I’m a football fan (a Steelers fan to be exact). I find that now, I get most of my sports news from blogs. It’s great to get news and opinions you trust all at once. Blogs aren’t bound by journalism rules or advertisers’ influence so, in addition to delivering the same news as traditional sources, they seem more human and aren’t driven by alternative agendas.
In one of my favorite blogs I was introduced to the book, “The Forward Pass in Football” by Elmer Berry. It was written in 1921. Elmer’s purpose for writing the book was to implore football coaches to embrace the forward pass. For football fans of today’s game the idea of people not using the forward pass seems as ancient as trying to make fire with two stones. Believe it or not, by 1921, 15 years after the forward pass was first allowed, there were traditionalists who still preferred the “old game” that only involved running the ball. To them, the forward pass was used only out of desperation to try to make up for prior mistakes. The forward pass was not celebrated or considered imperative like it is today.
The forward pass was invented in 1906 because the game, at the turn of the century, was too violent and losing spectators. Berrycomments on this in the book:
“The game was too rough; dangerously rough; Unnecessarily rough...Everything was hidden in the mass of play. Spectators could see little of the real game.”
So, for the sake of winning back the spectators the forward pass was allowed. But the players and coaches were slow to adopt.Berrynotes in 1921 that a few small colleges had adopted a progressive passing strategy and were enjoying success. Big colleges, he claimed, “had done what they could to retard its adoption.”
Today, the NFL continually creates ways to make the game experience more exciting and to engage more fans. And, you can’t argue with their success. Over the last 13 years the total NFL franchise values have grown at twice the rate of the United States GDP (8.4% versus 4.2% annually, source: forbes.com and bea.gov). Yards gained using the forward pass have increased by 12% over the same period. Since 1932 passing yards are up 316% (source: pro-football-reference.com).
That kind of success is appealing for sure. And it makes me think, “Where is the forward pass in the credit card industry?” If we stripped away the old ways of doing things, can Barclaycard Ring find success embracing the new rules of social engagement online and the new regulatory environment? If we open up our books and show customers how things work, can we create excitement and build a fan base? We hope so. We know new ways come and old ways go. In 1921 Elmer Berry was trying to convince people the forward pass was a good thing. Nobody was listening. But he turned out to be more than right. Will the same be said of Barclaycard Ring? We hope so. I’ll leave you with an eloquent passage from Elmer’s book.
“The execution of a good spiral forward pass is a thing of real beauty and art. It holds the eye of spectators and players alike…The soaring flight of a sixty-yard spiral is like the rushing swoop of the daring aviator… “
Daring aviator indeed…
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Barclaycard Ring is based on a few core principles: we believe customers deserve a simple credit card that's also a great deal. We believe that as a bank, we need our customers' ongoing feedback to make Barclaycard Ring even better. And on that note, we think members should have a real say in how their credit card evolves over time.