"Any Given Easter Sunday" by Domenichino

Early games of football were played with a large wooden cross rather than the familiar ball used in today's modern games. Here we see Peter the Rock, linebacker for the Bethlehem Buccaneers, having just tackled Jesus, the Son of God. There seems to be some confusion as to whether the cross was fumbled, and the referee, there on the left, is in the midst of determining the outcome.

The dramatic composition and subject matter of this painting were direct precursors to the hard hitting action of such blockbuster films as "North Jericho Fourty" and "Any Given Easter Sunday".

The NFL was experimenting with two types of helmets at the time. The hard metal helmets were very effective yet caused extensive chaffing of the scalp and trapped a great deal of sweat. The cloth helmets were much more comfortable but were relatively ineffective against the harder metal helmets.

Splinters were an ongoing problem and were particularly troublesome for the center who had to repeatedly pass the cross between his legs.

Many other sports of the day used wooden crosses as well. Sports such as LaCross and Cross Country skiing all reflect this common heritage.

-- Sister Randy