In a 75-minute practice stint the next day Saville, 55, a longtime amateur goalie who plays in an Edmonton old-timers' league, showed glimpses of competence between the posts. "You should sign yourself, Bruce," said defenseman Janne Niinimaa. Saville won't see any official ice time, but his perspective on his employees will never be the same. "My eyes couldn't follow the first five shots," he says, "but I heard one whizzing past my ear."
The Human Forward Pass
It may have predated the forward pass by two years, but for one 50-yard drive in 1904, Tennessee's aerial attack was football's finest. Ninety-five years ago last week Sam McAllester, who would go on to earn distinction as a Chattanooga lawyer, set his first legal precedent—as a human projectile. McAllester played fullback for the Volunteer State boys (the team's nickname had not yet been shortened to Vols), and on that fall day he spent much of his time being thrown for a gain.
Before that Thanksgiving Day showdown at Alabama, Tennessee coach Sax Crawford fitted McAllester with a leather belt that had handles on both sides. On the fateful drive McAllester would take a direct snap, run to the line, anchor a foot on an offensive guard's back and wait for Tennessee's backfield brother act—beefy halfbacks J A and J.H. Caldwell—to hurl him over the defensive line. The lone scoring march of the game consisted exclusively of such airscapades as Tennessee drove to the only touchdown of a 5-0 win. (Touchdowns were then worth five points.)
After the 1905 season the newly formed American Intercollegiate Football Rules Committee legalized the forward pass, created a neutral zone between the offense and defense (the line of scrimmage, we call it) and, in a far less publicized move, made it illegal to hurdle a standing player. Before long the committee outlawed propelling ballcarriers forward and Slung Sammy, who earned two varsity letters at Tennessee but little conventional distinction on the field, settled for the less bumpy life of a Southern lawyer. McAllester remains the only known player to be a forward pass—the onetime football hero who went down in history headfirst.