Interesting Football Stories – I

Michigan went 30-2-1 from 1972 to 1974 and didn't play in a bowl game. The Big Ten sent only its champion to the Rose Bowl in those days.

The Iron Bowl is one of college football's most heated rivalries. Yet Alabama and Auburn did not play each other for 41 years (1908-1947) because of disputes about per diem for the visiting team and which officials to use. Finally, in 1948 the two college presidents decided the series should be renewed and played in the largest stadium in the state, 44,000-seat Legion Field in Birmingham. It stayed there until 1989 when the Tide finally came to Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Plainsmen/Tigers/War Eagles won 30-20.

Minnesota has gone the longest of any Big Ten team since their last Rose Bowl appearance (1961 season). The Gophers have not won even a share of the championship since 1967.

In 1940, an Ivy League contest between Dartmouth and Cornell ended when Cornell completed the game-winning touchdown pass on a mistaken fifth down. After officials reviewed game film and discovered their error, Cornell forfeited the game to Dartmouth. The game is therefore regarded as a 3-0 Dartmouth victory, instead of a 7-3 Cornell triumph. Watch an excellent video clip about this game on YouTube.

You probably know that Oklahoma has the longest winning streak in NCAA football history, 47 games (1953-7). But which team holds the record for most consecutive losses? The answer is Northwestern with 34 straight L's from 1979 to 1982.

Interesting fact: Returning two punts for touchdowns in one game is rare in both college and pro football. In 1951, Jack Christiansen of the Detroit Lions accomplished this feat twice in one season. Furthermore, he was a rookie out of Colorado State that year. He scored on returns of 69 and 47 yards against the Los Angeles Rams and then 71 and 89 yard gallops against the Green Bay Packers. Jack is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, primarily for his career as a defensive back.

When the Detroit Lions traded QB Bobby Layne to the hapless Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958, Layne responded by saying the Lions "would not win for 50 years." After the 2013 season, Layne's curse still holds. He led Detroit to three NFL championships, three Western Division championships, and one second place finish.

According to, the football penalty flag was created by Youngstown State coach Dwight Beede and first used in a game against Oklahoma City University on October 17, 1941 in Youngstown. Before this, officials used horns and whistles to signal a penalty. This made it difficult for fans to know there was an infraction because they could not hear the signal. The penalty flag was officially adopted at the 1948 American Football Coaches rules session. The NFL first used it on September 17, 1948, in a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Boston Yanks.

Notre Dame and Navy have met 82 times on the gridiron – annually since 1927. The Fighting Irish hold a 70-10-1 "edge." The Irish won 43 straight times, the longest streak in college football, until Navy prevailed in 2007. The previous Midshipmen victory was 1963 when they were led by Heisman Trophy winning QB Roger Staubach, 35-14. In 1963, neither school admitted female students.

In November 1899, the football team of the University of the South, an Episcopal school commonly called "Sewanee" for its location in Tennessee, went on a grueling road trip. The Tigers played five games in six days against Texas, Texas A&M, Tulane, LSU, and Ole Miss. Incredibly, the Tigers won all five games by a combined score of 91-0! Earlier that season, Sewanee had beaten Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee. After the grueling road trip, the "Iron Men" defeated Auburn, which was the only team to score on them (11-10), and North Carolina. Sewanee rightfully declared itself Southern Football Champions of 1899. The school became a charter member of the SEC in 1933 but lasted only until 1940.


Football Stories – II

Football Stories – III

Football Stories – IV

Football Stories – V

Football Stories – VI

Football Stories – VII

Football Stories – VIII

Football Stories – IX

Football Stories – X


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