What It Was, Was Football

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"What It Was, Was Football"
Single by Andy Griffith
A-side What It Was, Was Football
B-side Romeo and Juliet
Released November 14, 1953 (1953-11-14)[1]
Recorded Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Genre Comedy
Label Colonial, Capitol Records

"What it Was, Was Football" is a monologue by comedian Andy Griffith. It was recorded in Raleigh, North Carolina for the Colonial Records label in 1953. Soon, Colonial had sold nearly 50,000 copies of the record and then sold the masters to Capitol Records. Capitol released the record in the same year, which soon had sold nearly 800,000 copies, and was instrumental in launching Griffith's career in television, stage, and film. The record is still one of the biggest-selling comedy records of all time.[2] On the original single, the monologue is credited to "Deacon Andy Griffith."[3]

The monologue is a description of a college football game, as seen by a naive country preacher who attends the game by accident and is entirely puzzled by it.

Griffith made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1954, in large part due to the popularity of the record.[4]

"What it Was, Was Football" was printed in Mad magazine in 1958, with illustrations by artist George Woodbridge. Most of the text of the recording is printed verbatim with faithful renderings of Griffith's accent as heard on the recording; however, Griffith's original climactic description of "the awfullest fight that I have ever seen...in my life!" is moved to an earlier position in the printed version. Also, while the original recording makes no direct reference to a specific university as a setting for the game witnessed, the illustrations in the Mad version refer to both the Ivy League and University of Notre Dame. Due to licensing issues, this adaptation had to be omitted from the Totally MAD CD-ROM collection of the magazine's run.[5]

In 1987, Andy Griffith made an appearance on The Tonight Show promoting his series, Matlock. During the interview, guest host Bill Cosby told Griffith that he had purchased Griffith's recording of "What it Was, Was Football". Cosby then told Griffith that he had performed it at school and received an A for his grade much to Griffith's surprise and delight.

In 1997, the monologue was made into a short film.[6]

The comic monologue was an updated version of a comic routine first recorded by Benny Rubin as "Feetball" for Brunswick Records in October of 1929. Unlike the Capitol version of the patter by Griffith, this was a very poor selling record and is very scarce today.

Label scan of 1929 Brunswick Records label


  1. ^ . UNC Libraries http://www2.lib.unc.edu/ncc/ref/unc/ncday/browse_results.html?year=1953&month=November.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ UNC University Library: Article by Patrick Winn
  3. ^ details for What It Was, Was Football - Deacon Andy Griffith
  4. ^ MBC Bio: Andy Griffith
  5. ^ the original article from madcoversite.com
  6. ^ What It Was, Was Football (1997)

External links[edit]