Single-Wing Article in Sports Illustrated

The December 1 issue of Sports Illustrated has an article on the single-wing. The writer, Tim Layden, first discusses the formation’s current use at Apopka High 15 miles northwest of Orlando and in the NFL by the Dolphins in their unexpected victory over the unsuspecting New England Patriots. Also mentioned is Todd Bross, organizer of the annual spring conclave at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. (It was Todd Bross and Ted Seay who urged me to research Pop Warner’s correspondence course in football that was first published in 1908). Layden discussed the renaissance the single-wing is undergoing but was apparently unaware that little Windber Area High School is running it as he was probably unaware of my documentary in which they were featured.

The article talks about viewing old films over Ed Racely’s garage on Cape Cod. Racely, now 80, has been studying the single-wing longer than anyone. Layden then goes into the single-wing’s history beginning with President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 threat to ban the game unless rule changes weren’t made to clean up the game. He goes on the mention that Pop Warner coached Carlisle Indian School from 1907 to 1914 and quotes Warner as having first used early incarnations of the single wing by the Carlisle Indians in response to the 1906 rule changes. He is apparently unaware of Pop’s earlier tenure at Carlisle (1899-1903) and of my research that uncovered Warner’s weeklong visit with the Carlisle coaches shortly before the start of the 1906 season. He made no mention of the revisions to Warner’s correspondence course between 1909 and 1911, nor did he mention my publication of the offense pamphlets from the correspondence course. The diagrams found those pamphlets represent the earliest known documentation of the single-wing. A 1924 newspaper interview of Warner was accompanied by a diagram of a formation that “The Old Fox” designed in 1902 to protect injured linemen Antonio Lubo, Martin Wheelock and Albert Exendine and to adjust for injured first-string center, Nikifer Schouchuk. It’s too bad that wingback diagram wasn’t made public a couple of decades earlier. The Sports Illustrated article can be found at:

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5 Responses to “Single-Wing Article in Sports Illustrated”

  1. davecisar Says:

    Great article. Yes the Single Wing Offense is making a comeback> It never died at the Youth Football level, but has slowly made its way back into the College and now NFL ranks.

  2. Jeff Gollin Says:

    For the past two years, DirecTV fans subscribing to local sports channels were fortunate to be able to pick up (and, in many cases, TIVO) Michigan Division 5 high school football finals featuring Menomonee (MI) High School’s single wing attack.

    This year, unfortunately, Menomonee didn’t make the finals, but couple of Metro NYC teams, Xavier and another one I can’t remember the name of (one a single wing team and the other who installed single wing plays for the game – as a surprise factor) did show up around Thanksgiving Day.

    Single Wing football is a joy to watch. I’m glad the wildcat variant is beginning to show up in the pros. (I wonder if we’ll find one or more NFL teams loading up on dual-threat Vince Young type passer/runners and running the wildcat as their base offense – & even dusting off and trotting out a few buck lateral and spinner series stuff ).

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