ever had. And his peers agreed that
the game had never seen a more punishing, smashing tackler. Woodrow Wilson, prior to his
days in the White House, was a fervent football fan who coached Princeton's squad in 1890.
Wilson said flatly that Phil King was the greatest football player that he ever saw.
When the 1891 season started, King naturally started at
halfback. But after only two games, it became painfully apparent that the Tigers badly
required a skilled quarterback. King, the best player around, assumed the position.
Quarterbacks rarely ran with the ball in those days; after scoring three touchdowns in his
first two games at the new position, Phil didn't score again for the remainder of the
year. But due to his unselfish, team-oriented efforts, the Tigers swept through the season
undefeated and unscored upon until the final game when they again fell to mighty Yale,
19-0. The powerhouse Bulldogs played with three future Hall of Famers: Frank Hinkey, Bum
McClung and Pudge Heffelfinger.
King was again named to the All-America team by selector
Caspar Whitney in Harper's Weekly, and by Walter Camp, whose own list started that
very year. Whitney remarked that "Last year Princeton lost a great halfback by
putting (Phil) at quarter. Nevertheless his work in that position was very fine,
especially his continued stirring up of his men, his interference and his tackling."
With the new season approaching, King was elected football
captain and returned to his halfback post. Whitney observed: "He is the right man in
the right place, for the Princeton football candidates have needed the past two years a
captain with a sharp stick constantly in motion. I think King is about the best captain on
the field I