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Undefeated since 1941: A History of Gonzaga Football: Case 2: Rules and Regulations

Case 2: Getting Technical: Rules and Regulations

Football's early game lacked the forward pass. Teams relied on massive rushes to advance the ball and it was a dangerous game. The offensive team used a tactic called the flying wedge where they would form a “V” to protect the ball carrier. Nationwide, the game of football became so aggressive that players were severely injured and even killed. Gonzaga banned football in 1898 for this reason. The administration could not support a game that was intended for recreation but was instead causing grave injuries. The forward pass was introduced in 1905 and Gonzaga football resumed shortly after in 1908.


Gonzaga vs Loyola Program, November 27, 1938

The programs had visuals of the referee’s official signs of the game. This helped fans know what was holding, what was interference, what was offsides, etc.

Archie Sherar’s Playbook, c. 1930

Sherar’s handwritten playbook depicts the various plays that Coach Mike Pecarovich would have the team run.

Archie Sherar’s Visual of Field, c 1930

This document told players what they should be doing on the different parts of the field.

Archie Sherar (hometown Cheney, WA) was a member of Gonzaga football from 1930-1933. He played quarterback and was in charge of calling the plays. After he graduated, he served in the Navy. In 1948 he returned to Gonzaga as a professor of Education and later became Director of Athletics. He resigned from the position in 1953.

Archie P. Sherar’s Business Card, Gonzaga Director of Athletics, 1950s

Reminders for Players on How to Live, Sleep, Eat, and Breath Football, c. 1930

Found in Archie Sherar’s playbook. Here is Coach Pecarovich’s philosophy about football. Notice the line: “Remember: Girls and football don’t mix.”

Letter from Coach Mike Pecarovich (1931-1938) to Thomas McNeese of San Pedro, CA, August 15, 1935

Pecarovich mailed this letter to Southern California during the summer of 1935. He wanted to make sure team member Thomas McNeese was getting in shape, eating well, and talking Gonzaga up to his community, even in the off-season.

Pacific Hotel Oasis Advertisement in the Gonzaga vs University of Idaho Homecoming Program, November 25, 1922

The Pacific Hotel Oasis put an ad in the 1925 Homecoming program that listed the penalty rules (number of yards lost and status of downs) when a foul was committed. Pacific Hotel marketed themselves as “home” to the visiting players.


Football game between Gonzaga and University of South Dakota, 1932

Game played at Gonzaga Stadium, Gonzaga won 12-0. Referee dressed in traditional black and white striped shirt.