November 7, 1892, Monday – The Herald: Syracuse, New York
FOOTBALL OF TODAY
Development of the Game Into a Strategic Battle
BRAINS BACKED BY MUSCLE
Mind of More Account Than Matter, but Both Play Their Part in Modern Football
If the weather is at all pleasant next Wednesday it is quite probable that a large majority of the 5,000 people who have been sent invitations will go down to Star park to witness the game of foot ball between the Syracuse Athletic Association and the Syracuse University teams.
Although foot ball as it is played to-day is after a careful comparison with other out door sports conceded to be the brainiest and manliest of them all comparatively few people have been able to master the mysteries of the game for the simple reason that if one is unfamiliar with the rules and reasons of play and the scientific variations which a crafty captain will signal to his team under varying conditions, it all looks like a shoving match between eleven men with an occasional run or kick to relieve the monotony.
But when once the spectator is able to put himself mentally in the place of the captain and reason why this or that play is feasible, whether one man or another should at such a time choose to hurl himself through the opposing eleven or try to run around them, the game becomes as interesting as a strategic battle between two armies. It becomes not an individual “scrapping” match between eleven men to advance the ball to one goal or the other, but a battle of brains between two captains, backed by the brawn and instant obedience of the team as a whole.
There was a day when individual playing was much thought of. Now-a-days team work is what wins, unless the disparity in weight is so great as to utterly demolish an opposing line.
The game of to-day as it is played in Syracuse is by no means the game that was played last year or the year before. Fastidious folk who were shocked by accounts of fistic encounters that went by the name of foot ball games will see nothing of the sort in the games that are played at Star park this season.
So far there has not been a single “slugging” match and games are conducted in scientific and gentlemanly fashion.
To be sure, the game is rough, but then it must be remembered that the players are all in the finest muscular trim by long and severe training and by the most exemplary habits of living, and that they are protected from injury by heavily padded jackets and pants, and by nose and shin guards and rubber bands.
From “The Lost Century of American Football“