How to Play Football
Studio: Disney Release Date : September 15, 1944 Series: Goofy Cartoon

Cumulative rating:
(2 ratings submitted)


The Goofies of Taxidermy Tech take on the Goofies of Anthropology A and M.





Jack Kinney


George Nicholas
Norman Tate
Marvin Woodward
Andy Engman


Harry Reeves
Rex Cox


Oliver Wallace


Leonard Kester


Bruce Bushman


Walter Elias "Walt" Disney


Nominated for the Academy Award (Oscar): Best Short Subject


RKO Radio Pictures

Clips Used In:

Hockey Homicide
How to Catch a Cold
A Salute to Father

Included in:

The Goofy Sports Story
In Shape with Von Drake

Inside Jokes

  • As is usual with most of the Goofy team sports shorts, the players' names are names of Disney people; in this case including (Clyde) Geronomi, (Don) DeGradi and (John) Sibley. One of the players is named "Moose Williams". This is a reference to Roy Williams, storyman and future Mouseketeer on the "Mickey Mouse Club.


Donald's Quack Attack (Season 1, Episode 73)
Donald's Quack Attack (Season 1, Episode 31)


United States

Goofy Over Sports
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 6 : More Sport Goofy


Goofy Fait le Fou


Il Mondo Di Pippo

CED Disc

United States

Disney Cartoon Parade Volume 5

Laserdisc (CLV)

United States

Starring Mickey and Minnie / Starring Chip 'n' Dale
Cartoon Classics : More Sport Goofy


It's a Goofy World
Disney Cartoon Festival 5


United States

The Complete Goofy
Extreme Sports Fun


Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy

United Kingdom

Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy


Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy


Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 5 : Extreme Sports Fun

Technical Specifications

Running Time: 7:38
Production No.: 2305
MPAA No.: 9811
Animation Type: Standard (Hand-drawn-Cel) Animation
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Cinematographic Format: Spherical
Color Type: Technicolor
Negative Type: 35mm
Original Country: United States
Original Language: English
Print Type: 35mm
Sound Type: Mono: RCA Sound Recording

Reviews and Comments

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From Baruch Weiss :

This is the second Disney short to have the closing iris close in a shape. In this case it's (appropriately enough) a football. The first one would be Peculiar Penguins where the iris closes out into a heart shape.

From Dino Cencia :

This sport Goofy cartoon is best! I love to play football. Outside out on a field, or in my backyard. I give it 900 out 900.

From Bryan Hensley :

This short is in volume 5 of Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites collection, all about sports! I remember the crowd getting loud when the narrator describes how to play football! Good thing the DVD's subtitles cleared it up! The scene where the narrator says "This is a real blow to the coach" and the coach swallows his cigar, was reused in Double Dribble! Even the narrator was getting hysterical with the crowd, as he chewed his microphone while speaking! Around that time, the coach was binge-smoking over Swivel-hips Smith. (A bunch of cigars in his mouth at one time. YIKES!) I never heard of a football game having a team beat the other by half-a-point! The coach was crazy in the end, and the "Looney bin" Goofys tied him up as if he were a demented lunatic! His eyes were rolling! He tried various ways to make his team "GET OUT THERE AND FIGHT!" Did you know that this short was redone a little in the 2007 short How To Hook Up Your Home Theater? (It was meant for Goofy's High-definition TV.) There's a whole lot of hilarious gags in here too: literally barking signals, working like a well-oiled machine, and shouting faster and faster with a player's voice getting higher, the wave and steel wall of football players and the coach being nuts! I hope all of you sports fans enjoy this Goofy short, as well as us Disney fans!

From Mike :

This is a very funny short full of sight gags. I don't think you can award half a point for a kick but that's just me.

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project :

It is so nice to come back from the holidays to an old familiar friend. For me, that’s the Goofy “How To” shorts, and How To Play Football is one of my absolute favorites. Seeing a team of Goofys taking on the sport of football is a laugh riot waiting to happen, and this one delivers that in spades.

An interesting note in our world that is dominated by pro football, that this short focuses on college football. The reason for that is that it was made in 1944. During this time, baseball was the biggest sport in the land, with boxing and horse racing not far behind. Pro football was an afterthought, and the college game was looked on as a much more relevant sport.

You can see that in the order of which the “How To” shorts were done. We saw shorts on skiing, boxing, baseball, track and field and riding a horse before football came to be. That said, this short seems to poke fun at football a little more than some of the previous entries in the series. It mocks the “chaos” of the game and even has a joke where the narrator’s explanation of the rules is muffled by the cheers of the crowd, implying that the rules are less than important.

The gags come fast and furious in this one, just like the best of the old Mickey Mouse shorts. Again, all the action makes fun of the back and forth nature of football, which was very true back in those days. The similarities to rugby were much more pronounced with fewer forward passes and much more wishbone formations, which is reflected in the lineups here.

Goofy plays all the parts as usual, and the distinctive differences in the different Goofs is an amazing piece of work. Taking the exact same character design and making it different enough that each one is a distinct design is not easy. But here, the Disney animation staff shows a wily coach, a pampered star player, a brutish lineman and a silly kicker all with the same character!

In the end, the short manages to tell the story of a full game, mixed with gags while also highlighting some of the intricacies of football. That’s not easy to do. It’s a testament to the skills of the animation team that they were able to do so. I recommend How To Play Football for anyone who loves Goofy or the sport of football.

From Tom Wilkins :

This "college-style" cartoon is certainly one of the greatest Disney cartoons ever made, given its "rah-rah" attitude and its splendorous background.

It all starts with an overview on the ingredients: a college covered with ivy, a coliseum or stadium with up to 100,000 rabidly wild cheering fans, and so much more. Crowd noise prevented the narrator's voice from being audible. In reality, he says, "the object of the game is to get the ball into the opponent's end zone by air or foot. There are 11 men on either team, 2 ends...and that's how the game is played."

As the game begins, Swivel-Head Smith of Taxidermy Tech returns a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, which nobody sees because the players and cameras block the view of the play. Anthropology A&M fumbles the ensuing kickoff and Taxidermy was ready to extend the lead, especially after an 8-yard run that starts their drive. However, everything goes downhill after a delayed handoff loses 9 yards. On third and 11, several players touch the ball on a razzle-dazzle play, and as the last player touches the ball, he gets flattened by everyone on defense, but an offensive player jumps in after the play was dead and that penalized Taxidermy 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.

On 4th and 26, Taxidermy punts (thanks to the coach's smoking signal) and although the punter is tackled, his foot manages to get a high spiral off. The Anthropology player muffs the ball after being distracted by numerous flashes from cameras, and it them becomes a game of hot-potato as nobody could get the loose ball. Finally, after the ball travels 100 years, one of the Anthropology players picks up the ball for a touchdown, but the extra point was swallowed - I mean, blocked, to keep Taxidermy up 7-6.

A major blooper by the narrator states that "Anthropology A&M receives", where in reality Taxidermy received the ball and got nailed at the 25 yard line. The quarterback, on the first play rifles a pass off the fingertips of a couple of players and is intercepted by Anthropology and returned for a touchdown, with the player taking the entire grass field with him. The extra point was hanging on the crossbar (after the holder had his head stepped on by the kicker) and as the gun ended the half, the bullet pierced the football, hanging halfway still. After a decision was reached, Anthropology was credited with an unprecedented half a point, making the score 12 1/2 to 7.

After the Taxidermy cheerleaders beat up on one of their own during a cheer, the players rest up and the coach gives a pep talk, which end with "NOW GET OUT THERE AND FIGHT!!" A shortened second half ensues as Swivel-Head Smith makes some incredible moves to get himself an apparent touchdown, but his showboating is costly as he is mauled 2 yards shy of the end zone, causing injury. An unsuccessful two plays follow, then after medical people detect that Smith's heart still had life in him, the coach puts him in for one final play. After some illegal blocks by the offensive line, Smith gets the ball and weaves through the carnage left on the field, but an Anthropology player gets on his feet, and as the tension mounts, the announcer chomps on his microphone as the player leaps to make a tackle. He misses, rams the goalpost, and the goalpost rotates around to pull Smith in for the winning touchdown, giving Taxidermy the win by half a point. The coach was then tied up by everyone, thinking he belonged to a mental institution.

"How To Play Football" has 3 cuts. On 4th and 26, there is a scene before the punt that has the coach smoking a cigar and the smoke spells out "punt". Second, after the taxidermy cheer at the half, there is a spot that says "during the half the players are allowed to relax", or something of that nature. Finally, on the final play, Smith cuts back...but they leave out "the crowd is hysterical" for some reason.

Disney has destroyed a piece of what Goofy is made of by cutting these three scenes, and we are ALL at fault as a society. Can't there be an advisory label that can be shown before the cartoon that says "this cartoon may contain questionable scenes that some may consider offensive today despite the time the cartoon was made. Use good judgement and discretion while viewing this cartoon." That's all they need to do! There's enough sex and violence on the radio and TV now, editing questionable parts of cartoons does not help!