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Saturday, October 25, 2014


Autumn in Michigan is a beautiful season, with tree colors and falling leaves and cool crisp temperatures in the bug-free air. The only pests are all of those Michigan fans who come home from the beach every year yakking it up about their "all-time wins record", many of them claiming several million victories since the Pleistocene Era.

No matter what happens today at Spartan Stadium, they will talk about this "record". If they lose, they will talk about it, and if they win, they will talk about it. They are so proud that they have been playing "football" since before "football" existed. They have been playing "football games" since before the game they were playing became football.

Well at least they all count for one. Because it was on this day in 1890 that the proto-Wolverines clashed on the gridiron with the mighty Albion Britons, scraping together a 16-0 win. Hard to tell how that score was achieved. Back then, touchdowns were four points, field-goals were five points, and point-after-kicks were two points. So much like today.

The football field may have been 80 yards long, or perhaps 110 yards, as the archaeologists are unclear on this point. The infamous "Flying Wedge" was the prime offensive play (before being outlawed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906). Forward passing was illegal, and neither team had a Head Coach. Doubtful about any popcorn.

When you hear all that jibber-jabber about the "all-time wins" numbers for UM, remember games like this one, along with hundreds more that were played before the NCAA began tracking football in 1937. With no standard rules in place for the shape and size of the ball, with field dimensions left up to local decision, and tackling below the waist having just been legalized, these so-called "games" are barely a blip on the historical record of American Sport. But to chUMp nation, they are the quintessential definition of Michigan Football.

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