How Football Has Changed

In honor of the Super Bowl —

I have been a football fan all my life, especially the pros. Credit/blame can go to Jim Brown, the Cleveland Browns’ great running back; I grew up watching him run and have been hooked ever since.  I still think he’s the greatest running back ever to play the game.

It’s amazing how much the pro game has changed.  The first major change I see is specialization. I remember seeing  a team trading card from the Fifties with only 33 players!  Most players had multiple roles and starters regularly played on special teams. For example, the Browns’ Hall of Fame kicker Lou Groza was also an All Pro left tackle for much of his career.

Second is size of the players. The heaviest player on the 1955 Browns was 256 pounds (middle guard Bob Gain). The Hall of Fame middle guard Bill Willis is listed in the Browns’ Media Guide as playing at 6′ 2″, 213 pounds.

On the college side, I ran across a photo article about the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. In 1893 they formed a football team and went on to play the college powers of their day with some success. That was the era of the “hidden ball” and the “flying wedge”. If you like the history of football, this article is courtesy of Radiolab, one of my favorite radio programs, and can be found here —

As I said, football sure has changed.



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