I suppose I’m not unlike many people who have a couple of favorite college football teams. I follow a couple of teams each week during the season thereof. I like to see how each one fares on a given Saturday afternoon.
I was recently cleaning out some old files and came across some correspondence by some avid football fans. Russell Graves was upset that an underhanded “shuffle” pass had led to the defeat of his favorite team. Said he,
“I thought for a “shuffle” pass to be legal, it had to be sort of “pushed” rather than underhanded. Does anyone know the definitive answer on this?”
Allen Harris responded, “It happens all the time, especially from a shotgun formation. The Quarterback gets the snap, drops back, and then pitches forward (underhand) to the running back. Often referred to as a “shuffle” pass, this is legal in all levels of football as long as the passer is behind the line of scrimmage.”
Good answer, I suppose. But Robert James had the definitive answer:
“A forward pass (behind the line of scrimmage) can be underhanded, overhanded, side armed, behind the back, over the head or between the legs. You can push it, fling it, squibble it, two-hand it, one finger it, two fingers, three fingers, four fingers, five fingers or more.
“It can be a spiral, end over end, a duck, or a wobble. You can throw it like a Frisbee, a shot-put, a javelin, a grenade or a boomerang. You can throw it like you’re throwing a soccer ball, throwing a fish, throwing a paper airplane, a Sunday paper on a newspaper route, or a stick of dynamite onto an enemy bridge.
“You can even turn around and toss it over your head. You can close your eyes when you throw, smile, frown, or spit while you throw. You may sneeze, cough, fart or tell a joke during a forward pass.
“You can lob it in, drop it in, fling it in, zip it in, float it in, slide it in, or will it in. You can throw it forward, sideways, backward (lateral), or straight up (as long as it come down).
“You can throw it half an inch, or 50 yards. You can throw it on the run, throw it just for fun, you can stop and throw or throw then stop. You can spin and throw, do a flip then throw, or bite your lip then throw.
“You can drop back five yards then throw it ten. You can drop back fifty yards and throw it one. You can drop back seventy yards into your own end zone and throw it 100 yards for a touchdown. You can throw for six points, you can throw for two points, you can throw for a first down, a touchdown or throw it to the other team.
I think life is sort of like the forward pass. There are lots of ways to advance the ball but “Old Scratch”, the head coach of the opposing team, is doing his best to halt our progress and thwart us from crossing the goal line with our dignity and honor intact. He throws everything he’s got at us to make us stop, stoop and stumble. But life is about enduring to the end. And if we do, we’ll score some points and all will be well with us.