11. November 2008 · Comments Off on 50th Anniversary: The Two Point Conversion · Categories: Archive 2008, History, Refs & Rules · Tags: , , , , , ,

I found this article on the prolific York Daily Record website pointing out that we’re upon the 50th anniversary of the two point conversion in college football. It’s a great read, definitely check it out.

So why is this on MVictors? Look who pushed for the rule change:

Among those on the committee who liked the idea and were part of the unanimous approval were Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson and former Alabama and Duke coach Wallace Wade.

But the leading proponent was Michigan coach Fritz Crisler. He said after the rules committee meeting that the two-point play “will add drama to what has been the dullest, most stupid play in the game.”

Once the rule kicked in the following season teams went two-point crazy until they came to their senses, perhaps with the help of an egghead in the math department:

In 1958, teams quickly became infatuated with the opportunity to score more points. That season, there were more two-point conversation attempts than extra-point kicking tries.

In 578 games that season, teams went for two 1,371 times, converting 613 for 44.7 percent, and attempted 1,295 kicking extra points.

The fad faded as the math evidence piled up. Over the long haul, the one-pointer was a better bet than the two , and by 1965, college football was down to 331 two-point attempts.

Definitely check it out here. Here’s Beano Cook talking about it earlier this year and he talks about Crisler’s influence:

Related: Another must read that I’ve point out before, check out the Sports Illustrated article on Fritz Crisler titled, “The Man Who Changed Football” from February 1964. It talks about other changes Criser introduced including the system of platooning players which he started in Yankee Stadium against Army in 1945.