DATELINE 1907 — The Carlisle Indians are First in Firsts

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  • First all-Indian football team (1894)
  • First non-college team to play against and beat the Ivy Leagues
  • First to travel cross-country for a game (U. of California, 1899)
  • First to launch the passing game and game-changing “single wing” (1907)
  • First to send scouts to spy on other teams in prep for games
  • First to call audibles, using Indian words unknown to opponents
  • First to use the fake punt, reverse, and screen pass

On Nov. 2, 1907, they bagged another “first” when they took on the Princeton Tigers at the New York Polo Grounds, home of baseball and football.

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Despite torrential rain, 30,000 football fanatics crowded into the Polo Grounds to see Carlisle’s dazzling new style of play. They witnessed the one thing the Indians’ forward-passing and open-field running single wing couldn’t defeat: the weather.

In monsoon rain and a field of mire, the Indians (7-0) suffered their first defeat. The Tigers mud-mauled them, 16-0.

Next: Harvard, and a first of a very different color.

Brian's B signature copy



*Main image: Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA



Brian Meehl HeadshotBlowback 07 BookcoverBrian 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 and/or

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