One-platoon system

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The one-platoon system, also known as iron man football, is a platoon system in American football where players play on both offense and defense. It was the result of smaller roster sizes in the early days of the game and rules that limited player substitutions, rules that are also standard procedure in many other sports but were eliminated in the 1940s as free substitution was legalized. The alternative system is known as the "two-platoon system", or simply the "platoon system", because of its use of separate offensive and defensive units (three platoons if special teams is also counted).

Each system was used at different times in American college football and in the National Football League. One-platoon football is seen in modern times mostly on lower-end and smaller teams at the high school and semi-pro levels, where player shortages and talent disparities require it; the system allows teams to play with a smaller roster than a two-platoon or multiple-platoon team, but because players are on the field the entire game with no rest between series, players slow down and become fatigued more quickly in the later stages of a game, hence why it has since become obsolete.

History[edit]

Prior to 1941, virtually all football players saw action on "both sides of the ball," playing in both offensive and defensive roles. From 1941 to 1952, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allowed unlimited substitution. This change was originally made because of the difficulty in fielding highly skilled players during the years of the Second World War, in which many able-bodied college-age men volunteered for or were drafted into military service.[1]

In 1954, the NCAA emplaced a set of new rules requiring the use of the one-platoon system, primarily due to financial reasons.[2] The system allowed only one player to be substituted between plays, which effectively put an end to the use of separate specialized units.[3] Tennessee head coach "General" Robert Neyland praised the change as the end of "chickenshit football".[1]

After the 1964 season, twelve years since the mandate requiring one-platoon, the NCAA repealed the rules enforcing its use and allowed an unlimited amount of player substitutions.[4] This allowed, starting with the 1965 season,[5] teams to form separate offensive and defensive units as well as "special teams" which would be employed in kicking situations. By the early 1970s, however, some university administrators, coaches and others were calling for a return to the days of one-platoon football.[6]

The sport of arena football used a limited one-platoon system (from which quarterbacks, kickers and one "specialist" were exempt) from its inception until 2007.

Noteworthy professional one-platoon players[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Douglas S. Looney, One Is More Like It, Sports Illustrated, 3 September 1990, retrieved 20 January 2009.
  2. ^ Clarence Munn, Thumbs Down On The One Platoon, Sports Illustrated, 29 November 1954, retrieved 20 January 2009.
  3. ^ K. Adam Powell, Woody Durham, "An Era of Change (1963-1968) (Google Books cache), Border Wars: The First Fifty Years of Atlantic Coast Conference Football, Scarecrow Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8108-4839-2, ISBN 978-0-8108-4839-9.
  4. ^ 17 Reasons Why Knute Rockne Wouldn't Recognize This Game, Athlon Sports, retrieved 20 January 2009.
  5. ^ Robert C. Gallagher, The Express: The Ernie Davis Story, p. 63, Random House, 2008, ISBN 0-345-51086-0.
  6. ^ One-platoon football seen as a money saver, The Free-Lance Star, November 22, 1974.
  7. ^ Sammy Baugh, Pro Football Hall of Fame, retrieved 20 January 2009.
  8. ^ Chuck "Concrete Charlie" Bednarik, College Football Hall of Fame, retrieved 20 January 2009.
  9. ^ Bednarik wants Eagles to lose Super Bowl, The Washington Post, 4 February 2005, retrieved 20 January 2009.
  10. ^ Bednarik Showing His Bitter Side, The Los Angeles Times, p. D-13, 6 February 2005, retrieved 20 January 2009.
  11. ^ American Heroes, Football Historian, retrieved 20 January 2009.
  12. ^ ESPN, [1], retrieved 11 May 2010.

Further reading[edit]