Friday, November 05, 2004
DALLAS, Texas - Move over Columbus Day, President's Day and Groundhog Day...make room for another special holiday on the calendar - National College Football Day.
The SBC Cotton Bowl's Board of Directors has declared November 6th as a national holiday. It's our way of paying tribute to the great heritage and tradition of college football, of which the Cotton Bowl has been a part for 69 years.
Why November 6th?
Well, it was on that date, way back in 1869, that Rutgers and Princeton squared off in a contest that was destined to become an American institution.
Nearly 100 spectators gathered around an empty field in New Brunswick, N.J., to witness a sporting event unlike anything ever seen before. The competition between Rutgers and Princeton was "replete with surprise, strategy, prodigies of determination and physical prowess," to quote the words of one player who participated in that first gridiron skirmish.
Rutgers' Scarlet Knights defeated Princeton that afternoon, 6-4. However, more importantly, those college athletes left a lasting legacy that would evolve into the spectacle we know today as the game of football.
"We wanted to do something special by designating a date and time when we could salute a sport that we all love so much," said Gayle M. Earls, Chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. "Football has given Americans from all walks of life so much pleasure and excitement through the years. We felt it was time to step up and begin a celebration, even if we were the only ones commemorating this important event in our nation's history."
To commemorate college football's 135th birthday, the SBC Cotton Bowl produced limited edition lapel pins and mailed them during the last week of October to hundreds of coaches, athletic directors, university presidents, sports publicists and media throughout the United States.
"We asked our colleagues around the country to wear this lapel pin at their games on November 6," said Earls. "That generated a lot of media attention and got our campaign off and running by adding to the festive atmosphere on college campuses."
Will this become a holiday all of America will observe?
"Who knows," said Earls. "But, I can assure you of one thing, around the offices of the SBC Cotton Bowl, we will all be donning party hats and displaying our lapel pins with pride every year on the first Saturday of November!"