The quarterback pass is one of the leading offensive components of today's National Football League and college football's top level of play. This was not always the case. In early American football, the strategy focused entirely on advancing the ball one running play at a time, with the player tucking the then-roundish ball on his hip and sprinting ahead until tackled by a swarm of defenders. The revolution that transformed the sport began in 1906, when passing was first legalized. The passing weapon made the game safer, altered strategy, turned the quarterback into a key offensive player, and made possible the high-scoring games of today.
Lew Freedman traces football's passing game from its inception to the present, telling the tale through the stories of the quarterbacks whose arms carried (and threw) the changes forward. Freedman relies especially on the biography of "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh--who hailed from Sweetwater, Texas--as a framework. Baugh, perhaps the greatest all-around football player in history, came along at just the right time to elevate the passing game to unprecedented importance in the eyes of the sports world.
About the Author
Lew Freedman is an author and sports editor for The Republic in Columbus, Indiana, where he lives. He has been sports editor with the Chicago Tribune, where he covered the Bears, and has worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Anchorage Daily News. His books include Pittsburgh Steelers: The Complete Illustrated History and Chicago Bears Stadium Tales.