521082.
  52. ^ Grantland Rice (December 3, 1921). "Where The West Got The Jump: In Addition To Developing Strong Defense and Good Running Game, Has Built Up Forward Pass" (PDF). American Golfer.
  53. ^ Joe Rathbun (1942-04-23). "Sports Notes". The Times Recorder (Zanesville, OH).
  54. ^ "Three 'Immortals' To Direct Gophers In 1932 Grid Wars". Burlington Hawk Eye. 1932-04-08. ("The passing combination. Pudge Wyman to Baston, was the most damaging offensive threat of the team that year and stories of its feats have grown to legands.")
  55. ^ "Athlete, Officer in Law Enforcement and Administration, Governor of the Virgin Islands: Walter Gordon". www.oac.cdlib.org. p. 75. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  56. ^ "Dartmouth Shoots Down Cornell, 62-13, with Aerials". Chicago Tribune. November 8, 1925.
  57. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-15. Retrieved 2008-06-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  58. ^ closed access "Grantland Rice Tells Of Greatest Thrill In Years Of Watching Sport". Boston Daily Globe. April 27, 1924.
  59. ^ Mark Purcell (November 1988). "Spears and Vandy excitement in 1927" (PDF). College Football Historical Society. 2 (1).
  60. ^ Massillon Tiger Football History Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  61. ^ Peterson, Robert W., Pigskin The Early Years of Pro Football, pages 52–53, 1997
  62. ^ "NFL History by Decade (1931–1940)". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  63. ^ CFL.ca History, Timeline, 1920 Archived June 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  64. ^ See "Introduction: A Brief History of College Football" Archived 2008-12-10 at the Wayback Machine on the College Football Encyclopedia web site.
  65. ^ Stamp, Jimmy. "How Did the Pigskin Get Its Shape?". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  66. ^ a b "RUGBY LEAGUE LAWS OF THE GAME INTERNATIONAL LEVEL WITH NOTES ON THE LAWS AND NRL TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP INTERPRETATIONS" Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  67. ^ Alston, Josh (31 August 2009). "Henry queries benefit of the doubt". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 18 July 2012.

Additional sources

  • Boyles, Bob & Guido, Paul, 50 Years of College Football, 2007
1895 Georgia vs. North Carolina football game

The 1895 Georgia vs. North Carolina football game, played October 26, 1895, was a college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and North Carolina Tar Heels. The game features what some claim is the very first (legal or otherwise; the legal pass starts in 1906) forward pass. This was also the first season of the newly formed Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

1906 Ole Miss Rebels football team

The 1906 Ole Miss Rebels football team represented the University of Mississippi during the 1906 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. Games with Tennessee on October 27 and with Arkansas on November 17 were cancelled. This the first season of the legal forward pass. James C. Elmer of Ole Miss caught the first forward pass in the history of the Egg Bowl rivalry. Elmer's kicking accounted for 13 points in a 29–5 rout. For the first time the game marked the end of the season for not one but both teams.

1906 college football season

The 1906 college football season was the first in which the forward pass was permitted. Although there was no clear cut national championship, there were two teams that had won all nine of their games as the 1906 season drew to a close, the Princeton Tigers and the Yale Bulldogs, and on November 17, 1906, they played to a 0-0 tie. St. Louis University finished at 11-0-0. The Helms Athletic Foundation, founded in 1936, declared retroactively that Princeton had been the best college football team of 1906. Other selectors recognized Yale as the national champions for 1906.

1968 Preakness Stakes

The 1968 Preakness Stakes was the 93rd running of the $200,000 Preakness Stakes thoroughbred horse race. The race took place on May 18, 1968, and was televised in the United States on the CBS television network. Forward Pass, who was jockeyed by Ismael Valenzuela, won the race by six lengths over runner-up Out Of The Way. Approximate post time was 5:31 p.m. Eastern Time. The race was run on a fast track in a final time of 1:56-4/5. The Maryland Jockey Club reported total attendance of 40,247, this is recorded as second highest on the list of American thoroughbred racing top attended events for North America in 1968.

Arthur Schabinger

Arthur August Schabinger (August 6, 1889 – October 13, 1972) was an American football and basketball coach, and then later administrator. Schabinger is credited (although disputed) with throwing the first forward pass in college football history. Even if it was not the first forward pass, most certainly Schabinger was one of the early adopters and innovators of the play.

Dan Policowski

Dan Policowski was an early professional football player for the Massillon Tigers from 1904 to 1906. Originally from Canton, Ohio, which was the home of the Tigers', rival the Canton Bulldogs, Policowski played end under the alias Dan Riley. He was also known as "Bullet Riley".

Eddie Cochems

Edward Bulwer Cochems (; February 4, 1877 – April 9, 1953) was an American football player and coach. He played football for the University of Wisconsin from 1898 to 1901 and was the head football coach at North Dakota Agricultural College—now known as North Dakota State University (1902–1903), Clemson University (1905), Saint Louis University (1906–1908), and the University of Maine (1914). During his three years at Saint Louis, he was the first football coach to build an offense around the forward pass, which became a legal play in the 1906 college football season. Using the forward pass, Cochems' 1906 team compiled an undefeated 11–0 record, led the nation in scoring, and outscored opponents by a combined score of 407 to 11. He is considered by some to be the "father of the forward pass" in American football.

Eligible receiver

In American football and Canadian football, not all players on offense are entitled to receive a forward pass. Only an eligible pass receiver may legally catch a forward pass, and only an eligible receiver may advance beyond the neutral zone if a forward pass crosses into the neutral zone. If the pass is received by a non-eligible receiver, it is "illegal touching" (five yards and loss of down). If an ineligible receiver is beyond the neutral zone when a forward pass crossing the neutral zone is thrown, a foul of "ineligible receiver downfield" (five yards, but no loss of down) is called. Each league has slightly different rules regarding who is considered an eligible receiver.

End (gridiron football)

An end in American and Canadian football is a player who lines up at either end of the line of scrimmage, usually beside the tackles. Rules state that a legal offensive formation must always consist of seven players on the line of scrimmage and that the player on the end of the line constitutes an eligible receiver.

Before the advent of two platoons, in which teams fielded distinct defensive and offensive units, players that lined up on the ends of the line on both offense and defense were referred to simply as "ends". The position was used in this sense until roughly the 1960s.On offense, an end who lines up close to the other linemen is known as a tight end and is the only lineman who aside from blocking can run or catch passes. One who lines up some distance from the offensive line is known as a split end. In recent years and the proliferation of the forward pass, the term wide receiver covers both split ends and flankers (wide receivers who line up in split positions but behind the line of scrimmage). The terms “split end” and “flanker” are often replaced today with terms like "X" and "Z" receivers. Bill Carpenter was the first "Lonesome end."

On defense, there is a commonly used position called the defensive end. Its primary role is to rush the passer, as well as to stop offensive runs to the outer edges of the line of scrimmage (most often referred to as "containment"). However, as there are no rules regulating the formation of the defense, players at this position commonly take on and share multiple roles with other positions in different defensive schemes.

Forward Pass (horse)

Forward Pass (March 28, 1965 – December 1, 1980) was an American Thoroughbred Champion racehorse who is the only horse in the history of the Kentucky Derby to have been declared the winner as the result of a disqualification.

Gridiron football

Gridiron football, also known as North American football or, in North America, simply football, is a football sport primarily played in the United States and Canada. American football, which uses 11-player teams, is the form played in the United States and the best known form of gridiron football worldwide, while Canadian football, featuring 12-player teams, predominates in Canada. Other derivative varieties include indoor football, football for smaller teams (most commonly eight players), and informal games such as touch and flag football. Football is played at professional, collegiate, semi-professional, and amateur levels.

The sport originated in the 19th century out of older games related to modern rugby football and soccer (association football). American and Canadian football developed alongside each other and were originally more distinct before Canadian teams adopted features of the American game. Both varieties are distinguished from other football sports by their use of hard plastic helmets and shoulder pads, the forward pass, the system of downs, a number of unique rules and positions, measurement in customary units of yards (even in Canada, which mostly metricated in the 1970s, yards are still used), and a distinctive brown leather ball in the shape of a prolate spheroid with pointed ends.

The international governing body for the sport is the International Federation of American Football (IFAF); although the organization plays all of its international competitions under American rules, it uses a definition of the game that is broad enough that it includes Canadian football under its umbrella, and Football Canada (the governing body for Canadian football) is an IFAF member.

Guard (American and Canadian football)

In American and Canadian football, a guard (G) is a player who lines up between the center and the tackles on the offensive line of a football team on the line of scrimmage used primarily for blocking. Right guards (RG) is the term for the guards on the right of the offensive line, while left guards (LG) are on the left side. Guards are to the right or left of the center.

The guard's job is to protect the quarterback from the incoming linemen during pass plays, as well as creating openings (holes) for the running backs to head through. Guards are automatically considered ineligible receivers, so they cannot intentionally touch a forward pass, unless it is to recover a fumble or is first touched by a defender or eligible receiver.

Homer Woodson Hargiss

Homer Woodson "Bill" Hargiss (September 1, 1887 – October 15, 1978) was an American football and basketball player, and track and field athlete, and coach in Kansas and Oregon. He was an early innovator in football and was known to be one of the first coaches to use the forward pass and the huddle.

Knute Rockne

Knute Kenneth Rockne ( kə-NOOT; March 4, 1888 – March 31, 1931) was a Norwegian-American football player and coach at the University of Notre Dame.

Rockne is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college football history. His biography at the College Football Hall of Fame identifies him as "without question, American football's most-renowned coach". Rockne helped to popularize the forward pass and made the Notre Dame Fighting Irish a major factor in college football.

Lateral pass

In American football and Canadian football, a lateral pass or lateral (officially backward pass in American football and onside pass in Canadian football) occurs when the ball carrier throws the football to a teammate in a direction parallel to or away from the opponents' goal line. A lateral pass is distinguished from a forward pass, in which the ball is thrown forward, towards the opposition's end zone. In a lateral pass the ball is not advanced, but unlike a forward pass a lateral may be attempted from anywhere on the field by any player to any player at any time.

While the forward pass is an invention of the North American games, the lateral and backward pass is also a part of rugby union and rugby league, where such passes are the norm. Compared to its use in rugby, laterals and backward passes are less common in North American football, due to a much greater focus on ball control in American football strategy; they are most commonly used by the quarterback, after taking the snap, to quickly transfer ("pitch") the ball a short distance to a nearby running back (or, rarely, wide receiver) on a rushing play. Laterals are also often seen as part of a last-minute desperation strategy or as part of a trick play. Examples of plays utilizing the lateral pass are the toss, flea flicker, hook and lateral, and buck-lateral.

Multivariate adaptive regression spline

In statistics, multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS) is a form of regression analysis introduced by Jerome H. Friedman in 1991. It is a non-parametric regression technique and can be seen as an extension of linear models that automatically models nonlinearities and interactions between variables.

The term "MARS" is trademarked and licensed to Salford Systems. In order to avoid trademark infringements, many open-source implementations of MARS are called "Earth".

Pass interference

In American and Canadian gridiron football, pass interference (PI) is a foul that occurs when a player interferes with an eligible receiver's ability to make a fair attempt to catch a forward pass. Pass interference may include tripping, pushing, pulling, or cutting in front of the receiver, covering the receiver's face, or pulling on the receiver's hands or arms. It does not include catching or batting the ball before it reaches the receiver. Once the ball touches any defensive player or eligible offensive receiver the above rules no longer apply and the defender may tackle the receiver or attempt to prevent him from gaining control of the ball.

Once a forward pass is in the air it is a loose ball and thus any eligible receiver – all defensive players are eligible receivers – may try to catch it. When a defensive player catches a forward pass it is an interception and his team gains possession of the ball. Some actions that are defined as pass interference may be overlooked if the defender is attempting to catch or bat the ball rather than focusing on the receiver.

The intended receiver may find himself a defender if a defensive player has a better chance to catch a forward pass. If an offensive player commits pass interference against a defensive player attempting to intercept a forward pass it is offensive pass interference.

Reception (gridiron football)

In American football and Canadian football, a reception, also known informally as a catch, is part of a play in which a forward pass from behind the line of scrimmage is received (caught) by a player in bounds, who, after the catch, proceeds to either score a touchdown or be downed. Yards gained from the receiving play are credited to the receiver as receiving yards. If such a pass is not caught by the receiver, it is called an incomplete pass or simply an incompletion.

A reception should not be confused with a lateral, also known as a lateral pass or backward pass, which occurs when the ball is thrown backwards or sideways to a teammate (that is, no part of the pass trajectory is toward the opponent's goal line).

The Forward Pass

The Forward Pass is a 1929 American Pre-Code football drama musical film directed by Edward F. Cline, starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Loretta Young. John Wayne was an uncredited extra in the film. The film is believed to be lost.

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