Ivy League Football Firsts

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Ivy League Football Firsts

Modern day college and professional football owes quite a bit to the Ivy League, as it forged the modern game and many of its nuances back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Early players played with up to 30 on a side and had little-to-no padding other than thick wool sweaters, stockings, and perhaps a cap. There were no complaints about concussions, either. Most on-field injuries from rough play included broken limbs and attempted drownings. Violence in the sport almost caused it to be banned.

The Big 3—Yale, Princeton, and Harvard (yes, in that order—sorry Crimson fans)—led the way (sometimes kicking and screaming) when they often changed the rules midway through and refused to play if they did not get their way.

That was the way of the early game. But where did it all begin? What accomplishments have been made? What things in today's game do we take for granted that the Ancient Eight invented?

This is a mere sampling of innovations and milestones that the schools, which would eventually be called "Ivy League," contributed to the game of American football. Enjoy the trip back down an Ivy covered memory lane.

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