Not only “masters,” the Carlisle Indians are moneymakers. When it comes to box-office draw, they’re No. 1 in the nation, taking in $45,000 at the gate in 1907 (President Roosevelt’s salary is $50,000.) Why such a draw? Every “footballist” in America wants to see how a crew of ingenious Indians from the little Carlisle Indian School are making big time changes to how football is played.
When Carlisle traveled to the Midwest (the “Wild West of Football”) and took on the University of Minnesota, more than 8,000 fans crammed into Northrop Field (above; look above the left goal post – two guys on a power pole!).
The game was a perfect matchup: old-school football vs. new-school football.
Minnesota’s two scores came on the ground: a dropkick field goal from 35 yards, and a recovered fumble leading to a 100-yard run.
The Indians answered the Gophers’ kicks and runs with dazzling trick plays and the radically new “air attack” of the forward pass. Carlisle’s QB, Frank Mt. Pleasant, faked a predictable dropkick, pulled up and lobbed a pass for a touchdown. Shocking! On another drive they executed a double pass, then struck again when Mt. Pleasant rifled a 35-yard bomb for another TD. Later, there was a price to pay: Mt. Pleasant took a severe hit and damaged his throwing hand.
The final result? Carlisle’s Air Attack: 12, Minnesota’s Ground Grind: 10. Hardly disappointed, the Minnesota fans were thrilled to have witnessed a “new game.”
Unfortunately, Mt. Pleasant’s thumb was broken. Their next and last game of the season is against the mighty champs of the Big Ten, the University of Chicago.
Will the “masters of the new football” crash and burn, or soar again?
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.