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February 11, 2018 Happy Birthday Anniversary Howard T. Abbott!

Posted on February 11, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

Today is a great day to remember a Wolverine named Howard T. Abbott on his happy birthday anniversary. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Howard T. Abbott was born in Washington, DC on this day in 1867. So, yes, he was another Michigan “Pigskin Pioneer!”

Part I. Wolverine of the Day – Howard T. Abbott

Interestingly, Howard Abbott was also a Minnesota Gopher “Pigskin Pioneer” before he arrived in Ann Arbor. Abbott is the first man to ever quarterback a Gopher football team. He was the first captain on the first team in Minnesota football history way, way back in 1886.

Howard T. Abbott left Minneapolis to study law at The University of Michigan in 1889. Abbott arrived in time to play for Captain E. W. McPherran, but he didn’t help as much as he would have liked. After going 4-1-0 in 1888, Michigan took a giant-step backward in 1889. The Wolverines finished with a record of 1 win and 2 losses. One of the losses was a 56-0 drubbing at the hands of Cornell. It was the worst defeat in the ten-year football history of Michigan football.

Howard T. Abbott Michigan Football 1890 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Howard T. Abbott played some good football for the Wolverines in 1889 and 1890. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Abbott came back more football in 1890, but Team Captain William C. Malley decided that another quarterback would lead the team. Abbott took a backseat to a man named George Holden. It looks like Holden, and the rest of the team, did a better job in 1890 as the Wolverines finished the season with a record of 4 wins and only 1 loss.

Howard T. Abbott is listed on the all-time Michigan letterman roster as a three-year letterman (1889, 1890 and 1891). However, he only shows up on the rosters for the 1889 and 1890 teams. Regardless, Howard T. Abbott earned at least one letter for Michigan and played a part in the early history of Wolverine football.

After graduation from law school, Abbott returned to Minneapolis to start a law career. He eventually became a judge. Howard Abbott died on October 5, 1939 at the age of seventy-two.

So, on the one hundred fifty-second anniversary of the birth of Michigan Man Howard T. Abbott, let us remember his contributions to the great history of Michigan Football. May he always rest in eternal peace! Go Blue!


Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – February 10, 2018

In what year did the Wolverines start wearing their famous football helmets?

Part II. Trivia Question Answer for February 10, 2018 – 1938

Michigan’s legendary football helmets made their debut on October 1, 1938 at Michigan Stadium. Fritz Crisler, Michigan’s new coach, brought the idea with him from Princeton. It was a noticeable difference since the Wolverines had been wearing black helmets for a very long time.

Crisler always maintained that the helmets gave his team an advantage in the passing game since it was easier to spot a Michigan receiver who was running downfield. His new look helmets helped the Wolverines defeat the Spartans by a score of 14-0.

Michigan vs Michigan State 1938 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

It’s really hard to tell from this photo, but Michigan and Michigan State both wore a type of “winged” helmet on October 1, 1938. (Note-MSU players are on the extreme left and right side of the picture.) Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

The interesting thing about this game is that both teams actually wore their own version of the unusual helmet design. Yes you heard it right, both teams were wearing some type of a “wing” on their helmets for the first time in series history.

Actually, the Wolverines were the second team to add the winged helmet design to their uniform look. Michigan State College coach Charlie Bauman changed MSC’s colors from Green and White to Black and Gold in 1934. Another change that Bauman came up with was a winged design on the front of the Spartan helmet. The helmet had a smaller black wing on the front of the gold helmet. There were no stripes coming off the wing to the back of the helmet.

So, Michigan did not invent the “winged” helmet and they weren’t even the first team to wear it in the State of Michigan. However, they stuck with the design and made it famous! Go Blue!

Part III. Trivia Question of the Day – February 11, 2018

What is the largest margin of victory in a Michigan vs Ohio State football game?


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