FROM THE BLEACHERS: Herald-Banner Column

Jack Welch has served as a high school and college football coach for 39 years. He holds a Doctorate in Education. He can be reached at

Athletes have been setting records for decades.  A record will last a few years then another person does what everyone thought was impossible and break it. Every so often an athlete breaks an old record that no one thought was possible. Athletes continue to jump farther, run faster, and participate longer than whatever we thought were limits of human performance.

Tom Brady just won his seventh Super Bowl in his 10-year Super Bowl history at the age of 43.  He is the oldest quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl.  He also won Super Bowl games at 41 and 39 years of age. Other ageless quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl were Peyton Manning (39), Earl Morrall (39), John Elway (38), and Johnny Unitas (38).

Two of the five oldest quarterbacks, Morrall and Unitas, are considered to have played back in the golden era.  The era that did not have rules protecting the quarterback like today.  

Tim Hasselbeck, ESPN, and NFL analyst said the NFL has tried to enhance scoring with rules, which have benefitted offenses.  Some of the new rules include a quarterback’s ability to throw the ball away.  All needed to happen is when a quarterback is outside the tackle box is to throw the ball back to the line of scrimmage.  This spares the quarterback a lot of interceptions since they can throw the ball where no defender could make an interception. Also, rules prohibit a defender from unnecessarily and violently throwing a quarterback down and landing on top of him.  It is also illegal to hit a quarterback helmet-to-helmet.  This just names a few of the new rules.

No longer are there ice bowls of the early super bowl games either.  Most fields are artificial grass, there are dome playing arenas, and grass fields have methods of warming the field of play. Just imagine Roger Staubach, Lynn Dickey, Joe Montana, Bart Starr, and Joe Namath to name a few, having today’s rules and playing surfaces in place during their era.

Records never last forever. There is something special about achievements setting them apart.   For example, Jim Ryun set the world record in the mile run in 1967.  His time of 3 minutes and 51.1 seconds held until 1975.  If you calculate the difference of track improvements have made over the years, Ryun would still be competitive today.

     Serving as Athletic Director many years ago at Fort Scott Community College, I initiated the Athletic Hall of Fame.  In the very first year of the Hall, we inducted R. B. Shoemaker for track and field.  R. B. ran on a dirt track back in the 1940’s with tennis shoes.  His time of 1:53.8 in the 880-yard run was electrifying.  The 880-yard run is no longer ran in meets today.  The 880-yard run was succeeded by the 800-meter run.   

The 800-meter run is shorter than 880 yards, so times are slightly faster today.  When I researched what is considered good times today, I found it is considered NCAA D1 would be 1:47-1:55, and D2 times would be 1:52-1:57.  Of course this is with state-of-the-art tracks and excellent equipment (shoes). RB’s time in 1942 signifies he would still be extremely fast with today’s runners. He would still be setting records and winning lots of medals.


Thought for the week:  “Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.”  

Galatians 6:4 (NIV)

Dr. Jack Welch is a college football coach and has been in public school and collegiate education for 39 years.  He is the author of Foundations of Coaching (2020) and can be reached at

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