Quote of the Day

[Head football coach Charlie] Caldwell admitted after the 1951 season that for two years the Princeton athletic department had been using a computer (which a delighted press called an “electronic brain”) to help determine opponents’ tendencies and prepare game plans. He had cooked up the idea with the help of a Princeton mathematics professor and an ends coach who was also assistant to the chairman of the Physics Department. In a process that grew more elaborate over time, the group spent as many as eight hours each week studying film, dissecting each player on each play, jotting down information that would then be put onto punch cards by secretaries in the registrar’s office and run through the university’s giant mainframe. Their product was a thirteen-foot long printout that was used to devise the next week’s game plan.

Mark F. Bernstein, Football: The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession, p. 209-10 (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).

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