Shorty Ray

Hugh Light "Shorty" Ray (September 21, 1884 – September 16, 1956) was an American football player and official. He was the first technical advisor on the rules and supervisor of officials for the National Football League (NFL) from 1938 to 1952. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.

Shorty Ray
Hugh "Shorty" Ray
Born:September 21, 1884
Highland Park, Illinois
Died:September 16, 1956 (aged 71)
Career information
Position(s)Technical Advisor on the Rules, Supervisor of Officials
CollegeUniversity of Illinois

Early years

Ray was born in Highland Park, Illinois, in 1884. He was the son of John Thompson Ray and Emily S. (Light) Ray.[1] He attended the Crane Manual Training High School in Chicago.[1] He began his college education at Lewis Institute (now part of the Illinois Institute of Technology) from 1901 to 1903.[1] He next attended the University of Illinois where he received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.[1] He played baseball, football, and basketball at Illinois and was captain of the 1905–06 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team.[1] Ray also reportedly beat University of Chicago football star Walter Eckersall in a 100-yard dash while attending Illinois.[2] According to his biography at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ray was five feet, six inches tall and weighed only 136 pounds.[3]

Teaching and officiating career

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Ray served as the athletic director at the Smith Academy in St. Louis from 1907 to 1908.[1] In 1909, he was hired as a mechanical drawing instructor at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago.[1] He continued teaching mechanical drawing in Chicago high schools for more than 30 years.[4][5]

In addition to his work as a teacher, Ray worked as a football official in Big Ten Conference games in the 1920s and 1930s.[2][6] He also officiated in basketball and baseball games.[7]

Ray helped organize the Athletic Officials Association (AOA) and organized rules clinics and written tests that were mandatory for members of the AOA. He was also the author of the high school football code and invented and copyrighted the "Play Situation Book" now called the "Case Book" The "Play Situations Book" taught the Officials, Coaches, and Players the rules through example and standardized their implementation.[2] According to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, "many experts concede that Shorty did much to save the game during the dark days [in the 1920s] when football was under a cloud of mounting injuries, outmoded rules, haphazard officiating and draggy contests."[2]

NFL technical adviser

George Halas persuaded the NFL to hire Ray in 1938 to rewrite its rules book and train its officials.[2] In 1947, Ray was given a five-year contract as Technical Advisor on the Rules and Supervisor of Officials to the NFL and resigned from the Chicago public schools to devote his full efforts to his job with the NFL.[4] He served as a technical adviser to the NFL and supervisor of officials until his retirement in 1952. Ray has been credited with making the forward pass "an effective weapon by redesigning the ball."[8] Ray also sought to increase the speed of play.[2] He said, "The faster you play, the more plays you create."[8] He directed officials to be prompt in recovering the ball and getting it into play again and insisted that the 30 seconds allowed to put the ball in play be strictly enforced.[2] With Ray's emphasis on faster play, the average number of plays per touchdown decreased from 48 in 1938 to 24 in 1945.[2]

Ray was also responsible for numerous rules changes, including the following:

  • He changed the rules so that an incomplete pass was not a loss to the passing team.[2]
  • He developed the rule that the clock stops from the moment an incomplete pass hits the ground until play resumes.[2]

Ray's biography at the Pro Football Hall of Fame calls him pro football's "unknown hero" who "helped save an often-unexciting game from extinction."[3] According to that biography, "Shorty insisted his officials became absolute masters of the rules book. He gave them written tests and demanded that they score better than 95 percent every time.[3] George Halas said in 1949 that his role in hiring Ray was "my greatest contribution to the National Football League,"[9] and later said of Ray: "He was the smartest man in rules ever. He was a genius."[10]

In his later years, however, Ray was criticized for becoming overly technical, "inundating his officials with memoranda," urging them to speed up play, call all fouls, and stop the clock.[10] Under his guidance to speed up play, the NFL played a record 10,451 plays during the 1947 NFL season. However, penalties also increased to an average of 13 per game in 1951.[10] Frustrated with the growing rate of penalties, a group of owners sought to have Ray fired, but loyalists including George Halas defended Ray.[10]

Ray resigned as the NFL's technical adviser in May 1952; he said at the time that he no longer felt he could physically do the job.[11]

Family, later years and posthumous honors

Ray was married to Charlotte Johnson (sometimes known as "Lottie") in October 1908. They had four children: Charlotte (born 1912), Hugh Jr. (born 1913), Edith Virginia (born 1918), and Mary Jane (born 1921).[1]

Ray moved to Los Angeles after retiring from his position with the NFL. He died at a sanitarium there in September 1956 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage at age 72. He was buried in Chicago.[12][13]

In March 1966, Ray was posthumously elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of its fourth class of inductees.[14] At the induction ceremony in September 1966, Ray's son, Hugh L. Ray Jr., accepted the honor on his father's behalf. To the present day, Ray is the only inductee in the Hall of Fame for contributions to officiating.

In 2014, Ray's grandson, James W. Stangeland, published a biography of Ray. and American football history titled, "Hugh L. Ray, The NFL's Mr. Einstein: Master Designer Of The Modern Game."[15] Stangeland wrote the book "to set the record straight about Hugh L. Ray's true role in American football history."[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h The Semi-Centennial Alumni Record of the University of Illinois. University of Illinois. 1918. p. 593.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jimmy Jordan (September 9, 1945). "Hugh Ray and his Stopwatch Have Done Much for Football: Small and Modest Rules Expert Is Known as the Game's Foremost Trouble Shooter". Council Bluffs (Iowa) Nonpareil. p. 17.
  3. ^ a b c "Hugh Ray Bio". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Harry Grayson (August 8, 1940). "Pros Hire High School Football Coach: Ray Gets Contract To Speed Up Grid Games; Illinois Quarterback in 1905 Given Five Year Contract With National League". Wilkes Barre, Pa., Times Leader. p. 18.
  5. ^ George S. Halas (February 11, 1967). "Rules, Game Sophisticated, a 'Lucky' Halas Looks Ahead". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1.
  6. ^ "Hugh Ray, Big 10 Official, Hurt As Auto Skids". Chicago Daily Tribune. August 31, 1936. p. 18.
  7. ^ Ralph Trost (December 27, 1941). "So They Tell Me". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 9.
  8. ^ a b Seymour Smith (September 14, 1966). "Pro Football To Honor Ray: Rules Advisor's Ideas Gave Game Needed Boost". The Sun (Baltimore). p. C4.
  9. ^ "Officials, Not Rams, Beat Us Sunday: Halas". Chicago Tribune. November 3, 1949. pp. 2–3.
  10. ^ a b c d Pat Livingston (October 28, 1971). "Official Upstaging Stars". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 41.
  11. ^ "Shorty Ray Quits As NFL Adviser". The Arizona Republic. May 24, 1952. p. 20.
  12. ^ "'Shorty' Ray, Ex-NFL Adviser, Succumbs at 72". Los Angeles Times. September 18, 1956. p. II-2.
  13. ^ "Hugh L. Ray, Gridiron Code Pioneer, Dies". Chicago Tribune. September 18, 1956.
  14. ^ Art Daley (March 23, 1966). "Arnie Herber Named to Pro Grid Fame Hall; Kiesling and McAfee Also Among Picks". Green Bay Press-Gazette. p. 39.
  15. ^ James W. Stangeland. "Hugh Ray". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  16. ^ James W. Stangeland. "Hugh L. Ray, THE NFL'S Mr. Einstein: Master Designer Of The Modern Game". Retrieved December 1, 2016.

External links

Ball (gridiron football)

In Canada and in the United States, a football is a ball, roughly in the form of a prolate spheroid, used in the context of playing gridiron football. Footballs are often made of cow hide leather, as such a material is required in professional and collegiate football. Footballs used in recreation, and in organised youth leagues, may be made of rubber or plastic materials (high school football rulebooks still allow inexpensive all-rubber footballs, though they are less common than leather).

Banjō Ginga

Banjō Ginga (銀河 万丈, Ginga Banjō, born November 12, 1948), sometimes credited as his real name Takashi Tanaka (田中 崇, Tanaka Takashi), is a Japanese voice actor who was born in Kofu, Yamanashi. Ginga is affiliated with Aoni Production. He is married to voice actress Gara Takashima.

Known for his deep baritone voice, his most well-known roles includes Gihren Zabi (Mobile Suit Gundam), Crocodine (Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibōken), Jean Paul Rocchina (Armored Trooper Votoms), Shōhei Harada (Touch), Souther (Fist of the North Star, original 1980s series), Babbo (MÄR), Heihachi Mishima and Jack in Tekken and Jack-2 in Tekken 2, and Liquid Snake and Major Zero in the Metal Gear series.

His hobbies include painting, salsa dance, riding horses and playing music.

Dennis Farina

Dennis Farina (February 29, 1944 – July 22, 2013) was an American film and television actor, TV presenter and a former Chicago police officer. He was a character actor, often typecast as a mobster or police officer. He is known for roles such as mobster Jimmy Serrano in the comedy Midnight Run and Ray "Bones" Barboni in Get Shorty. He starred on television as Lieutenant Mike Torello on Crime Story and as NYPD Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order. From 2008–2010, he hosted and narrated the television program Unsolved Mysteries on Spike TV. His last major television role was in HBO's Luck, which premiered on January 29, 2012.

Drop kick

A drop kick is a type of kick in various codes of football. It involves a player dropping the ball and then kicking it when it bounces off the ground.

Drop kicks are most importantly used as a method of restarting play and scoring points in rugby union and rugby league. Association football goalkeepers also often return the ball to play with drop kicks. The kick was once in wide use in both Australian rules football and gridiron football, but is today rarely seen in either sport.

Football (ball)

A football is a ball inflated with air that is used to play one of the various sports known as football. In these games, with some exceptions, goals or points are scored only when the ball enters one of two designated goal-scoring areas; football games involve the two teams each trying to move the ball in opposite directions along the field of play.

The first balls were made of natural materials, such as an inflated pig bladder, later put inside a leather cover, which has given rise to the American slang-term "pigskin". Modern balls are designed by teams of engineers to exacting specifications, with rubber or plastic bladders, and often with plastic covers. Various leagues and games use different balls, though they all have one of the following basic shapes:

a sphere: used in association football and Gaelic football

a prolate spheroid

either with rounded ends: used in the rugby codes and Australian football

or with more pointed ends: used in American football and Canadian footballThe precise shape and construction of footballs is typically specified as part of the rules and regulations.

The oldest football still in existence, which is thought to have been made circa 1550, was discovered in the roof of Stirling Castle, Scotland, in 1981. The ball is made of leather (possibly from a deer) and a pig's bladder. It has a diameter of between 14–16 cm (5.5–6.3 in), weighs 125 g (4.4 oz) and is currently on display at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling.

Illinois Fighting Illini football

The Illinois Fighting Illini football program represents the University of Illinois in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) level. Illinois has five national championships and 15 Big Ten championships.

List of Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees

The Pro Football Hall of Fame includes players, coaches, and contributors (e.g., owners, general managers and team or league officials) who have "made outstanding contributions to professional football". The charter class of seventeen was selected in 1963. As of 2019, 326 individuals have been elected.Enshrinees are selected by a 48-person selection committee which meets each year at the time and location of the Super Bowl. Current rules of the committee stipulate that between four and eight individuals are selected each year. Any person may nominate an individual to the hall, provided the nominee has not played or coached for at least five seasons prior to the nomination. Not including the charter class, 76 players have been inducted in their first year of eligibility.In addition to the regular selection committee, which primarily focuses on contributions made over the past approximately thirty seasons, a nine-member seniors committee (which is a subset of the larger committee) submits two nominees each year whose contributions came prior to 1985. These nominees are referred as "seniors nominees" (formerly "old-timer" nominees).

List of people from Highland Park, Illinois

The following list includes notable people who were born or have lived in Highland Park, Illinois. For a similar list organized alphabetically by last name, see the category page People from Highland Park, Illinois.

Overtime (sports)

Overtime or extra time is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport to bring a game to a decision and avoid declaring the match a tie or draw where the scores are the same. In some sports, this extra period is played only if the game is required to have a clear winner, as in single-elimination tournaments where only one team or players can advance to the next round or win the tournament. In other sports, particularly those prominently played in North America where ties are generally disfavored, some form of overtime is employed for all games.

The rules of overtime or extra time vary between sports and even different competitions. Some may employ "sudden death", where the first player or team who scores immediately wins the game. In others, play continues until a specified time has elapsed, and only then is the winner declared. If the contest remains tied after the extra session, depending on the rules, the match may immediately end as a draw, additional periods may be played, or a different tiebreaking procedure such as a penalty shootout may be used instead.

The terms "overtime" and "in overtime" (abbreviated "OT" or "IOT") are primarily used in North America, whereas the terms "extra time" and "after extra time" (abbreviated "a.e.t.") are usually used in other continents. However, in basketball, the terms "overtime" and "in overtime" are used worldwide.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for professional American football, located in Canton, Ohio. Opened in 1963, the Hall of Fame enshrines exceptional figures in the sport of professional football, including players, coaches, franchise owners, and front-office personnel, almost all of whom made their primary contributions to the game in the National Football League (NFL); the Hall inducts between four and eight new enshrinees each year. The Hall of Fame's Mission is to "Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE."

The Hall of Fame class of 2019 (Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, and Johnny Robinson) were selected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame by a 48-member selection committee and announced on February 2, 2019. Including the 2019 class, there are now a total of 326 members of the Hall of Fame.

Shorty (nickname)

Shorty is a nickname which may refer to:

Joseph Armone (1917–1992), New York City gangster

Shorty Baker (1914–1966), American jazz trumpeter

Shorty Barr (1897–1957), American National Football League player and player-coach

Shorty Cantlon (1904–1947), American race car driver

Gordon Carpenter (1919–1988), American basketball player

George V. Chalmers (1907–1984), American college football, basketball and baseball player

Allen Daniels (born 1959), former Australian rules footballer

Paul Des Jardien (1893–1956), American football, baseball and basketball player, member of the College Football Hall of Fame

Shorty Fuller (1867–1904), American Major League Baseball player

Shorty Green (1896–1960), Canadian National Hockey League player

Shorty Hamilton (1879–1925), American silent film actor and comedian

Shorty Hogue, middleweight boxer in the 1940s

George Horne (ice hockey) (1904–1929), Canadian National Hockey League player

Vernon Keogh (1911–1941), American World War II fighter pilot

Shorty Long (1940–1969), American soul singer, songwriter, musician and record producer

Frank Longman (1882–1928), American college football player and coach

Shorty McMillan (1890–1964), American football quarterback for the University of Michigan

Shorty McWilliams (1926–1997), American football player

Shorty Medlocke (1910–1982), American delta blues and hard rock musician and composer

Shorty Miller (1890–1966), American football quarterback for Penn State, member of the College Hall of Fame

Frank Moniz (1911–2004), American soccer player

Clyde Propst (died 1959), American college football coach

Hugh "Shorty" Ray (1884–1956), longtime Supervisor of Officials for the National Football League, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

George Redding (1900–1974), Canadian National Hockey League player

Shorty Rogers (1924–1994), American musician and arranger, one of the principal creators of West Coast jazz

Shorty Rollins (1929–1998), American race car driver

Shorty Rossi (born 1969), American actor and star of the reality TV series Pit Boss

Shorty Sherock (1915–1980), American swing jazz trumpeter

Rob Short (born 1972), field hockey player for Canada

Jimmy Slagle (1873–1956), American Major League Baseball player

George Williams (basketball), American basketball player in the 1920s

Irvin Yeaworth (1926–2004), German-born American film director, producer, screenwriter and theme park builder

Running backs
Wide receivers /
Tight ends
Pre-modern era
two-way players
Defensive backs
and punters

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