I linked to this terrific post of Chris Brown’s a few days ago. Something about it reminded me of another piece I read a while back. I was going crazy trying to recall the other bit, when suddenly I had a brain flash last night, dug around in my bookcase and found The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football, by Paul Zimmerman.
The book was published in 1984, and I haven’t looked at it in years, but for some reason this passage on page 226 stuck in my head:
… To someone who’s never seen the single wing, believe me, it can be a thing of beauty… In college it’s been abandoned, and why I’ll never know, because it seems that some of those nifty running quarterbacks would be just right for the run-and-pass tailback duties…
In the pros, its drawbacks are obvious. Your passer couldn’t take the pounding.
“I’ve reflected on the single wing,” [Bill] Walsh says. “Those blocking schemes would just chew up NFL defenses. You could double-team every hole and trap at every hole. You’d have six men blocking three. Plus you’d have the power for the sweeps.
“Joe Montana might be able to play tailback, to run and pass, but you wouldn’t let him do it unless you had another Joe Montana to spell him…”
I wonder how tempted Walsh was to revisit that when he had arguably a better single wing QB on the roster in Steve Young.