Thursday, February 9, 2012

Trivia: What Famous Sporting Event Took Place in New Jersey?

Rutgers' Knights
From "State Shapes New Jersey" by McHugh & Schrier (2010): The 1st intercollegiate football game ever. It was played in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton. Princeton won. Richard Peterson corrected me about who won 1st game. From Wikipedia: "In what some regard as the very first game ever played of intercollegiate football, a contest was held between teams from Rutgers College (now Rutgers University) and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). The 1869 game between the two schools is important in that it is the first documented game of intercollegiate game called football between two American colleges. The game was undoubtedly different from what we today know as American football, as there was no running with the ball, each team included 25 players, and the ball was perfectly spherical. (The first game which included running with the ball, 11-man sides, and oval-shaped ball, and tackling to end a play occurred on 4 June 1875 between Harvard University and Tufts University.) Rutgers won the game by a score of 6-4. A rematch was played at Princeton a week later under Princeton rules. One of the biggest differences in rules was the awarding of a "free kick" to any player that caught the ball on the fly. This rule seriously affected the speed advantage of Rutgers that had allowed them to win the first contest. Princeton won the second game by a score of 8-0. The two schools had originally scheduled to meet 3 times in 1869, but the third 1869 game never took place, reportedly because of the officials at both programs who complained about more emphasis being put on the contests rather than academics and studying. Other sources claim that it may have been canceled due to disagreement over what set of rules to play under. Due to each team winning one game, the inaugural football "season" ended with Princeton and Rutgers each tied at 1-1, and therefore each received a partial share of the college football national championship awarded (retroactively) for the 1869 season."

Princeton's Tigers

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