Lining Them Up

There is a great deal more to the technique of watching a football game than is popularly supposed. It seems, to most reasonably sober people, that all you have to do is to go to the game and look at the field while the players are engaging in their argument, and the result will be one football game seen. In short watching games is often thought of as something absolute, which you either do or don't do.

As a matter of fact nothing could be farther from the truth. And the proof of this statement will be entirely unnecessary to any one who once tries to diagram the plays of the opposing teams; or to any one who after the game tries to tell you how each man on the field played, whether he was carrying out his assignments, whether he was getting the best of the man opposite him, how he was blocking, and if his tackling was crisp or just so so. Of course not even the coaches can be expected to see all these things, but you can bet that they know in a general way how their men are doing much better than any one in the stands, with the possible exception of a few of the real experts (of whom there are only very few, let it be said) who occupy the press box.

What then are the principles of this art of watching football games? In the first place, you must watch players individually if you are going to find out how they are playing. In so doing you run the risk of missing the trend of the play, for you may find that the man you have picked out for scrutiny has ended up somewhere a half a mile west of the final pile-up. If you watch the same man on a number of successive plays, however, you are pretty sure to get some idea of how he is conducting himself, without, it may be added, missing very much of the game in general.

If you are trying to follow the general scheme of attack which a team is employing, the process is a bit harder. You will find it necessary to pay attention to the formations as they line up before the ball is put into play. Ordinarily these make but the haziest impression on the casual observer. With the formation in mind, it is not so difficult to forecast where the play is going and to keep an eye out for the way the clearing and running is done. On passes, it is much better to watch the receivers than the passer; you know what the latter will do and you can be sure that a pass thrown to the left or the right won't look very difficult at the start, but the layout of possible receivers and defenders is a very interesting and instructive sight. The manner of completion, interception or incompletion is what you want to see on most passes, and this can be done only by watching the receiving end.

These are only a couple of general hints; if you think about it a little, you can find out what methods are best for finding out just what you want to know. Always remember that more plays go to the right than to the left, primarily because all pass plays executed by a right hander have to be thrown on the run to the starboard side unless the passer stands absolutely still, which doesn't happen very often. And also remember that as often as not the most obvious things are not the ones most worth seeing.


If you succeed in developing the technique of watching football, it is not too much-to say that it will increase your capacity for enjoyment about fifty percent, (more or less).

Briefer Notes

Time Out has gathered together a few peculiarities of the training table at Dartmouth. Here they are: All the men are required to sip their milk through one straw. "Stan" Yudicky limits himself to a cup of tea and a piece of toast before every game.... "Sandy" Weinner, one of Bill Tilden's tennis proteges and regarded as a coming youngster several years ago is on the Yale backfield squad.... During the halves of all football games played at the Yankee Stadium uniformed men come out and tread down the turf that was dug up during play.... A certain New York football expert has compiled statistics which reveal the fact that 78 times out of 100 the team which scores the first touchdown eventually wins the game.... Coach Wray has cut down the weight of the football uniforms of the members of his team from 14 to seven pounds. This might make them subject to more bumps, but ought to allow the backs to get up more speed.... Coach Rockne, of Notre Dame, recently wrote to a Chicago paper and asked that a certain reporter not be assigned to any of his games. It seems that said scribe was too caustic about the Notre Dame team.... BY TIME OUT.