The Pyramid Play

The 1933 Oregon State football team, most famously known as the “Iron Men” for their dramatic tie of #1 ranked USC using only 11 players the entire game, also left its mark on football as we know it when a play they devised to block opponent’s extra points was ultimately banned by the NCAA at the conclusion of the season.   On November 11, 1933, against the Oregon Ducks during the annual Civil War game at Multnomah Stadium, now Jeld-Wen Field, the Beavers had a 6’5″ center named Clyde Devine and two 6’2″ tackles named Harry Fields and Ade Schwammel. The two tackles hoisted Devine upon their shoulders. With the combination of their height and Devine’s long arm span, they were able to successfully block one of Oregon’s two kicks.  Oregon Journal staff photographer, Ralph Vincent, managed to capture the use of the play in the 1933 Civil War with his Graflex camera. Instantly, Vincent, his photo, and the OAC Beavers were thrust into national attention. The photo quickly appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and other eastern newspapers. Discussion of the play heated up quickly with sportswriters arguing whether the play was good or not for the game of football. Some simply labeled the play a ‘sports trick’.  As a result, the NCAA decided to ban the play following the 1933 season!  (Courtesy OSU Archives)

HC2516_Pyramid1933 - Copy

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