Brian Meehl is the author of Blowback ’07 (MCP Books, November 1, 2016) and this article is the fifth in a new series discussing the radical changes in football from the 1905 to 1907.
Coach Pop Warner, who maligned the forward pass in ’06, is singing a new tune in ’07. In the pre-season, he’s seen his Indians throw spirals that are “deadly accurate.”
A change in rules before the ’07 season also smiled on the lowly pass. Instead of an incomplete and untouched pass being penalized by a turnover, such a pass now gets a 15-yard penalty from where the ball is thrown. (The rules guys still hate passing!)
But when Pop’s star quarterback for the Carlisle Indians, Frank Mt. Pleasant, can throw a spiral 50 yards, it’s worth the risk. It’s time for the “bastard” to soar.
On September 28, against Villanova, Mt. Pleasant unleashed a deep pass to Albert Exendine (r.). “The crowd gasped at the play,” a newspaper reported. “Few had seen the ball thrown so far and so high before. The pass spiraled perfectly through the crisp blue sky, and it left the Villanova defense in a daze.” Exendine caught it and ran another 30 yards, setting up a touchdown.
Carlisle’s 10-0 victory won’t be remembered long, or their holding Villanova to zero first downs, but that pass – Mt. Pleasant to Exendine – may be hailed as the first “bomb” in what Pop has dubbed “the air attack.”
Next: Football First! Safety Second!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Meehl has published four novels with Random House: Out of Patience, Suck It Up, Suck It Up and Die,and You Don’t Know About Me. His books have garnered a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Blue Ribbon from the Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books and starred reviews in Publishers Weekly. In a former incarnation, Meehl was a puppeteer on “Sesame Street” and in Jim Henson films, including “The Dark Crystal.” His transition from puppets to pen included writing for television shows such as “The Magic School Bus” and “Between the Lions,” for which he won three Emmys. Meehl lives in Connecticut and is writing Blowback ’63 and Blowback ’94. For more information about this author and his exciting books, please visit www.brianmeehl.com and/or www.blowbacktrilogy.com.