Fooch over at Niners Nation pointed this article out to me, and I thought this particular piece of history was pretty cool, so I thought I'd toss it out here for everybody.
It was on this very date in 1933 that the National Football League adopted what was, at the time, a radically amazing change, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Boston Redskins' owner George Preston Marshall made the motion for the rule, and it was seconded by Chicago Bears' owner George Halas.
That "radical" rule?
"…that the rule covering the use of the forward pass, whereby it is necessary for the passer to be at least five yards behind the line of scrimmage before he can pass the ball, be changed permitting the passer to pass the ball from any point behind the line of scrimmage."
Yes, prior to this rule being implemented, the quarterback (or any other player) needed to be at least five yards behind the line of scrimmage before throwing a forward pass. This introduced a whole new style of play to the National Football League. Within a few years, the NFL had its first 1,000-yard passer. It's amazing to think that there was a time that a 1,000-yard passing season was a big deal, but there was such an era in NFL history.
According to the article, there were some other rules that were up for discussion that didn't quite make the cut. . .rules like making the huddle illegal (and charging any team that went into a huddle with a time out) and abolishing the point after touchdown.
The revolution of the forward pass was a "radical" rule change from nearly eight decades ago. . .it kind of makes you wonder what, if anything, would pass for a "radical" rule change today. There are tweaks and stuff like that made every year, but it doesn't seem that there are a whole lot of big changes that could be made to today's game. It's also hard to imagine where today's game would be if this rule had never been passed. Obviously, it wouldn't be the game that it is today.
But the NFL fundamentally changed. . .for the better. . .78 years ago today.