Whither football jerseys backed with player names is an annual discussion that goes on amongst various college football fanbases, with the ol’ timey demographic usually keeping the flame of the eternal debate alive.
Though thanks to some deft school library archaeology, I discovered today that a former high profile college football coach once took the issue a step further.
MVictors.com is a wondrous repository of ancient college football lore, including the documentation of University of Michigan football coach Fielding Yost’s protestation to the addition of jersey numbers to Wolverine player uniforms.
Yost resisted the digits in the MICHIGAN DAILY student newspaper despite many prominent eastern college football powers having already entered the numerical age.
The date? October 11, 1910:
“I do not like the idea because it brings the individuals into too much prominence. The team is a machine and should be considered as such and not their individual efforts.”
Most other Michigan men polled in the same student newspaper piece seemed amenable to adding jersey numbers, for obvious, practical reasons.
But not Michigan Baseball captain Norman Hill. He said, “it looks queer to me.” (1910, folks.)