The Single-Wing May Be Off life Support

Jim Sweeney, the life-long Army fan who told me about the Sports Illustrated article, shared with me that on Thanksgiving Day he was able to watch, on ESPN2 no less, two Jesuit high schools from New York City play each other in an 85-year long Thanksgiving tradition. Xavier High played Fordham Prep at Fordham Field in the Bronx. Sweeney’s (also JoePa’s) alma mater, Brooklyn Prep, was, until it closed in 1973, the third Jesuit high school in the City. You probably already know that Joe Paterno played tailback in Brooklyn Prep’s double-wing and that his brother, George, was fullback. Something few of us know is that both Xavier and Fordham Prep are NOW running the single-wing. What a treat it must have been for Jim to watch these teams in the comfort of his living room.

Another result of the Sports Illustrated article or the fact that NFL teams are dabbling with the single-wing is that I was interviewed yesterday by the local NBC affiliate about the connection between the Wildcat formation and Carlisle Indian School. After interviewing me, reporter George Lettis visited Carlisle Barracks and shot part of his piece on Indian Field. WGAL’s website has an article on its website that can be found at The broadcast video can be found at In addition to footage of Lettis and me, portions of the documentary Tom McCue and I made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the single-wing are included. Narrator Lynn Myers’ voice comes through loud and clear.

It will be interesting to see how long NFL coaches run the Wildcat or other versions of the single-wing before they admit that the fundamental formation was developed a century ago by Pop Warner for the Carlisle Indians. Some think that NFL coaches will continue to obfuscate this point so as not to appear to be behind the times by 100 years.

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4 Responses to “The Single-Wing May Be Off life Support”

  1. Jeff Gollin Says:

    The Single Wing (aka Wildcat) will have come of age in the pros when (a) we see legit dual-threat passing/running tailbacks in the deep position and (b) we start seeing the re-emergence of the buck lateral and spinner series that makes the single wing so much fun to watch.

    No longer will some of us have to scour the local sports channels on satellite in the hope of discovering a high school game featuring a single wing team.

    It’s nice to see the herd-oriented pro OC’s try something new (i.e. “old”) for a change.

  2. SilkCity Says:

    Legit tailback threats have been in the NFL for some time now. There were also some in the college ranks that were passed up for pocket passers. Charlie Ward, Doug Flutie, Major Harris, Corvy Jones (Missouri – I don’y know if I got the name right). Frost from Nebraska. Now that Tebow has all of the press we will probably see the NFL take a shot. But they should have done it with Vick or Young already. Also Seneca Wallace in Seattle has the tripple threat skills as well.

  3. Natt Says:

    Thanks for nice post.

  4. itchy left palm Says:

    This surely makes great sense to me!

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