the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kicking in the 50's

In today's decade installment we travel back to the 1950's, a time when football was still rooted in the old ways, however the winds of change were just starting to blow. Baseball was still America's favorite past time, but that would soon change. Professional football was still confined to the United States, but that would soon change. Kickers were still positional offensive and/or defensive players that also happened to kick, but that would soon change. Kicking was still a straight ahead affair, but that would soon change.

1950 Bob Waterfield made nine PATs (3-way tie for most in one NFL game) for Los Angeles against Baltimore.

1951 Lou Groza’s 52 yard FG in the Cleveland Browns’ 17-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams was the longest in an NFL Championship game.

Bert Rechicher kicked a 56 yard FG in the Baltimore Colts 13-9 win over the Chicago Bears. It was then the longest FG in NFL history, a record that would stand until Tom Dempsey’s kick in 1970. Rechicher accounted for all of the Colts’ points in the game, including an interception return TD.

1954 Fred Bednarski of Travis High School (Texas) was the first soccer style kicker. He went on to kick for the University of Texas from 1956 to 1958.

1956 NFL rule change: the use of an artificial medium to assist in the execution of a kick was no longer allowed (a.k.a. the Lou Groza Rule).
“Groza would always carry a 72-inch (1.8 m) rolled piece of adhesive tape in his helmet. Before each kick attempt, he would use it as a directional aid by unrolling the tape on the ground from the line of scrimmage to the point where the ball would be spotted for the kick.”
1958 New York' kicker Pat Summerall hit a 49 yard game winning FG over Cleveland, setting up a playoff rematch between the Giants and the Browns the following week. 

1958 Baltimore Colts' kicker Steve Myhra kicked a 20 yard FG in the final seconds of regulation to tie the score in the Best Game Ever Played, setting up the first ever sudden death overtime.

1958 The CFL (Canadian Football League) was founded. Its roots go back to the rugby version of football played in Canada in the 1860s. Some kicking rules differences from the NFL include: scoring of one point for a Single or Rouge (if the player receiving a live kick fails to return it out of the end zone, or (except on a kickoff) if the ball was kicked through the end zone); following a field goal, opposing teams can opt to receive a kickoff or take the ball at their own 35-yard line; a free kick is allowed from anywhere on the field (not just behind the line of scrimmage); goal posts are on the goal line.

1959 The NCAA increased the width of goal posts to 23' 4".

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