The Harvard Crimson
Besides being an excuse to party for 24 hours straight, there’s a little more to Harvard-Yale. As the 138th annual Harvard-Yale Game approaches (and the first time it’s been played at Harvard in six years!), let’s take a journey through the ages to rediscover the history of “The Game” and go to bottom of things. weird turn of events that kind of ends with you drinking your Truly and freezing your ass over the weekend.
As one of the oldest ongoing college football rivalries in the United States (second only to Lafayette/Lehigh), The Game never fails to lure Harvard and Yale alumni back to their old stomping grounds to relive the good old times. Harvard-Yale is the final game of the football season for Harvard and Yale, fueling the rivalry with what is the most anticipated game of the season (i.e. the only day we turn into Harvard State ).
Going back, the first game was played on November 13, 1875 at Hamilton Park in New Haven. About 2,500 fans stopped by to watch the first game, and tickets sold for just 50 cents (unlike the $200 tickets returned on every rn #yikes mailing list). Apparently Yale promised to pay Harvard $75 to play the game (lol Yale, you had to pay us to play you??). The rules of the game were adapted from football and rugby, and each team played with fifteen players (for perspective, that’s about 1/7 the size of Harvard’s football team today). Harvard won 4-0, but don’t get too excited because it would be Harvard’s last win in eleven years #rip.
The best part is that after the game, seven Harvard students were arrested in New Haven on charges of “screaming and screaming in the streets”. Each student was fined $5.29, which equates to about $114 today, or 12 whole burritos at Jefe.
Then, in 1876, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia founded the Intercollegiate Football Association and adopted new rules. The shape of the ball also changed from round to oval.
The Intercollegiate Football Association was dissolved in 1894, the same year the “Springfield Massacre” or “Hampden Blood Bath” took place. This game was named for the violence that broke out between the schools; nine Harvard and Yale football players were taken out of the game, either due to injury or a fight with the opposing team. Both schools blamed the other for the violence and did not play each other again until 1897 (Harvard banned football as a whole). Although our rivalry isn’t all about blows and blows anymore… at least I hope… Yale better be ready for us to wipe it off nicely this year.
In 1898, the term “The Game” was coined and still lives on today. Former Harvard football captain AF Holden wrote in a letter that the match-up makes “the Yale-Harvard game the game of the season,” giving Harvard and Yale students an annual excuse to hound and posting Instagram stories captioned “biiiiig football school #yuck”.
Currently, Yale leads all time with 67-61. We’ll let the Yalies enjoy it while it lasts as we’re confident this year will change it to 67-62 #rollcrim.