by Jerry McGhee
July 17, 2012
Electric football is a great American past time with a definitive impact on many people from young to old. For the young, it causes the imagination to explode with possibility. For the older it’s a game full of strategy, innovation and a great hobby to share with your friends. Its also a way to relax and forget about worrisome things and enjoy something that makes you feel young again. Norman Sas left a legacy with this simple American game, a legacy that lives on and will continue to grow.
Today, electric football lives and thrives in the homes of many Americans, Canadians and even in Europe. I am a member of the Miniature Football Coaches Association, the MFCA (www.miniaturefootball.org). We are a group of men, women and kids all young at heart who still play the game. The figures Norman Sas invented no longer go haywire when the board gets turned on, it is a game of strategy, a moving chess board if you will, where each “coach” battles with wits and gamesmanship against their opponent in a live 3d setting calling for sportsmanship, etiquette and professionalism.
We hold several tournaments around the country each year where we play the game and crown our champions. Our biggest event is the MFCA CON held every year near Canton, Ohio at the same time as the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions. Each year we induct our members into the MFCA Electric Football Hall of Fame. We come together as friends, catch up on how everyone is doing, play a tournament, crown our champion, provide outreach to the visitors at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and most importantly, we fellowship with each other in a very neat brotherhood that has no initiation, no questions asked, all you have to do is show up and have a love for this great American game.
Most people my age (I’m 46) grew up with the game because we saw it in a Sears Robuck Catelogue and Santa Clause brought it for Christmas. Lucky for me, my older brothers had the game before I came along and I fell in love with all of its possibilities. Today, there are thousands of electric football stories, everyone who came in contact with the game has a story about it. They’re all pretty cool to listen to…it’s a bond.
To compete in today’s electric football tournaments takes a combination of knowledge, skill, talent, luck and persistence. There are some real high end professionals (guys who have been playing a long time) who can shut you down pretty quick if you don’t know what you’re doing. But, these same guys will take the time to teach you how to play with greater skill no matter what your skill level is at the time. Competition is a lot of fun, but it’s best when your competitor puts up a good game!
We have a Coaches Challenge Skills Competition where we show how well we’ve tweaked our bases (the platforms the players glide across the field on) to run specific routes with in certain time periods. We have passing competitions, kicking competitions and speed and strength competitions. My favorite competition though is squaring off in a mono v. mono game with a coach who has a lot of skill or has a lot of hardware (trophies) in their electric football resume’. Those make for some intense games.
The figures we use have become an art unto themselves with the addition of decals, facemasks and new custom poses. These little inch and a quarter figures are quite impressive and detailed when done by a skilled electric football artist.
I make my own fields to scale with the players. One of my fields is 68 inches long, 35 inches wide and it has sidelines for additional figures. Most guys who compete today come with a squad of about 30-60 figures on their sideline. This allows for special teams, back-ups, just like a real football squad.
I live in Florida, but grew up in Virginia. My Virginia Electric Football League (www.vaefl.com) is my solitaire league where from time to time I play a game on my schedule with my squads that I’ve painted over the last 15 years. It keeps my skills up, and helps me get ready for any tournament I go to.