Most entrants knew grabbing the facemask was once legal—doesn't it seem like a natural gesture?—and that the value of field goals has changed. But entrants tended to disbelieve the white ball and the existence of the Pottsville Maroons. The Maroons were a popular barnstorming team from a coal-mining town in Pennsylvania. Scheduled to play in the 1925 NFL championship, they were tossed out when the team defied league orders by playing an exhibition against former Notre Dame players; the result was that the 1925 championship was awarded to Chicago by league fiat, leaving no champion who prevailed on the field of honor. This "Anthracite Antic" helped end the days of barnstorming; the lore of the tragic Pottsville boys is sung here. TMQ feels that, today, the Arizona Cardinals would be better off as a barnstorming team.
On a completely arbitrary basis, the judges hand this Trivia Challenge to Paul Decker of Lexington, Mass., who correctly noted that there was never a "zebra bounce" and never a Kenosha Steam Roller: Though there was a club from Kenosha and, there was a club called the Steam Roller from Providence. Isn't the Steam Roller a great name for a football team? A lot more evocative than the Houston Texans, whom TMQ plans to call the Texas Texans. Über-trivia-meister Mark Longbrake adds the fun detail that grabbing the facemask became illegal in stages. First, players could grab anyone's. As of 1956, grabbing was legal exclusively for tackling the ball-carrier. Only in 1962 was all grabbing of the facemask criminalized.
As a second history lesson, here is this week's Trivia Challenge:
Of the following, identify any inaccurate statement about pro football days of yore:
—A touchdown was worth five points.
—Offensive linemen were eligible receivers.
—Pudge Heffelfinger was the first gentleman ever paid to play football.
—There was a team called the Chicago Bullies.
—Officials had horns, not whistles.
—The Duluth Eskimos immortalized the "fumblerooski," in which the ball is deliberately left on the ground.
—Helmets were optional.
—Roughing the passer was legal.
Submit your answers via The Fray, titling them "Trivia Answer" or something clever like that. And remember to include your e-mail address in the highly improbable event you win.