I found something amazing on youtube -- a 38-minute film of the 1939 Duke-Southern Cal Rose Bowl:
It's done like one of those old Lindsey Nelson Sunday morning summaries of Notre Dame football -- no timeouts or huddles, just every play (in this case, none of that "We move to further action"). It's synched up with the Southern Cal radio broadcast of the game. It actually opens with about two minuutes of what appear to be home movies of the Duke team on its train-ride West. There are shots of the players on the train ... of a visit to the Grand Canyon ... to a big welcoming ceremony in Pasadena. There is also a minute ot two with shots from the Rose parade (including a Duke float). Then the game.
I warn you, it's a bit rough in spots (some bad film fluttering in the first couple of minutes ... but that smoothes out; a few audio gliches), but overall, it's very watchable -- and the sound is well synched.
I know this isn't for everybody, but for somebody interested in football history (or Duke history!) this is terrific. Fascinating to see how defense-oriented Wallade Wade is. It kind of takes your breath away when he punts on second down. Duke ran a lot of its offense out of punt formation. You can also see how Eric Tipton was an amazing punter -- and how Wade ued him as a weapon.
It's frustrating to see how close Duke came to finishing off an undefeated, untied and unscored on season. If there was any justice, they would have been won on that amazing goal-line stand in the fourth quarter (with Duke up 3-0, Al Spangler fumbles a punt at the Duke 9 ... the Iron Dukes hold solid and force a failed field goal try). My one gripe with Wade in 73 years of hindsight is this -- okay, I understand that you'd rather play defense than offense, so I can understand the second-down punts in the first three quarters. But after taking the lead early in the fourth quarter, why not run some clock by running a couple of safe plays and punting? Twice in the fourth quarter, he punted on second down.
How's that for a second-guess?
Look forward to viewing. Is there any information as to who had the film, how it came to be up there?
Was punting on 2d down conventional wisdom back then? How often was that done? Why? Cannot think of any reason to do that. Contrast w/ modern movement to go for it even on 4th down (see espn's Tuesday Mornnig QB Easterbook).
Would be interesting to explore the evolution of thinking over the years about when to punt (if ever). It seems to me there is a (mostly) right answer to that question, and punting on 2d down ain't it. As Cut says he learned in the back yard, the other team can't score if I have the ball.
Today's analysis might not fit how football was played in 1939. The strategies used and the sort of preparation was very different. Many of the practices Wallace Wade developed later evolved into more common methods of preparation, recruiting, etc.
I remember hearing that Coach Wade usually started the second team to wear down the opponents and then put in the first team for the rest of the game.
I would love to hear from some of the older guys though to get their view of the game in that era.
A free kick was much more common back then....
Personally, I don't understand the rationale of punting on second down. But there is a rational for punting on third down.
A LOT of punts are blocked because -- as nocilla suggests -- a lot of defenders were in the backfield early. There were four punts blocked in this game. But under gthe rules at the time, a punt on first-second-or-third down that was blocked, then recovered by the kicking team remains in their posession. Southern Cal had a third-down kick blocked inside its 10 -- but the Trojans recovered and were able to punt it away on fourth down.
The game was played in terrible snow conditions. The strategy was to keep the ball at the other end of the field and hope the opponent, Ohio State, would fumble.
Michigan also punted on first down in that game.
I'm holding out the for Deluxe-DVD version, the one with alternate endings.
Thanks for the link. Watching now. Ugly game back then. lol at the refs not really caring much about neutral zone infractions.