I first started playing football in the fourth grade. That year it was “two-hand touch.” However the next year it went to “flag” and then two years later to tackle. In those early years I was an end on offense and defense. I liked defense better because I could use my hands.
Early on in those days we used a formation that is pretty much defunct. It was an unbalanced line (“strong-side line to the right, run to the right on three”). Vince Lombardi would have been proud because it was simply a power sweep. And that was about the extent of our early plays. We ran right; we ran left; we ran up the middle. The formation if you were running right was a strong side end, tackle, two guards, center, weak side guard and end. The quarterback (called a tailback) stood in a shotgun formation with the fullback next to him. One halfback was between the tailback midway between him and the line in the backfield and the other halfback was a flanker who had to stay off the line.
The guards pulled and basically everybody ran right. However those of us on the line blocked the player on our left and in my case, the end, was clobbered by the sweeping mass of insane grade-schoolers looking to win.
Our coach was a guy who had set records as a fullback at the local college and he led us to the league championship. We had been for several years the league wimps. We extracted a lot of revenge during his tenure.
Why do I bring this up? When I played football as a grade-school kid my assignment was to block the opposing tackle. I looked straight ahead but when the ball was hiked I ambushed him moving to my left. Do you know that through the whole game the tackle would not get used to me blocking him; do you want to know why?
We were the only team in the league that used an unbalanced line. All of the other coaches and teams employed the more pro and popular “T-Formation.” Defensive tackles were used to being blocked by the guy across from them. They didn’t understand rules. They didn’t know they could adjust so they only employed what was taught to them in practice.
Every time that I watch the Chicago Bears I think of those tackles getting whomped by me time again and wanting to haul off and smack me.
The difference with the Bears is they do know the rules; they have scouting reports and indeed get millions of dollars for what they do.
If these guys were playing just for the love of the game like kids I would cut them some slack.
I’m not cutting them any slack.