Bill’s Granddad, Clark Shaughnessy, Football Legend

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Bill is proud to share that his granddad, Clark Shaughnessy, is nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017!

If you know the history of football, you know that Shaughnessy is the father of the T formation, the founder of the forward pass, and as a coach, was one of the great innovators of the game. The T formation was originally invented in the 1880’s but fell short and Coach Shaughnessy saw its potential, tinkering with it for decades. Bill’s account is that his passion for football strategy often got him pulled over by the police for driving too slow; it turns out Coach was drawing X’s and O’s all over his windshield!

Clark Shaughnessy, University of Maryland coach directs his team to its second straight victory --- 14 to 0 over Lakehurst Naval Air station in College Park, Md.  Oct. 3, 1942. To make up layout on the “T” formation wizard now coaching his first eastern team after successful career in deep south, Mid-west and West Coast. (AP Photo/Max Desfor)

Clark Shaughnessy, University of Maryland coach directs his team to its second straight victory — 14 to 0 over Lakehurst Naval Air station in College Park, Md. Oct. 3, 1942. To make up layout on the “T” formation wizard now coaching his first eastern team after successful career in deep south, Mid-west and West Coast. (AP Photo/Max Desfor)

The T formation logically positioned the quarterback behind the center to receive the snap, in turn making the QB the focus of the offensive line rather than just a blocker, as was the case in the then popular single wing formation. It was finally made famous when Shaughnessy helped bring the Chicago Bears to a record-breaking victory (73-0) over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 National League title game. In 1941, with that same T formation, he lead the previously non-winning Stanford football team to victory in the Rose Bowl. “Boys, I am not to be addressed as ‘Clark’ or, especially, ‘Soup.’ To you, I am ‘Mr. Shaughnessy’ or ‘Coach.’ Nothing else. I am a professor of football. Now, I have a formation for you that, if you learn it well, will take you to the Rose Bowl.”

Shaughnessy coached pro football for nearly two decades before his passing in 1970. He’s been nominated for induction into the Hall of Fame several times over the years. He certainly left a considerable imprint on today’s game; it’s definitely time for him to be recognized. Bill said he was a very loving GD (pun intended), that they were really close and he holds a special place in his heart. Bill’s living dream is to see him finally get the nod he so deserves. Hopefully 2017 will be his year!