|1912-1930 Antique WaterMelon
Evolution of Scoring in Football History
Around 1882 and before point scoring in football was non existant...There
basically was no scoring or point keeping. The winner won by goals or
achievments of goals.Goals were kicks made from the field thru the wooden
uprights. Also Four touchdowns equaled one goal, and a goal kicked after
a touchdown took precedence over even the four touchdowns. They added
up the number of kicking goals and touchdowns to decide the winner. Points
were not given for these at first. So, if you scored touchdowns and missed
the kicks you did not get any kind of goal. Four touch downs were equivalent
to one field type goal. Confusing isn't it? But those were the earliest
rules. It even gets more confusing when understanding the use of a safety
in the old rule days.. Teams often used the safety to their benefit; since
at first, a safety did not count against the team making it nor for a
team creating one. In the earliest days a safety had no points associated
with it. Teams used it extensively to get a free kick from their own 25
yard line to get the ball away from their goal. Often teams who were pinned
near their goal line would run behind the goal line and touch the ball
to the ground -thus , giving them the opportunity to have a free kick
from their own 25 yard line to send the ball far down the field ; away
from the danger of not being able to move it or maybe fumbling it near
their own end of the field.. So often...very often, teams used this safety
rule to get the ball far away from their goal. And , because there were
no points given to the other team when this occured it was overused and
made for very close and many tied games. This overuse of the safety soon
lead to great controvery and the start of some early scoring decisions
to break the many ties.
Here is how it began to work against those over using the safety rule.....
- if a team had no kicking goal or touchdown by the end of the game -the
team that had 4 less uses of the safety would be declared the winner.
There were still no points for the safety and it only counted when the
game was tied.
1883-1884 the start of Scoring at last....
So, in 1883-4 Walter Camp (considered the father of football) introduced
a scoring point system which was adopted. In 1883 a goal kicked from the
field was given a value of 5 points. (the best you could achieve). Legend
and fact tell of many men who kicked 60 plus yard field goals both being
held on the ground and also by being drop kicked.
A goal kicked after a touchdown was given a value of 4 points. And a touchdown
only brought 2 points.
And finally a safety was worth 1 point -a negative forced against the
team that had to make it.
As the game continued to evolve around 1885 it became clear to everyone
that a touchdown was the hardest thing to achieve...even harder then a
goal kicked from the field...which up to then was worth 5 points.
So in late 1884-1885 a touchdown was given a new value of 4 points! The
field goal still stayed at 5 points and the goal after the touchdown was
reduced to only 2 points. And the safety was raised to 2 points as well.
Then again, in 1897 the touchdown was raised
to 5 points and the kick after a touchdown was dropped to 1 point. (our
modern day extra point) The field goal fell to 4 points in 1904 and to
3 points in 1909.
In 1912 the touch down finally achieved its value of 6 points that has
remained the same till modern times.
This 1912 change -touchdown -6 points , kick after touchdown 1 point
, field goal 3 points , and safety 2 points remained unchanged for some
46 years . Where in 1958 the rules allowed a team to go for two points
after touchdown with a running or passing play. This was done to help
reduce the number of ties and it worked and was considered a success.
The ealiest scoring shows why the larger ball stayed in favor as most
big scoring was done with kicking goals which could be dropped kicked
or held to be kicked from any part of the field. The huge watermelon ball
only became more steamlined, or less wide and fat when the forward pass
was allowed in 1906. The huge old ball gave way to a slighly smaller ball
but it was still big and hard to hold by todays standards. At first, very
few used the pass as the ball was still wider and difficult to grasp and
odd pass rules about having to drop back staigfht and for at least five
yards and the rule that if a pass was touched by opposing defense in flight
, and not caught by anyone it was thought of as an interception. These
rules limited the pass for a while until players learned to throw a spiral
and how to grasp the ball just right to make this work. There were some
early teams right at 1906 who used passes greatly to their effectiveness
in particular was St Louis University winning many mnay games with it.
Still the pass was scorned by the big East Coast teams ..especially Army
and the Ivy leagers. But out in the Mid West teams began to see its advantages
and that's how Notre Dame used it to become a national Power under Knute
Rockne . That;s another story for later. As in 1913 Notre Dame used the
Pass to beat the super Power of Army by a score of 35 to 13!
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