THE NEW FOOTBALL
PROPOSED RULES THAT WILL ABOLISH ALL BRUTAL PLAY.
Some Queer Signals In Verse — The Player Who Is “It” — When Simon Says “Thumbs Up” or Thumbs Down.”
Mental Tests For the Rival Athletes.
The humane effort to reform football once more and free it from all elements of danger and roughness, as inaugurated by George Aide, seems to meet with cordial indorsement. It is supposed that when the game can be played without risk of anyone being hurt and without any rude scuffling or tackling, the persons who now oppose the sport will attend in large numbers. Some of the proposed changes are as follows:
1. At the beginning of play the ball shall be put in the center of the field and the umpire shall think of a number between 1 and 50. The two captains shall guess at his number, and the one coming the nearest to it shall be allowed to move the ball five yards into the territory of the other team.
2. Before the ball is put into play after a down the captain shall line up his men and count them off as follows:
The player on the word “Buck” shall be known as “it.” He shall kneel beside the ball and the members of the opposing team shall line up opposite. The player known as “it” shall repeat “Simon says ‘Thumbs up,'” or “Simon says ‘Thumbs down,'” indicating the movements as he speaks the words, and the players of the opposing team must imitate his movements. But if he merely said “Thumbs up,” without the “Simon says,” and an opposing player puts his thumbs up, that counts as 1, and after three such mistakes the ball is advanced five yards. If, however, after twenty trials the opposing team does not make a total of three errors then the ball goes to the opposing team and is advanced on a “tag” play.
3. On a “tag” play the member of the team who stands highest in his classes is given the ball to run with it. The opposing players must touch him as he runs and say “Tag, you’re it;” but if he has his fingers crossed at the time he does not have to stop. If his fingers are not crossed he must put the ball down. Any opposing player who is slapped three times on the back by a member of the runner’s team is called “out” and cannot “tag” the runner. A runner cannot be tagged while he is touching wood.
4. Any player who takes hold of an opposing player or who displays brusqueness and lack of refinement shall be put into a compartment at the side lines known as the “boneyard,” and he shall not be released until the captain of his team answers ten questions without laughing.
5. After a touch-down has been made the professor of rhetoric shall give five hard words from the back of the book to the full back of the team scoring the touch-down. If the full back spells the five words correctly his team is credited with two points, the same as if a goal were kicked. If he fails on any word the ball goes to the opposing team on the twenty-five yard line. The ball is never kicked, as it might strike one of the players and injure him.
6. On resuming play after a touch-down all the players except one form in a ring and join hands, singing:
“London bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London bridge is falling down,
So farewell my ladies.”
The captain of the team against which the score has been made is blindfolded and put into the circle. After a time he advances and takes hold of a player, who is asked three questions. He must guess at the name of this player. If he guesses correctly he is allowed to advance the ball fifteen yards. If he fails the ball goes to the other team, in the center of the field.
7. Both spectators and players are expected to be quiet and orderly at all times, and particularly during the mental tests.
— Chicago Record
Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Dec 17, 1897