Iowa Newspaper Describes Football – Aug. 3, 1877

August, 3, 1877, Friday – Cedar Falls Gazette, Iowa

[Tinsley’s Magazine] Our English games are, as a rule, manly and healthy, demanding courage, endurance, and due temper; but in some cases they can hardly be called sane. To the uninitiated onlooker the game of foot-ball is one of the most mysterious performances which it is possible to contemplate. It would appear to be called foot-ball on the “lucus a non lucendo” principles, because the ball is hardly ever kicked.

After the first “kick off” it is seized by one of the players, who runs with it in his arms as fast and as far as he can. His opponents forthwith set upon him, and if possible, knock him down. Then there is a general struggle for the ball.

Of course the possession of it lies between two or three men in the centre of the throng; but all the rest close around them with the exception of certain ones, appointed for the purpose, with hands on knees intently watching the scrimmage.

Everyone in the main body pushes and struggles as vigorously as may be, and the outer ones put down their heads and butt like goats against their friends.

There is nothing to be seen but a writhing, swaying, confused mass of humanity from which a column of steam rises into the wintery air.

At length, those in the centre are compelled to drop the ball, and after innumerable kicks at each other’s shins, it is pushed out of the little forest of legs, whereupon one of the outside watchers make a snatch at it and carries it a few yards, when he is in turn set upon by his adversaries, and the same scene is repeated. –Tinsley’s Magazine.

From “The Lost Century of American Football

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