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July 26, 2012

Take Your Shirt Off!

Video of Ray Goff in 1976 with a torn jersey?  Perhaps you'd file this away with the there-is-obviously-little-going-on-if-I'm-posting-this posts:

Regardless, I was recently reading Willie Morris' The Courting of Marcus Dupree (I mentioned my fascination with Dupree a couple of years ago) and read where an actual "game plan" against Dupree by an opposing high school coach in the early-80s was for his defenders to purposely tug at Dupree's tear-away jersey.  A tattered Dupree jersey would mean the extraordinary running back would be forced out of the game for a play or two in order to don a new jersey, and one or two plays without Marcus Dupree on the field was a good thing for the opposition.

After reading this fascinating fact, I recalled Georgia's days of wearing the old tear-aways.  Apparently, the Bulldogs began sporting the tear-away jerseys  in the mid-70s, but I personally only remember Herschel racing around in 1980 with his shirt flapping in the breeze.  Less than a year ago, Derek Dooley remembered Herschel's tear-away jersey as well, and less than three months ago, someone actually paid more than $2,000 for one of the Goal Line Stalker's tattered tops.
Whether in 1975 (photo) or a year later 
vs. GA Tech, Ray Goff had a tough time
keeping his top intact against the Jackets. 

But ask the little older Bulldog fans and many will tell you they associate the old tear-away jerseys with Ray Goff.  While quarterbacking Georgia from 1974 to 1976, Goff was known for his devotion to the Lord, his love of professional wrestling (a former teammate of the quarterback's recently told me that Goff loved going to the "wrastling" matches in college at Athens' J&J Center), and a football jersey that would seemingly be shredded by opposing defenses at least a couple times each game. 

Alas, the NFL would eventually establish the "Greg Pruitt Rule," banning the use of tear-away jerseys and named after the Cleveland Brown back, who evidently would bring dozens of these mesh jerseys to games, leaving would-be tacklers with just a handful of fabric.  In 1982, the NCAA followed suit, citing besides giving players an advantage and safety concerns, the torn tops were simply an eye-sore.  As one college football official remarked, "It just looked bad.  Guys were running around on the field in rags."

Still, the tear-aways apparently have a place in UGA football history.  On Goff's 3-yard touchdown run in a 13-10 victory over Georgia Tech in 1976 (the middle clip of the video), it's clear he likely would not have scored if not for his tear-away jersey.  And, as at least the Yellow Jacket faithful contend, if Goff doesn't score, the Bulldogs would not have, and a 13-10 Bulldog win would've been a loss instead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was a freshman at UGA during the 1976-77 academic year, went to all three games on the video, remember Goff's shirt getting ripped off, and remember seeing Goff a couple times at the J&J Center on Thursday nights. Patrick, thanks for helping us older Dawgs relive some great memories! --Darrell