Jim Kershner’s this day in history
From our archives, 100 years ago
The Spokesman-Review’s sports section analyzed the changes in football rules and concluded that “straight football” – a solid rushing attack – would be more in evidence in the 1912 season.
One more down was added, which inaugurated the modern system of making 10 yards in four downs. This meant, said the sports writer, that teams would be more likely to rush for the first two downs at least.
In another change, “pushing and pulling have been abolished.” This meant that it would be more important than ever for backs to hit an opening “before the defense has time to size up the play.”
One way to speed up the play was by the “direct pass,” which was actually a direct hike from the center to the halfback, bypassing the quarterback altogether.
The SR sports editor did not approve of the direct pass.
“The speed of a play depends on the amount of time the runner takes to hit the line,” he said. “Anything which prevents the runner from concentrating his whole attention upon this essential is bad. The direct pass is bad in this respect because … the runner must think of getting the ball before he gets to the hole, and if the direct pass is in the slightest degree untrue, hesitation on the part of the runner results.”