Hidden in the “basement” of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the world’s largest collection on professional football. The archives are home to approximately 18 million pages of documents ranging from newspaper clippings, magazines, programs, letters, media guides, rules books, and much more.
While the Hall’s research staff hasn’t read every page of our collection, they know this great resource better than anyone around. Occasionally, the research team uncovers some great tidbits about the history of football.
One such nugget could be found in the Official Rules book. Prior to 1933, the National Football League followed collegiate rules. So, the Hall of Fame’s collection of Spalding Guides which included the rules of the game is an invaluable tool to understanding the evolution of the game’s rules.
One particular excerpt from the 1920 guide (the NFL’s first year) jumped to mind as we listened to the banter around this year’s playoffs. A few pages in the guide preceding the official playing rules was the “Football Code” for players. Here’s how “trash talking” was treated and dealt with back then.
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