Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The 1940 Heisman Trophy winner, a two-time All-American, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1941 draft, and the grandfather of Nelson, Michigan's Tom Harmon is, without question, one of the giants of the game. The Cal Bears, meanwhile, are giants of a very different kind of game: somehow convincing spectators that they ought to take the field while the game is going on.
For your Wednesday afternoon viewing pleasure, we present this video of those two unstoppable forces meeting in Berkeley in 1940. Harmon evades nearly the entire Bears team only to have to avoid one last tackler on the goalline ... a balding Bears fan named Harold Brennan. Enjoy:
As documented by Michigan history site MVictors, the play became famous enough for a shot-by-shot examination in the pages of Life magazine:
As part of the Life feature, Brennan provided an ... interesting account of his time on the field.
"I'm glad I did it," he said. "When the Michigan boys go home, they can't tell folks no one tackled Harmon ... I did."
Which just goes to show you: even in 1940, college football fans were already rabid enough to occasionally ignore what was actually happening on the field for the kinder, gentler version of things in their head.