College football was a popular but violent and deadly game. There were 18 fatalities nationwide that year, including three college players (the rest were high-school athletes). President Theodore Roosevelt made it clear he wanted reforms. Many wanted to abolish college football.
Therefore, in December representatives of 62 schools met in New York to change the rules and make the game safer. The changes included: banning the “flying wedge,” (there was no “set” they just ran in a mass formation at each other often causing serious injury). A neutral zone between offense and defense was created, and first downs went from 5 yards in three plays to 10 yards in three plays. [My Great Uncle played for the University of Minnesota in the era of the “flying wedge.”]
The biggest rule change was to make the forward pass legal, but it was nothing like today. Back then, an incomplete pass resulted in a 15-yard penalty, and a pass that dropped without being touched meant possession went to the defensive team. These rules were considered “sissy.”
For the first year (1906) teams shunned the “sissy” forward pass. In 1907, Glenn Scobey (Pop) Warner coached the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, a team he’d built into a football powerhouse in 1899, through trick plays and deception. He liked the pass.
In 1907, Warner invented the single wing, where a player could run, pass, or dropkick without the defense knowing the play from the formation. The forward pass was a “trick play” Warner loved. In 1907, Carlisle outscored their opponents 148–11.
Warner’s “trick”plays included: the end around, reverses, the flea flicker, and a play that required deceptive jerseys.
Warner had elasticized bands sewn into his players’ jerseys so that after taking the kickoff, they would huddle, hide the ball under a jersey, and break in different directions, confusing the kicking team. –Source Jim Morrison, Smithsonian Magazine
The Rose Bowl:
These games were like East-West games and the winner was declared the National Champion. In 1901, the score was so lopsided 49-0 that Stanford quit after the third quarter and the games were discontinued. In 1916, the games resumed, and in 1923, the Rose Bowl Stadium was built (modeled after the Yale Bowl in New Haven).
The 1924 Rose Bowl Game: A small Catholic school from Indiana ventured west to play in their first National Championship game. They called themselves “the Four Horsemen” and “The Seven Mules.” You probably already guessed that the backs were the horsemen and the linemen were the mules.
The Four Horsemen
Crowley: 5’ 11” – 162 lbs.
Layden: 6’ 0” – 160 lbs.
Miller: 5’ 11” – 160 lbs.
Stuhldreher: 5’ 7” – 151 lbs.
Versus: the Stanford “Indians” with Ernie Nevers coached by Glen “Pop” Warner.
Notre Dame won the game 27 to 10 and became the National Champions.
Professional football began in 1892 when Yale’s All-American “Pudge” Heffelfinger was paid $500 to play a game against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. In 1920, the American Professional Football Association (which renamed itself the NFL in 1922) was formed. A franchise membership cost $100.
The Super Bowl:
The first Super Bowl Game was in 1967. Green Bay beat Kansas City 35 to 10. In 1970, Kansas City beat the Minnesota Vikings 23 to 10, and in 1995, the San Francisco 49’ers beat San Diego 49 to 26.
Reg Carolan played on the 1970 Kansas City Super Bowl Championship team.
His son, Brett Carolan played on the 1995 Forty-niner Super Bowl Championship team.
There have been 206 father/son professional football players. The first father/son to play in Super Bowls were Reg Carolyn and Brett Carolyn who were also the first to both play on Super Bowl Championship teams. Bob Griese (Miami) and his son Brian (Denver) were the only other father/son to be on winning Super Bowl teams.
[Footnote: Reg Carolan played quarterback on our 1957 Drake High (San Anselmo, CA) football team. His 1957 high school shot put record of 56’7″ still stands.]
Father and Sons on Super Bowl Teams:
Father: Julius Adams, DE New England (XX.L) Son: Keith, LB Philadelphia (XXXIX.L)
Father: Reg Carolan, TE Kansas City (IV.W) Son: Brett, TE San Francisco (XXIX.W)
Father: Frank Cornish, DT Miami (VI.L) Son: Frank, C Dallas(XXVII.W, XXVIII.W)
Father: Tony Dorsett, RB Dallas (XII.W, XIII.L) Son: Anthony, CB Tennessee (XXXIV.L), Oakland (XXXVII.L)
Father: Bob Griese, QB Miami (VI.L, VII.W, VIII.W) Son: Brian, QB Denver (XXXIII.W)
Father: Manu Tuiasosopo, DT San Francisco (XIX.W) Son: Marques, QB Oakland (XXXVII.L)