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The Question: Is football today too much of a coach's game?

Oct. 18, 1954
Oct. 18, 1954

Table of Contents
Oct. 18, 1954

Pat On The Back
  • Herewith a salute from the editors to men and women of all ages who have fairly earned the good opinion of the world of sport, regardless of whether they have yet earned its tallest headlines

Table of Contents
  • New York crowds have been jostling into Madison Square Garden night after night this month to have their spines chilled at biggest and most important of U.S. rodeos. This fall, as always, the best of Western cowboys have come East—for tough animals and tougher men nothing tops the big-town roundup

Soundtrack
Spectacle
Belmont Futurity
The Queen
Football Nuisance
Sailing
McDonald On Gordon
Motor Sports
Under 21
Golf
Tennis
Football
Health
  • In this Saturday's game the average player, who can expect one injury each season, faces his biggest risk of being knocked out of action

Column Of The Week
Acknowledgments
Fisherman's Calendar
Bowling
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

The Question: Is football today too much of a coach's game?

The Answers:

This is an article from the Oct. 18, 1954 issue

DR. H. M. WRISTON
PROVIDENCE, R.I.
PRESIDENT
BROWN UNIVERSITY
"No. In my day, coaches signaled plays from the bench. Today, their signals are merely more obvious. A game requires some judgment by the quarterback. The coach can call some key plays, but he can't call them all. Furthermore, coaching ethics are better, with the accent on sportsmanship."

GEORGE VERGARA
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.
FORMER END
NOTRE DAME
"Yes. Overemphasis has made it a coach's game. There are great rivalries among coaches like Erdelatz and Blaik, Caldwell and Lou Little. The coach knows he must produce. If he doesn't he may be fired. Players are little more than automatons with the coaches pulling the strings."

JAMES R. CASTLE
ABINGTON, PA.
CAPTAIN
PENN FOOTBALL TEAM
"It was in the days when we had the two-platoon system. I like it better now under the new rules. The coach can't alternate the guards anymore any time he wants to call the plays from the bench. When the whistle blows, the game is ours. And we have a lot more fun playing it."

DR. LEWIS W. JONES
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.
PRESIDENT
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY
"Yes. I would like to see more spontaneity on the gridiron. Why shouldn't universities experiment with coaching? Coaches might be instructed to sit in the grandstands and watch the games. That would be a challenge and could be a test of their influence and ability."

JACK HARDING
CORAL GABLES, FLA.
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
"From a player's viewpoint, yes, but from an all-round athletic picture, no. The public pays $4 a seat to see good football. You can't give the generalship of a team to an 18-year-old quarterback. You might lose half your audience and the 'gate' that does so much to support college sports."

H. VAN SURDAM
LAKE PLACID, N.Y.
PRESIDENT
TOUCHDOWN CLUB
"No. The coach masterminds the game, but the players have to run, block, punt, etc. Basically, it's still their game. But a word of caution. The public is beginning to think that the better the football team, the lower the scholastic standing of a university. Look at Harvard's recent record."

DR. J. H. HOLLAND
DOVER, DEL.
PRESIDENT
DELAWARE STATE
"No. The growth in intercollegiate football has resulted in a much more complex game. Increased professional coaching is needed for successful competition. I don't believe that the coaches have taken the game away from the players. Even the best coach can't win with poor material."

JIM DAVIS
NEW YORK
INSURANCE
UNDERWRITER
"Yes. Pennsylvania's freshman team of five years ago was called 'Stassen's Assassins.' And there's the gag about the high school kid, in football togs, leaving Franklin Field with bloody head. 'What's happening inside?' he was asked. 'Oh, they're holding the tryouts for the Penn scholarships.' "

JERRY BARGER
SALISBURY, N.C.
CAPTAIN, DUKE
FOOTBALL TEAM
"I used to think so, but now, with the one platoon system, I have much more latitude as the quarterback. I'd say it's as much of a player's game. We've got to have coaching and some direction. A team wouldn't get far today without a good coaching staff to tell us what to do."

HAM FISH
WASHINGTON, D.C.
FOOTBALL CAPTAIN
HARVARD 1909
"Definitely. We had volunteer, unpaid coaches. The game belonged to the players and the captain was in full charge. When Brown licked Yale 21-0 in 1910, the players ere desperate. Fred Daly, their captain, fired the coach, Ted Coy, the best fullback Yale ever had. Today, the coach is king."

JOHN MCEWAN
NEW YORK CITY
FOOTBALL CAPTAIN
WEST POINT 1916
"Yes, with two-platoon football. Each platoon goes in with instructions from the coach. Cleveland's Paul Brown calls every offensive play, even with Otto Graham at quarterback. The same was happening in the college two-platoon system. Going back to one-platoon football will help correct it."

TWO ILLUSTRATIONS"Whatever's chewing at you guys, let's get rid of it!"ELEVEN PHOTOSILLUSTRATION