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The New York Times, September 30, 1906 p. SM5:


Radical Changes in This Year's Rules Revolutionize the Sport

    With the period of theorizing passed, college football teams must now face an entirely new condition of affairs on the gridiron. The universal outcry against brutality on the football field and the demand for a more open style of play have been met by a sweeping revision of the rules, the result of many conferences extending over nearly a year and participated in by representatives from colleges and universities from all over the country...

    Slugging and kneeing in the future will bring disqualification; the neutral zone will greatly transform the scrimmage line; compact formations for mass tactics are discouraged; the forward pass will result in a more open style of game; the art of kicking will be an important feature; the tendency will be toward a new style of free running; the ten-yard gain will do much in preventing rough play, and the additional penalties will materially help the sport...

    The main effort of the football reformers has been to "open up the game"--that is, to provide for the natural elimination of the so-called mass plays, and bring about a game in which speed and real skill shall supersede so far as possible mere brute strength and force of weight.
    For years the game has been becoming less open, and the reason for this has been that coaches everywhere have shown themselves more proficient in planning methods for holding the other fellow back than for carrying the ball ahead. In recent years, while end plays have been attempted, what every college team has mainly relied on has been attack aimed somewhere inside the tackles, for success in advancing the ball has depended almost entirely on the sudden massing of half the team at one narrow spot on its opponent's line. And even if such plays could consistently gain only two or three yards, they were considered successful...

    The first effort has been to provide for the detection of foul play and its stringent punishment. To this end there has been the provided an extra umpire...
    The old style of starting the game has been retained, but here the old conditions cease, and the new features will be at once apparent. The first and one of the most important changes will be when the opposing teams line up for a scrimmage. Instead of facing each other at close quarters, as in the past, the length of the ball will separate them, and this will affect the entire character of the defensive play...

    To eliminate brutality the mode of attack has undergone a sweeping change. Guards and tackles back and tandem plays are things of the past. Recognizing the principal element of danger, the committee limited the number of men to be drawn back to carry the ball to five, but to minimize the danger of accidents the men so drawn back must retire at least five yards.

    To students of the game this means that old mass and tandem plays will in future be impossible, and straight line plunging will be the favorite method of attack and ground gaining...

    The forward pass and on-side kick will help to make the new attack successful, as they will compel the secondary line of defense, constituted by the backs supporting the linesmen, to withdraw behind the line a distance of at least five yards, so as to be prepared for any quick change of position in the event of either of these plays being attempted... it will be necessary for field leaders to resort to tricks and strategy to gain the necessary distance, which is now ten yards instead of five, as formerly... the quarter back kick, used with varying success for the past three years, or, as it in the future will be known, the on-side kick, will be universally adopted.

    The rule governing the on-side kick provides that the ball when kicked may be secured by any player of the side kicking it after it has touched the ground, whereas formerly the players of the kicking side were restrained by rule from touching the ball until it had been touched by one of the opposing side...

    The forward pass is a radical departure. The old rule made it compulsory that the ball should not be passed toward the opponent's line. It had to be passed back before a player could run with it. Under the new order of things, it can be passed forward at will, except that it may not be passed directly over the line of scrimmage within five yards of the centre on either side. Then, too, it may be passed only to one of the back field players or to an end rush, six men in all, and may be passed to any part of the field.

    The effect of this on the runner is incalcuable, as he can at any time, when on the point of being tackled, pass the ball to one of his own side who may be some distance ahead... the play can only be used once in each scrimmage, and the ball must be touched by a player of either side before touching the ground. The penalty for failing to touch a player is the loss of the ball...
    The forward pass is expected to result in long spectacular runs, especially as the defense must be weakened to be prepared to meet them...
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    Two lines of scrimmage, one for each team, and each through its own end of the ball.

    No centre, guard, nor tackle may drop back from line of scrimmage on offense, unless he is at least five yards back of line of scrimmage and another player of those ordinarily behind line of scrimmage takes his place in line of scrimmage.

    When the ball has been kicked by a player other than the snapper back any player on the kicking side shall be on side as soon as the ball touches the ground.

    If in three consecutive downs (unless the ball shall have crossed the goal line) a team, having constantly held the ball in its possession, shall not have advanced the ball ten yards, it shall go to the opponent on the spot of the fourth down.

    Before being snapped back the ball must be placed flat on the ground, with long axis at right angles to line of scrimmage.

    One forward pass shall be allowed in each scrimmage, provided such pass be made by a player who was behind the line of scrimmage when the ball was put in play, and provided the ball, after being passed forward, does not touch the ground before being touched by a player of either side.
    The ball may not be touched by player who was on line of scrimmage when the ball was put in play, except by either of the two men playing on the ends of the line.
    A forward pass over the line of scrimmage within space of five yards on either side of the centre shall be unlawful.
    A forward pass by side which does not put ball in play in scrimmage shall be unlawful.
    A forward pass which crosses goal line without touching a player of either side shall be declared a touch-back for defenders of that goal.

    One line of scrimmage through forward point of the ball.

    Any of five men could be placed anywhere behind line of scrimmage.

    Ball could not be put on side.

    It was necessary to advance the ball but five yards to constitute the first down.

    Could be placed in any position.

    Forward pass was not allowed.