Long before Madden NFL and other sophisticated video games of today, an earlier generation enjoyed a unique football game called Electric Football. This was the first football game I experienced as a young football fan in the early 1970s. At the time it was the high tech game of its day.
Electric football was a game which featured a tabletop football game played on a metal vibrating field which sounds a little strange today but it was a popular game back in the day. Norman Sas invented the game when he was president of Tudor Electric.
Sas based the game on a vibrating car race game that Tudor already made. The game featured actual moving players as they reacted to the vibrations created by the electro-magnet motor under the metal field.
Electric Football was an immediate hit and became one of the hottest items at Christmas time through the 1960s and 1970s and to date has sold 70 million games.
So how did this game work? Gamers didn’t have individual controllers but strategically positioned miniature football players on the metal filed. The players had plastic bases with brushes or prongs underneath the bases which caused the players to react to the vibration of the field when a switch was activated to cause the metal to vibrate and the players to move around the field.
Special players were used to pass, punt or kick the ball. The ball was a small ball made of felt. It took some practice to master the pass. If the ball made contact with the receiver player or its base, it was considered a completed pass.
As you can imagine, it took a while to play a game. It could also be quite frustrating as players would often respond in unintended ways with players going in opposite directions or running into the sides of the field.
The game still has a loyal following with electric football leagues in Charlotte, Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and other regions throughout the United States. A group called the Electric Football Nation has contact information for leagues and tournaments. There is also the Miniature Football Coaches Association which has everything you want to know about Electric Football but unfortunately the site has not been updated since 2018 but you can still find some interesting information about the game.
Dr. Bob Owens is currently the top-ranked coach in the country according to the Tournament of Champions website. They have upcoming tournaments in Irvine, California and College Park, Maryland. The top 12 coaches advances to participate in the Tournament of Champions to play for the National Championship.
If you are interested in owning your own electric football game, check some of these out: