1869 college football season

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The 1869 college football season was the first season of intercollegiate football in the United States. While played using improvised rules more closely resembling soccer and rugby than modern gridiron football, it is traditionally considered the inaugural college football season. The 1869 season consisted of only two games, both between Rutgers and Princeton. The first was played on November 6 at Rutgers' campus, and the second was played on November 13 at Princeton's campus. Both games were won by the home team.

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The first college football national championship was awarded retroactively to the two teams. Princeton was named the champion by the Billingsley Report and the National Championship Foundation, while college football research historian Parke H. Davis named Rutgers and Princeton co-champions. Various other ratings and retrospectives have rated the teams differently.

The two games were played with rules very different from what is currently understood as American football, and also played under home field rules that differed from each other. However, in both games, there was no running with the ball, each team included 25 players, and the ball was perfectly spherical.

First intercollegiate football game played

Modern folklore places the very first game of College football as a contest between teams from Rutgers College and the College of New Jersey, commonly known as Princeton College. [1] [2] Rutgers won the game by a score of 64. [3] This game in reality was more reminiscent of "soccer" than "football" as known today, where each team fields eleven men, the ball could be advanced by picking it up and carrying it, and play is stopped by physically knocking down the ball-carrier. The first such game of college football in the United States in this format was played between Tufts and Harvard Colleges on June 4, 1875.

Rematch

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 to 0.

Aftermath

The two schools had originally scheduled to meet three 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. [4] Other sources claim that it may have been canceled due to disagreement over what set of rules to play under. [5] 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 1869 college football national championship awarded retroactively.

Rutgers players from the first game were honored 50 years later in a ceremony at their homecoming. The last surviving member of this Rutgers team was George H. Large, who died in 1939. The last surviving member for Princeton was Robert Preston Lane, who died in 1938.

Conference standings

1869 college football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Princeton     110
Rutgers     110

See also

Related Research Articles

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Princeton Tigers football

The Princeton Tigers football program represents Princeton University and competes at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level as a member of the Ivy League. Princeton's football program—along with the football program at nearby Rutgers University—began in 1869 with a contest that is often regarded as the beginnings of American Football.

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Parke H. Davis

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1879 Navy Midshipmen football team American college football season

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The 1882 Navy Midshipmen football team represented the United States Naval Academy in the 1882 college football season. The team was the second intercollegiate football squad to represent the United States Naval Academy, and the first since 1879. The team was coached by player-coach Vaulx Carter, and was entirely student-operated. It was captained by squad member Alex Jackson. The team played just a single game, an 8 to 0 (8–0) shutout of Johns Hopkins, which was the school's first ever win. The squad was entirely student operated, and was not supported by the Naval Academy's faculty. The season would mark the beginning of eight season rivalry between the Midshipmen and Johns Hopkins.

The 1869 Princeton Tigers football team represented the College of New Jersey, more commonly known as Princeton College, in the 1869 college football season. The team finished with a 1–1 record and was retroactively named national champions by the Billingsley Report and National Championship Foundation, and as the co-national champions by Parke H. Davis. Princeton's first captain was William S. Gummere, who was 17 during the season.

The 1883 Navy Midshipmen football team represented the United States Naval Academy in the 1883 college football season. The team was the third intercollegiate football squad to represent the United States Naval Academy, and the first time the school participated in consecutive seasons. The squad was captained by member Frank Hill. The team played just a single game, a 2 to 0 (2–0) shutout loss to Johns Hopkins, which was the school's first ever loss. The squad was the first to have the approval of the academy's staff, and is regarded as the first official game played by the Midshipmen. The season continued a seven-season, eight game rivalry between the Naval Academy and Johns Hopkins.

The 1884 Navy Midshipmen football team represented the United States Naval Academy in the 1884 college football season. The team was the fourth intercollegiate football squad to represent the United States Naval Academy, and was the final time the school played a single-game season. The squad was captained by rusher Jim Kittrell. The team's single game was a 9 to 6 (9–6) defeat of rival-school Johns Hopkins. The season continued a seven-season, eight game rivalry between the Naval Academy and Johns Hopkins. It was the final season that a Naval Academy team would go unbeaten and untied.

1874 Harvard vs. McGill football game

The 1874 Harvard vs. McGill football game was a two-game series between the Harvard Crimson and the McGill Redmen held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 14 and 15, 1874.

Early history of American football

The early history of American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football and association football. Both games have their origin in varieties of football played in Britain in the mid–19th century, in which a football is kicked at a goal or run over a line, which in turn were based on the varieties of English public school football games.

The 1869 college soccer season was the fourth season of intercollegiate soccer in the United States. While played using improvised rules resembling American football and rugby, it is also considered one of the first ever college soccer seasons. The 1869 season consisted of only two total games, both of which occurred between Rutgers University and Princeton University; The first was played on November 6 at Rutgers' campus, and the second was played on November 13 at Princeton's campus. The games itself are also considered the first ever college football games.

References

  1. http://www.historyoffootball.net/
  2. "1800s". Rutgers Through The Years. Rutgers University. Archived from the original on 2007-01-20. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
  3. DeLassus, David. "Princeton Yearly Results (1869)". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  4. "Rutgers - The Birthplace of College Football: The First Intercollegiate Game - November 6, 1869" Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine at scarletknights.com, published by the Rutgers University Athletic Department. Retrieved 2014-10-4.
  5. "NO CHRISTIAN END! The Beginnings of Football in America" Archived 2014-06-11 at the Wayback Machine published by the Professional Football Research Association (no further authorship information available). Retrieved 2014-10-4.