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First Intercollegiate Game

The Early Days

Notre Dame Dynasty

The Rise of Professional Football

The Meadowlands

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New Jersey Football Hall of Famers




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The Early Days
October 2002

As football developed into the game we know today, two New Jersey men stood out as pioneers. Amos Alonzo Stagg helped transform the game from its soccer/rugby beginnings to what it is today. Born and raised in West Orange, Stagg played football at Yale. He became a member of the first-ever All-America team in 1889. Stagg began coaching at age 27 and didn’t stop for 71 years! Stagg introduced all these things to football:

  • The end-around
  • The shift
  • Tackling dummies
  • “T” and wingback formations
  • Forward passing
  • The huddle
  • Man-in-motion
  • Numbers on the jerseys

The NCAA Division III Football Championship is named in his honor.

While Stagg pioneered the way the game was played, Paul Robeson became one of the game’s first superstar players. In 1917, Robeson became Rutgers' first All-American football player. Robeson’s many talents eventually led him to other fields, but the Somerville High School graduate’s football talents should not be overlooked.

Next: Notre Dame Dynasty


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