January 1

1902rosebowl

1902 First Rose Bowl Football Game

In the very first Tournament of Roses football game, undefeated Michigan (10-0) met a Stanford team with a record of 3-1-2. The result was a massacre. Going into the match, Michigan had scored 501 points; their opponents had scored none. Stanford would fare no better, losing 49-0 and requesting that the game be mercifully ended with over 8 minutes left on the clock. The game was so lopsided that for the next 13 years, the Tournament of Roses officials ran chariot races, ostrich races, and other various events instead of football.

Rules of the time included the following quirks:

  • The playing field was 110 yards long
  • Touchdowns counted five points, field goals five, and conversions one
  • The game was divided into two thirty-minute halves
  • A team had to make five yards in three downs to make a first down
  • Forward passes were not allowed
  • Substitutions were used infrequently as 11 men usually played the entire game

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