Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Dec 2005

For Texas High School, Not Your Ordinary Opponent

This is a few weeks old, but I just read about it this afternoon when I was thumbing through the December 5th issue of Sports Illustrated. Rick Reilly devoted a column to it, and here's an article from the Austin American-Statesman. I suspect this will be made into a movie, and if I had to guess, Will Ferrell will star as "Herc Palmquist: player/coach." (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 08 Dec 2005

23 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2005, 9:32pm by waynea


by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:27pm

Hah... funny thing is, the older kids lost! Losers!

by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:31pm

In a related story, I've sometimes wondered how the 29-year-old version of me would do against the 18-year-old veresion of me on the football field. The 18-year-old version has a lot more stamina and a lot more practice playing football, since I was on my high school team but haven't played more than a few friendly backyard games since, but I'd like to think the 29-year-old version is mentally tougher, and I'm definitely physically stronger than I was 11 years ago. If anyone has a Delorean, a flux capacitor, and an assurance that meeting myself on the football field will do nothing to upset the space-time continuum, let me know. Don't worry, I won't be bringing back Gray's Sports Alamanac.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:36pm

As far as I'm concerned, feel free to repeat the experiment as many times as necessary until you get to the alternate future where the Fords have sold the Lions ...

I'm kind of surprised. I figured there would be a few more calls for public beheading, seeing as how Texas high school football is somewhat important ...

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:48pm

NYOS should've been tipped off when they saw Danny Almonte suiting up.

Has anyone actually seen six on six football? It sounds like a variant played among smaller, private schools, but I've never watched it and don't know much else about it. I would imagine it would be pretty tough for colleges to recruit players and have any real idea what they're getting, but it could also be like NFL teams getting Arena League players, where those that can spot talent among the differences can get some real gems. Does anyone know offhand of any college players who come from 6-on-6 or similar backgrounds?

by JG (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 7:03pm

If you click on my name you will find a link to the basic rules of 6-man football, but it seems to have more similarity to rugby or the early days of american football than to the modern game of today. Strange game, but I think I'm going to look into it some more.

by James (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 7:45pm

I think Rashaan Salaam came from 8 man football. One of those big 12 big hype backs did

by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 8:44pm

MDS - Ah, but remember: the older you would remember playing as the younger you, thereby allowing the older version to predict the younger one's moves.

by bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 8:54pm

Independent George, Excellent point. Even better, the older MDS could say to the younger MDS, "Oh, isn't that Susie sitting in the stands? I hear she wants you bad..." knowing that all the younger MDS wanted in the world at that point was a date with Susie. The younger one would then proceed to try to show off, pee his pants, fumble, blush, and run to hide. Well, I would anyway... that Susie was HOT!

by MitchW (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 9:16pm


You can't go back in time to tackle yourself in a game of fottball...or did you forget the central issue/dilemma of encountering your past self?

...and expertly explored in the Van Damme epic "TimeCop":

The same matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time, because if that happens, and if a person accidentally makes physical contact with their past version, that person will die, and their body will disappear from the face of the Earth.

So, (time) travel if you must - but if you do - please let Aaron know so that he can post an opening on the FO writing staff.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:23pm

But you're not the same matter, you're completely different matter, in a different formation and with different molecular yada yada in different places.

I also think the younger me would win, being that I wouldn't want to hit myself and give myself any long-lasting injuries. All in all, it would be a very soft game for this reason, maybe even just two-hand touch.

by TheWedge (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:43pm

I swear that during a recent game I heard that a fairly high-profile player was a former 6 vs. 6 or 8 vs. 8 player. I can't remember who though I might just be crazy

by Vince (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 11:06pm

I just turned 30, and I would kick 19-year-old me's ass.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 11:48pm

I believe I have been reminded why I love this place so much.

by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 12:06am

If I had to play football against a youger version of myself, I'd have Data as my secret weapon.

Yes, that Star Trek 10 reference is a reach, but no, I am not a trekkie.

(But what if the younger me had a prototype of Data?)

by Murr (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 3:47am


I'm so with you. One worthless Rick Reilly article can bring about this many good references? FO *rules*.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 4:09am

15 -

"Worthless" and "Rick Reilly article" are synonyms.

We can even Mad Lib with it! "My Rick Reilly article girlfriend would have performed non-family-website oral activities on the Rick Reilly article QB of the old team in the article. She was a Rick Reilly article dirty little Carolina Panthers cheerleader."

Yeah, to make that one work, I had to stretch to fit "Carolina Panthers cheerleader" in as "dirty little whore"

More importantly, do they even still HAVE Mad Libs? If they are not still popular enough for global recognition, click my name...


by kjbad (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 1:25pm

re #7 & #8: Try to imagine Michael Jordan at 18 playing the 29-year-old Jordan...the younger version's instinct alone would doom the older, slower player. Many wiser players know what's coming and can't stop it anyway. This would probably be the case with MDS...or you could just imagine playing against your nephews in the annual Thanksgiving game and watching them run by you...

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 2:12pm

kjbad, that was exactly what I was thinking, except I came to exactly the opposite conclusion. Why do rookies struggle so much when they join the league (by which I mean any pro sport)? Because the older, wiser players may have lost half a step, but all the tricks they pick up along the way more than make up the difference.

For the past six years, I've been involved with the high school ministry at my church, and every year a highlight is the staff vs. students football game at the fall retreat. It's almost the exact situation described here. Most of the staff are mid 20's to early 30's, bigger and slower than we were in HS, but a whole lot smarter, and we each only play a couple game a year. We're facing students aged 15-18, faster, with a whole lot more endurance, and with plenty of subs available (last game was 8 on 10, they could sub freely, we had nobody). A lot of them play football, and those that don't play other sports. They're in prime shape, enthusiastic, and supremely confident that they'll whip the old guys. And every single year, we beat the everloving crap out of them.

This year, it was 10-2 (counting TD's - no kicking game for us!). It was especially fun because a few of the students made all-conference this year, and they even got together the week before to practice. And we still crushed them. The primary difference is experience - we have a ton more patience, actually put together a decent strategy, and don't feel the need to prove how 'manly' we are by throwing deep into quadruple coverage every play. That's right, on defense we ran a 4-deep zone, with 2 underneath and 2 rushing the QB. And nearly every play was a heave over 25 yards. The moral? Kids are freaking stupid.

On offense, we opened in a wishbone and ran the triple option the whole way. Easy score. Next drive was nothing but QB draws out of the shotgun. Easy score. Next drive, three straight screen passes. TD. By the time they ever figured anything out, they were receiving the next kickoff. Stupid kids.

Anyway, I think as long as you're not too old, and still in reasonably decent shape, the late 20's you is vastly superior to the late teens variety. Obviously this doesn't hold past a certain point, but 29 is hardly decrepit. And if I ever do invent the time machine, there are plenty of things I'd go back and beat myself up over. Since I know so many more submission holds now than I knew then, it should be pretty easy.

by Walt Pohl (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 2:43pm

Trogdor is 100% right. One time a friend of mine and I, joined a pickup 5-on-5 basketball game. We were in our mid-twenties, while the the other 8 were all 15-18. Normally, we're both terrible basketball players. In this game, we were superstars. Fortunately for competitive balance we were on opposite teams.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 2:47pm

Trogdor, are you guys playing touch, flag, or tackle? I'm pretty sure the 18-year-old me would be a much better touch or flag player than the 29-year-old me, since touch and flag are about speed more than anything else. But in tackle I think I'd beat my 18-year-old self. My oldest nephew is 16. A couple of years ago, when he was first starting to play football, my wife suggested that I should show him how to block and tackle, but he said he didn't want to get killed. And, at the time, I think I would have (or at least would have been able to). Two years later, he's bigger and I'm in worse shape. It'd be a good contest.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 3:15pm

Tackle. Always tackle. With offensive lines and all that jazz.

It's a rare occasion when I'll play touch or flag. I *hate* those, because they completely neutralize everything I'm good at (except strategy). I'm short and stocky, run like garbage but can beat the snot out of ya. My favorite open-field move is to turn directly into the oncoming tackler and try to bowl him over. I probably haven't made a single person 'miss' in almost 20 years, but I can run you over and stiff-arm like mad. These skills are somewhat less desirable in flag and touch.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 3:18pm

Yeah, I'm the same way. Not a fan of touch or flag at all. If it's not tackle, it's not football. Hell, there are NFL players (linemen) who wouldn't be the best player on a typical college intramural flag football team.

by waynea (not verified) :: Sat, 12/10/2005 - 9:32pm

Several asked about six man football ... I am an assistant coach for Austin NYOS --(the ones that beat the college age kids) -- I had never seen six man football until my son started playing 3 years ago. It took one game for me to be "hooked". It is a much faster version than 11 man, with much more emphasis on offense (( long passes, long runs!!)). It is not close to Rugby at all. It is actually not to far from 11 man in terms of rules. Yes it is tackle, and there are some vicious hits because much of it is "Open Field". Not near as much "2 yards and a cloud of dust up the middle". There are terrific athletes that play six man football. Because the teams usually represent fairly small schools (Under 100 total students), the best athletes usually play both ways so they are in incredible shape.

As to the discussion of older players vs younger players, we won our game against the older players for two reasons. First we were a team, we had plays, a strategy, and our kids all knew what to expect from each other. The second reason was conditioning. By the end of the second quarter, them college kids were draggin!! From that point on it was a matter of our kids just running around them as they huffed and puffed!!

BTW -- there were plenty who called for a flogging or a a hanging of Herc Palmquist (the coach that tried to pull this stunt), but the governing board made the decision for just a 5 game suspension...go figure.

Go to www.sixmanfootball.com for more infor about six man football, and if there is ever a game near you...take it in...it's a treat!!