The First Alabama-Auburn Game! The Great Rivalry is Born, 1893

January 11, 1893, Monday – Birmingham Weekly


Auburn and Tuskaloosa to Meet in the Arena


On the Birthday of the Great and Good George Washington

Auburn, Jan. 6.— (Special Correspondence.) —The great foot ball match to be played between Auburn and Tuskaloosa, on February 22, is all the talk now in athletic circles here. Enthusiasm runs high and there is a fixed determination to down the university boys. The strength of the “varsity” eleven is not underrated, but they will certainly have a lively tilt for the wreath of laurel.

The combatants are worthy foes—Greek meets Greek. Worthy sons of Alabama meet other worthy sons to re-enact the days of the Olympic Games of Greece, or when the young Roman, stripped and oiled, heaved the discus in rivalry with his fellows.

So far the Tuskaloosa team is an unknown quantity in the foot ball arena. This is their first year, but report comes of excellent practice games and the Auburn boys are bracing for a heavy fight. Forewarned, forearmed.

Last year the Auburn team won a brilliant battle from the University of Georgia team in Atlanta. The scene was inspiring. All Georgia, as it were, had its heart set on the university. The affair became one of the leading society events. The old alumni, gray headed statesmen, mature matrons and lovely girls, all came in multitudes. A more brilliant assemblage has never witnessed an athletic contest in the south. The score stood 10 to 0 in favor of Auburn, and it goes without saying the Auburn boys enjoyed their spoils.

This year the Auburn team has played three games, losing two. As to these two defeats, it may be said, that it was absolutely impossible to do anything with the North Carolina team. They are descendants of Goliath. There is not a team in the south that they will not bowl down like ten pins. Indeed they have done it, and are the champions of the south. The game with Trinity was brilliant while Auburn defeated the “Techs” with a much heavier score (26 to 0) than did Vanderbilt. So Birmingham will see a lively tussle on the 22d of February.

All New York goes out on Thanksgiving day to see Princeton and Yale pursue the flying sphere across the checkered field. All Birmingham will go to see Auburn and Tuskaloosa on the anniversary of great and good George Washington’s birthday. The immortal hero, indeed, may be forgotten in the exhilarating, contagious fun of the generous contest between the brawn and muscle of the sister institutions.

As a matter of fact, the Magic City will witness a contest that for pluck and dash, excitement, rare and glorious pleasure, is altogether unequalled by aught that has yet come within her borders.

A few of her citizens have already seen something this fall of foot ball; but beyond doubt, the impending contest will eclipse all previous exhibitions. Tuskaloosa boys will be there. Auburn boys will surely be there; and the encircling hills of old Jefferson will ring with such shouts as have never been heard before.

It is sincerely to be hoped that the public spirited citizens of Birmingham, (the progressive spirits, indeed, of our commonwealth) will rally to the patronage of this, the first effort at intercollegiate foot ball in the state.

The game is generally unknown. But once understood it will come to stay. It is a manly game, and recommends itself to every lover of outdoor sports.

Nothing is better for the physical development of the boy than the training preparatory for a contest. Regular diet, according to the most scientific principles of physiology; regular hours; total abstinence from all tobacco, and from all alcoholic beverages—these are only a few of the good points that commend the game from the standpoint of morals and health.

Then, the game itself is a splendid mental discipline. A fool cannot play successful football. Mere fat does not count. Skill, coolness, pluck, endurance, and all those qualities that are necessary for the real battle of life come into play on the foot ball ground.

Let us have foot ball. Away with the fossiliferous idea that men must stalk about in a staid, solemn, stilted, “Sir Oracle” fashion in order to play at being learned and wise. A sound mind in a sound body is the old reliable maxim, and in these days of increasing competition the sounder one’s body the more probable one’s success. From time immemorial the foot ball field has been the great nursery of health and vigor in the English public schools. Wellington is said to have learned to fight Waterloo on the ball fields of Eton.

And as a matter of fun, foot ball is “par excellence.” It can’t be beat. All Birmingham, of course, knows base ball. Base ball is child’s play to foot ball. Instead of one or two men batting and running, imagine twenty-two stout, knotted frames struggling, swaying, pushing, pulling at one great leather ball with all the vim and fury of twenty-two tigers. The excitement is hair-raising, nerve-thrilling, side-splitting—in a word, magnificent.

On with foot ball! Let us all be there, and give the great sport such a reception as will insure its permanent establishment in our state.

From “The Lost Century of American

[Spelling of “Tuskaloosa” is from the original publication.]


Thanksgiving Football in 1878, articles from The New York World

November 11, 1878, Monday – The World: New York


    The three victories won last Saturday by Harvard at Cambridge, Yale at New Haven, and Princeton at Philadelphia, merely strengthens the belief produced by their previous successes of the season, that the real struggle for the foot-ball championship is confined to the teams of the oldest and largest colleges. The earlier matches played by these, with the teams picked from the smaller bodies of collegians, are largely in the nature of practice games preparatory to the three decisive contests with one another.

    As the Yale faculty consented last Wednesday to allow the players of that college to leave New Haven on the days required by Harvard and Princeton, nothing but good weather seems now wanting to insure a series of interesting matches.

    The Princeton men will go to Boston next Saturday and the Yale men on the Saturday following, to play with Harvard, and if the visitors should both be successful, the closing match at Hoboken on Thanksgiving Day will have all the charm which belongs to the combination of a championship contest. If Harvard wins both the Boston games the final meeting between the two defeated teams will at least be an exciting struggle for the second place. In any event, therefore, metropolitan lovers of sport will have an opportunity to amuse themselves on Thanksgiving Day.

December 16, 1878, Monday – The World: New York


    The rapid growth in the popularity of foot-ball has been a noteworthy characteristic of the undergraduate athletics of the past three years, and the present season in particular has seen a great advance made at the several colleges towards attaining uniformity in the practice of the pastime.

    Though the three oldest and largest ones have exhibited the strongest teams, and though the “championship” has been gained by the college where the game has longest had a prominent position in the calendar of sports, the “new men” nevertheless feel greatly encouraged by the general result of the intercollegiate meetings, for they have pretty generally done themselves credit and pushed the victors to do their very best as a condition of success. Nearly all the matches have shown excellent playing on both sides, and the contests have been much closer than a mere record of the scores would indicate. Next autumn, undoubtedly, the sport will be more vigorously engaged in than ever before.

    Spite of the disagreements which were developed early in the season, both in respect to the numbers which ought to belong to each team and in respect to the dates of the games, the contests of Harvard, Yale and Princeton for the championship were characterized by an unusual amount of good nature, and the final result has been accepted pleasantly by every one.

    The Princetonian of December 5 says: “On Thanksgiving Day our splendid team won the last of the long series of victories with which the past few weeks have been crowded, and gained the championship to which a long season of hard and unremitted practice had fully entitled them. Though our victory was a very decided one, the Yale team certainly proved themselves gallant antagonists. They played strongly and, at times, skillfully. Their comparative weakness lay in lack of skill not in want of strength. While our men were quite their matches in point of strength, they were more than matches in point of skill, passing the ball more surely and supporting each other more carefully….”

From The Lost Century of American Football and The First Decade of College Football

Exciting Stanford Football Game 117 Years Ago

November 12, 1894, Monday – Sacramento Daily Record-Union


It Was “Hot Stuff” From the Start to Finish

The Stanford Students Won, But They Discovered They Were in a Game

The best football game that has ever been played in this city, and one of the hardest contests that has taken place on this coast, was witnessed at Snowflake Park on Saturday by about 500 people.

The Stanford University team and the Sacramentos were the opposing elevens, and the stubborn fight made by the latter team was a source of surprise to everybody present.
Victory rested with the Stanfords, but the Sacramento boys have reason to feel justly proud of their work against a team which has for a long time enjoyed the advantage of Walter Camp’s coaching.

Had Oscar Taylor, the great ex-Berkeley team player, arrived in Sacramento a week sooner than he did, it is more than likely that the score of yesterday’s game would have been very different, and favorable to Sacramento.

Those who attended the game were greatly surprised at the work of the team which appeared on the field to represent this city. The majority of people half expected to see a contest similar to that played when the Berkeley team appeared here two years ago. The score at that time was something like 32 to 4, but yesterday’s game was an entirely different affair. It was the unanimous opinion of those present who understood football that the home team, with good coaching, can be made a working foe for any of the ’Varsity elevens…

The Stanford men expected a very easy thing, and after the game very frankly admitted that they never wanted to play a harder game. The score was 6 to 0 in their favor…

From “The Lost Century of American

Harvard vs Yale Football 136 Years Ago, Rules of the Game

November 13, 1875, Saturday – The Boston Daily Globe


The Harvard foot-ball team of fifteen men left for New Haven yesterday to play the Yales today. As a special reduction of railroad fares had been effected, quite a number of Harvard men accompanied the team. They will be the guests of the Yales at the New Haven House and will return home early tomorrow morning.

The team is composed of the following persons: Morse, ’74; Faucon, ’75; Bacon andHull, ’76, Cate, Seamans, Curtis, Cushing, Keyes,Leeds, Tower and Herrick, ’77; Thayer and Wetherbee, ’78; and Blanchard, ’79. Owing to an injury received last spring and aggravated this fall, Mr. Whiting will not play, but will accompany the team and probably act as umpire.

Concessionary rules have been adopted which make the game neither Rugby, Harvard, nor Yale. There are to be no “have it downs,” no “touch-downs,” no distinction between a “drop” and a “punt kick.” Any kind of a kick over the pole is a goal.

Captain Whiting has kept his men in good practice since the games with Tufts and Montreal, and the Yales have long been contemplating this game, some fine sport may be expected.

From “The Lost Century of American Football” –

College Football Riot 170 Years Ago, Rowdy Students in 1841

November 24, 1841, Wednesday – The Experimenter, Norwalk, Ohio


The Students of Old Yale have been creating a disturbance of a very serious character and have disgraced themselves by an outrage upon public property which is attended with public danger, and at the same time unjustifiable and infamous in its character.

It appears that on Saturday last the fire department of that city turned out with their eight engines for inspection and review. An attempt was made to try the power of the machines upon the Central Church, for which purpose it was necessary to lay two trains of hose across the upper Green, but the students, who were engaged playing foot ball upon the Green, determined that the hose should not be laid across the Green, and in the face of the public authorities who had assembled to witness the performance, successfully kept possession of the Green, and drove off the department.

But the quarrel did not end here. Soon after 12 o’clock on Sunday night, a gang of students in disguise, made a rush upon the engine house, and almost entirely demolished a beautiful machine, called the Washington, which was entirely new, and ornamented with a beautiful portrait of the Father of his country. About 200 feet of hose were also deliberately cut and destroyed.

While this was going on, the city watch rallied, but were assailed with brickbats and so overpowered by numbers that their services were inefficient, and it was not until the alarm bells were rung and the citizens began to turn out, that the rioters dispersed.

The College Faculty view these circumstances with deep regret, and have come promptly forward and offered to repair all damages, and will exercise all the means in their power to prevent a repetition of such offenses.

From “The Lost Century of American Football

“Football of Today” 119 Years Ago, Nov. 7, 1892

November 7, 1892, MondayThe Herald: Syracuse, New York


Development of the Game Into a Strategic Battle


Mind of More Account Than Matter, but Both Play Their Part in Modern Football

If the weather is at all pleasant next Wednesday it is quite probable that a large majority of the 5,000 people who have been sent invitations will go down to Star park to witness the game of foot ball between the Syracuse Athletic Association and the Syracuse University teams.

Although foot ball as it is played to-day is after a careful comparison with other out door sports conceded to be the brainiest and manliest of them all comparatively few people have been able to master the mysteries of the game for the simple reason that if one is unfamiliar with the rules and reasons of play and the scientific variations which a crafty captain will signal to his team under varying conditions, it all looks like a shoving match between eleven men with an occasional run or kick to relieve the monotony.

But when once the spectator is able to put himself mentally in the place of the captain and reason why this or that play is feasible, whether one man or another should at such a time choose to hurl himself through the opposing eleven or try to run around them, the game becomes as interesting as a strategic battle between two armies. It becomes not an individual “scrapping” match between eleven men to advance the ball to one goal or the other, but a battle of brains between two captains, backed by the brawn and instant obedience of the team as a whole.

There was a day when individual playing was much thought of. Now-a-days team work is what wins, unless the disparity in weight is so great as to utterly demolish an opposing line.

The game of to-day as it is played in Syracuse is by no means the game that was played last year or the year before. Fastidious folk who were shocked by accounts of fistic encounters that went by the name of foot ball games will see nothing of the sort in the games that are played at Star park this season.

So far there has not been a single “slugging” match and games are conducted in scientific and gentlemanly fashion.

To be sure, the game is rough, but then it must be remembered that the players are all in the finest muscular trim by long and severe training and by the most exemplary habits of living, and that they are protected from injury by heavily padded jackets and pants, and by nose and shin guards and rubber bands.

From “The Lost Century of American Football

Carlisle Native American Football Team 114 Years Ago

November 4, 1897




The strength, spirit, and enthusiasm of the play of the famous Indian foot-ball team from the school at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is the most interesting feature to-day in the foot-ball world. Their condition is so amazing that they play from beginning to end without appreciable loss of strength. Almost without armor, they move with a dash and quickness unequaled by any of their opponents. When the university men call time, so as to patch up wounds, take refreshments, and catch breath, the Indians throw handsprings and turn somersaults.

In this picture Mr. W. T. Bull, formerly a noted full-back at Yale, is teaching the backs of the Indian team how they should plunge through the line when an opening has been made between centre and guard. The group in the background of the picture is composed of players and substitutes taking note of the lesson. These Indians have learned all of the old university tricks and have others invented for them by Mr. Bull. There is little doubt that they can beat all the teams in the country except those of Princeton, Yale, Harvard, and Pennsylvania, and possibly Cornell.

From “The Lost Century of American Football