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.
November 16, 1869
College of New Jersey (Princeton) vs. Rutgers at College Field New Brunswick, NJ. Rutgers wins 6-4.
1889 Assembled and selected by Casper Whitney (and possibly Walter Camp)
End Amos Alonzo Stagg, Yale (pictured)
Guard Pudge Heffelfinger, Yale
Guard John Cranston, Harvard
Fullback Knowlton Ames, Princeton
Tackle Hec Cowan, Princeton
Quarterback Edgar Allen Poe, Princeton
End Arthur Cumnock, Harvard
Halfback Roscoe Channing, Princeton
Tackle Charles Gill, Yale
Center William George, Princeton
Halfback James Lee, Harvard
Completed in 1903, seats 30,000 fans.
November 12, 1892
Former Yale All-American guard William (Pudge) Heffelfinger was paid $500 by the Allegheny Athletic Association (AAA).
Brown's Fritz Pollard
Fritz Pollard from Brown University, 1920
Played for the Akron Pros as a RB and led them to the NFL (APFA) championship that year.
Fritz Pollard from Brown University, 1921
Coached the Akron Pros as a player coach.
University of Pennsylvania, 1950 Season
All home games were broadcast on ABC (Penn was almost expelled from the NCAA).