THE upper picture shows offense advancing from right to left. The play started as a wide slant on defensive right tackle, but the runner (1), seeing a large hole inside this point, decided to take advantage of it and is now in the act of changing his direction for this purpose. However, defensive player (2), by digging his heel in the ground, abruptly changed his direction also, but in tackling the runner he failed to obtain a firm hold, the true nature of which can be seen in the lower picture, which was snapped a second later.
AND yet he maintained his "fingernail" grip and, had not others of the defense come to his aid, would have actually downed the runner single-handed. Had this tackle been missed. the runner, who had already "reversed" the opposing backfield, stood a good chance, by continuing to his right, of crossing the opponents' goal line, which is only seven paltry yards ahead of him.
Yale vs. Harvard 1921.
Those were the days when the punting duel between two evenly-matched kickers was the outstanding feature of the game. It was not unusual for each team to punt eighteen to twenty times, hoping not only to outdistance its opponents but to cause a "break" by recovering a muffed punt. Many a championship game was won or lost on this point alone and as many more through the imperfect performance of the kicker. Great responsibility then rested upon the punter who was to a football team what a pitcher is to a baseball team today.
Since the standardization of the present game, referred to later, there has been a decadence in the art of punting. This has been caused by the increased use of the forward pass which because of its importance has usurped the time devoted heretofore to the training of punters with corresponding deterioration of effective results. To sum up, then: whereas punting used to be a full half of the offensive strength, now it represents less than one third of its collective power.
In the art of drop-kicking, however, there has been a distinct tendency towards increased skill. Although a few of the old-timers made notable records as drop-kickers there were in later years many games lost for want of a reliable drop-kicker. The writer can well remember the games between Yale and Harvard in 1897 and 1899 both of which resulted in 0-0 ties, because Harvard missed easy chances for field goals in each game. He can also recall even more vividly Kennard's goal from the field in the Yale-Harvard game of 1908 which was the only score of the game.
As has already been stated the rules of 1910-11, under which scoring by rushing was all but prohibitive, acted as an incentive to the drop-kick which reached its climax in the performances of Brickley in 1912-13. Although his record was extraordinary yet it was somewhat magnified by the fact that in those days the persistent use of the drop-kick as a means of scoring was somewhat of an innovation. Nowadays most teams have drop-kickers, either as regulars or as substitutes, all of whom are remarkably consistent in their performances.