Electric football is a tabletop American football game played on a metal vibrating field.
In 1947, Norman Sas, owner of Tudor Metal Products and Tudor Games, created electric football. He used a vibrating car race game made by Tudor as the base and added small players which moved down the field as they vibrated. It was an immediate hit. More than 40 million of the games have been sold since its creation, and new editions are sold each year.
Video games of football have largely supplanted electric football in popularity. However, electric football still thrives and has also benefited from technological progress. Players became more realistic in sculpting and appearance but there has been very limited advancement in the game play.
Miggle and the NFL stopped the working agreement around 2007. Generic players are sold now. Miggle sells pre-painted players from 18 college teams, including home and away jerseys. However as of December 2011, the Miggle website did not list any pre-painted college teams. Some were found on eBay. A new Rose Bowl board was sold but it is unclear what teams are offered. Leagues, clubs and tournaments continue to play the game. The Electric Football League, headquartered in Highland Park, Illinois, held its 17th annual Official Electric Football Super Bowl & Convention in January 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. Jamel Goodloe (Auburn Tigers) was crowned national champion, as he beat Ken Allen in the championship game. Both players hail from the Michigan-based Great Lakes Electric Football League (GLEFL).
The game is played on a small metal field, with plastic players placed on the field in formations, just as in real football. The ball is a football-shaped small piece of foam or felt. When the players are set up, a switch is activated that turns on a small electric motor which causes the field to vibrate, and moves the players around the field. Players then shift around the board in a predictable manner.
Each player is attached to a base, with prongs on the bottom that allow the player to move. Rookie bases are not adjustable and the player hopefully runs forward. Pro bases have a dial that can be turned to have players turn to the right or left.
A special player called the Triple Threat Quarterback (TTQ) allows players to pass, punt or kick field goals. The ball has a slit that lets the game player place it on the TTQ's arm. The arm is pulled back and released to pass the ball. Use of this figure is a very difficult skill to master and was the primary form of advancing the ball.
For kicking, the ball is placed on a tee on the TTQ and a plastic leg is flicked to kick the ball.
In popular culture
- Steamroller Studios and Chillingo released their version of the classic game for the iPhone and iPod Touch in September 2009, called "Super Shock Football". In January 2010 they also released an "HD" version for the iPad.
- In the film Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, the two main characters, in a parody of The Seventh Seal, challenge Death to a series of games in order to escape Hell. One of the games Death loses is electric football.
- In an episode of the animated comedy series The Critic, a clip from a Ken Burns documentary about electric football shows an elderly man saying that "electric football is a metaphor for America: always shaking, always noisy, never really knowing where it's going" before suddenly changing his mind, saying, "Wait a minute. America's nothing like electric football. It's just a stupid game that doesn't even work!" and yelling at the cameraman to get out.
- In The Simpsons episode "Bart Star", while coaching his son's peewee football team, Homer Simpson uses an electric football table, even instructing one player to "spin around in a circle". This may be the same set that Homer received for Christmas as a boy, as mentioned in Marge Be Not Proud.
- In Bill Bryson's "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir," the author describes electric football as "The worst toy of the decade [the 1950s], possibly the worst toy ever built".
- In the Pinky and the Brain episode "Brain's Song" (a pun on the film Brian's Song), he broadcasts a tearjerker sports movie to the entire world, using an electric football game as his field, and broadcasts the movie to the entire world to make them emotionally weak and allow him to take over the world. Unfortunately, the vibrations of the game cause him to randomly vibrate when he attempts to take over the world, making him a laughingstock and foiling his plan.
- Yardley, William (2012-07-12). "Norman Sas, Inventor of Electric Football, Dies at 87". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- hardcover version, page 113
- Miniature Football Coaches Association Unifying the miniature football hobbyist by promoting miniature electric football, educating the public and providing a unified association which recognizes and supports the diverse coaches and leagues.
- Miniature Football Coaches Association Forum A forum dedicated to the discussion of all aspects of miniature electric football. This site is made possible by The Miniature Football Coaches Association.
- Miniature Professional Football League A procedure and instructions for playing real football with miniatures that was missing from the original game. It reflects and supports real football and football penalties.
- The Miniature Football Coaches Association Taking the game of electric football to new heights as the hobby known as Miniature Football
- Super Shock Football for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
- The Virginia Electric Football League a member of the MFCA and a great website with lots of pictures of the game
- Cool Things - Electric Football Game on Kansas Historical Society website