Leave Feedback

Football's pass modernized a century ago on Cedar Point beach

Mark Hazelwood • Aug 27, 2014 at 3:15 PM

The quarterback dropped back to pass and put the ball in the air.

It spiraled perfectly towards his receiver, who sprinted down the left side of the field, wide open. He kept his stride, letting the ball drop over his shoulder and into his hands. A few steps later, he was in the end zone for a touchdown.

The pass and catch was concise and flawless. 

For football fans young and old, the above is a familiar sight in any random game, whether it be in high school, college or the NFL.

The simple forward pass is the centerpiece of the most popular sport in the country. A century ago, however, it was considered too risky. It was a gimmicky fad that only a handful of teams used, and just a couple with regularity. Some of the greatest names in football history, such as Walter Camp, wanted nothing to do with it.

But 100 years ago in Sandusky, two college students at the command of their young head coach worked relentlessly in the summer months of 1913 to develop the forward pass to help reach the heightened level it holds today.

Before the University of Notre Dame got its kickstart as an iconic college football program, Knute Rockne and Gus Dorais, under the instruction of coach Jesse Harper, diligently put together the blueprint for football's first air war on the East Coast.

It was here, on the shores of Lake Erie at Cedar Point beach, that the forward pass was perfected and systemized on the way to becoming the most significant game action in American sport.

The grassroots of arguably the most impactful development in sports history, Sandusky is the focal point of many Ohio connections that played a fruitful role in the forward pass as we know it today.

Pick up Sunday's Register for a 16-page special section, "100 Years Forward."


Recommended for You