From the Single Wing Forums:
Please see the attached article from the
Washington Post of October 28, 1906, and the piece by Coach Claude "Tiny"
Thornhill of Stanford from the Fitchburg Sentinel
The 1906 description of the Princeton Tigers versus the Cornell Indians,
coached by Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner, states the following:
"The Cornell backs grouped
for the attack in two different formations. In one they were spread out, and
in the other raised
like steps, one behind the other."
If you will now turn to the
article by Coach Thornhill, who played for Warner at Pitt in 1915, you will
see two diagrams, one of the "Original Carlisle Formation Early 1900's; Single
Wingback Tandem," and the other of the "Modified Carlisle Single Wingback
As Thornhill states about the
earlier version of the formation, "Warner's tandem operated
behind an unbalanced line, forming an acute angle with the close-up back
directly behind the right end."
He then adds: "Later
on it was modified so that the close-up back flanked the right end. The other
three backs were moved up closer to the line of scrimmage but each was
stationed a bit deeper than the other."
I believe the description given by
the reporter covering the 1906 Cornell-Princeton game of the formation "raised
like steps" is identical with the "Single Wingback Tandem" which Coach
Thornhill dates to "the early 1900's at Carlisle." Coach Warner was
at Cornell through the 1906 season, then moved to Carlisle to coach at the
Indian Industrial School starting in 1907.
I believe, therefore, that the
Post article pinpoints the 1906 season as the first where Pop Warner deployed
the Single Wingback Tandem formation in a game. The Post article also
comments about the effects the rules changes for 1906 had on the play of the
game, with "the ball...exposed to the stands by the open play." I see this as
further evidence that the Cornell SIngle Wingback Tandem was something new and
different for 1906.
I hope this will suffice as
evidence that the Single Wing offense turns 100 in 2006. The above research
was conducted by Russell Farley, proprietor of the Football Booklist website,
and a student of the game of high repute for many years now.
The above message and attachments were delivered to Grant Teaff of AFCA in
early November -- now does anyone else have any bright ideas about celebrating
the 100th anniversary of the single wing?