History of the Rose Bowl Game

The first Tournament of Roses football game, which was the first post-season football game in the nation, was staged at Tournament Park on January 1, 1902. The game matched the West Coast’s Stanford against Midwestern Michigan. (The teams would later become members of today’s Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences, respectively.) Michigan routed Stanford, 49-0, prompting the football contest to be replaced with Roman-style chariot races inspired by the literary classic Ben-Hur. Football was permanently reinstated as part of the Tournament’s traditions in 1916.

Rose Bowl Game 1920
Rose Bowl Game 1920

The exclusive agreement among the Tournament of Roses Association, the Big Ten Conference and the Pac-12 Conference was born in 1946, and the first game played under the agreement took place on January 1, 1947. The pact is the oldest intercollegiate postseason bowl agreement between two major conferences in the United States.

This collegiate classic has been the occasion of many firsts. The Rose Bowl Game was the occasion of first local radio broadcast of an East-West bowl game in 1926, the first transcontinental radio broadcast of a sporting event in 1927, the first local telecast of a college football game in 1948, the first national telecast of a college football game in 1952 and the first coast-to-coast color telecast of a collegiate football game in 1962.

More Tournament of Roses History

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