One of the great things about doing football research is the treasure trove of source materials available from coaches and players. The image above shows a couple of pages from the notebook of Red Grange, which describes some of the basic concepts of the T-Formation offense. they’re available from the archives of The University of Illinois, Grange’s alma mater.
Great coaches from Knute Rockne and Clark Shaughnessy to Bill Walsh and George Allen have left us a rich legacy, documenting their strategies and innovations in great detail for future generations. I’ve got several dozens of these in my collection, and I’m always on the lookout for more.
One of my favorites comes from the college ranks. Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy wrote this book on the T-Formation in 1949, having won the National Championship three times in his first six years as head coach. It includes chapters on special teams play, run and pass defense, and even his approach to pre-game warmups. These sorts of books were intended to serve as a guide to other coaches, but they also provide an invaluable insight into football history, and into the minds of the game’s great innovators.