Being "recommended for a numeral" as a badge of honor

Being "recommended for a numeral" as a badge of honor

Postby RyanChristiansen » Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:49 am

In the December 8, 1927, Minneapolis Daily Star, there is an account of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team year-end awards banquet, and in that account it is mentioned that the freshman football coach had recommended certain freshmen players "for numerals." I assume this means that a) players on the freshmen team did not wear numbers on their jerseys, b) being "recommended for a numeral" meant you had been recommended to join the varsity team, and c) players on the varsity team wore numbers on their jerseys.

This made me wonder: did the pro teams always wear numbers on their jerseys? When they did begin wearing numbers of their jerseys, was the college crowd taken aback by the pro players' audacity to think that they had somehow earned the privilege of wearing numbers?

I know that until Red Grange lent his credibility to pro football that the pro players weren't seen as the real deal, so how did wearing jersey numbers play with fans?
"Five seconds to go... A field goal could win it. Up in the air! Going deep! Tipped! Caught! Touchdown! The Vikings! They win it! Time has run out!" - Vikings 28, Browns 23, December 14, 1980, Metropolitan Stadium
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Re: Being "recommended for a numeral" as a badge of honor

Postby TodMaher » Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:00 pm

Freshmen team "numerals" was equivalent of a variety "letter." My guess is the numeral had to with the graduating class - i.e., if you were on 1920 freshmen team this meant the class of '24.
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Re: Being "recommended for a numeral" as a badge of honor

Postby RyanChristiansen » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:33 am

TodMaher wrote:Freshmen team "numerals" was equivalent of a variety "letter." My guess is the numeral had to with the graduating class - i.e., if you were on 1920 freshmen team this meant the class of '24.


Ah, okay. Interesting. Thank you.
"Five seconds to go... A field goal could win it. Up in the air! Going deep! Tipped! Caught! Touchdown! The Vikings! They win it! Time has run out!" - Vikings 28, Browns 23, December 14, 1980, Metropolitan Stadium
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Re: Being "recommended for a numeral" as a badge of honor

Postby Bryan » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:42 pm

TodMaher wrote:Freshmen team "numerals" was equivalent of a variety "letter." My guess is the numeral had to with the graduating class - i.e., if you were on 1920 freshmen team this meant the class of '24.


Or if you were a really good freshman like Herschel Walker, you'd be awarded a '22 or '23 numeral instead.
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Re: Being "recommended for a numeral" as a badge of honor

Postby JuggernautJ » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:23 pm

This reminds me of Parcells starting the tradition of making rookies on the Cowboys "earn the star" on their helmet.
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