A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 09, 2006
“Three things can happen when you throw the football, and two of them are bad” (UT coach Royal)

Texas lore holds that the legendary UT football coach Darrell Royal said that there are three things that can happen when you pass the football, and “two of them are bad.” There are claims that this was said by other coaches (University of Tennessee coach Robert Neyland, Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty), but Royal definitely used the saying in 1962 and his association seems strongest. Royal liked to run the football.


Orange County Register
Interesting. I had always thought it was Hayes, too. When I looked it up I found it attributed to Hayes, Royal, Neyland, and Duffy Daugherty on different sites. 

Wikipedia: Woody Hayes
There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad.” This quote is often incorrectly attributed to Mr. Hayes but is actually a quote made by General Robert Neyland of the University of Tennessee which is “When you throw the ball, three things can happen—and two of them are bad”

ESPN.com
I want to set the record straight about something. It was General Neyland who said, “When you throw the ball, three things can happen—and two of them are bad.” He doesn’t always get credit for the quote, as it is often attributed to Woody Hayes. But it was Neyland.

23 November 1962, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Texas Presents Something New?” by Bud Shrake, sec. 2, pg. 2:
You could almost hear Royal repeating his maxim: “When you throw a pass three things can happen to it, and two of them are bad.”

31 July 1963, Indiana (PA) Evening Gazette, “Change Style of Attack” by Chuck Mills, head football coach, Indiana State College, pg. 22:
A controlled passing game is a safe method of keeping possession of the football. As one coach said, “when you pass three things can happen and two of them are bad.” Well, this is certainly over-simplification. We feel we will have the potential for a good passing attack on the one hand and on the other feel we still will lack a top break-away threat for the long run.

9 January 1964, New York Times, “Royal Is Chosen Coach of Year,” pg. 24:
Royal’s teams stress defense and a running rather than a passing offense. He has said three things can happen when a team throws a pass--one good, two bad.

“You complete the pass, that’s good,” he repeated yesterday. “You don’t complete it, that’s bad. Or the other team intercepts it and that’s very bad.”

15 January 1964, Frederick (MD) Post, pg. 6:
Darrell Royal of Texas, coach of the year: “There are three things that can happen to you on a field goal and two of them are bad. There are also three things that can happen on a run, punt or pass, and two of them are bad. You can see that I talk pretty conservative. I’m sort of the Barry Goldwater of football. The fact that we passed for a touchdown on first down from our own 37 against Navy is just one of those things.”

5 October 1964, Indiana (PA) Evening Gazette, pg. 14:
Chuck Klausing has been quoted many times as saying, “When you pass three things can happen, and two of them are bad.”

23 September 1965, Lincoln (NE) Star, pg. 25:
Devaney, who takes the positive approach to passing rather than the approach that says anytime you throw the ball only three things can happen and two of them are bad, noted “Each week we try to mix our passing and running game to its best advantage.”

12 October 1969, New York Times, “Texas Rally Topples Oklahoma by 27-17 With Aerial Attack,” pg. S1:
Trailing, 14-0, late in the first quarter and forced to justify an offense that had thrown only 27 passes in three games, Texas rebounded for its fourth straight triumph in 13 games for Coach Darrell Royal against his alma mater.

It was Royal, one of college football’s most successful coaches, who once said that three things can happen when you throw the ball and two of them are bad.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Saturday, September 09, 2006 • Permalink


Ohio History Central:
As a coach, Hayes emphasized a strong defense, however he is most remembered for his philosophy on offense. Because of Hayes’s emphasis on running the ball, most people described his offense as “three yards and a cloud of dust.” When asked why he opposed throwing the ball, Hayes once responded, “There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad.”

Posted by JP  on  12/08  at  02:47 PM

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