Down and out in New Jersey

By Walters, John | Newsweek, January 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

Down and out in New Jersey


Walters, John, Newsweek


Byline: John Walters

The First Game New Brunswick

On November 6, 1869, The College of New Jersey, later renamed Princeton, sends 25 male students to face Rutgers in the first intercollegiate football game. The Rutgers student periodical, The Targum, reports that Princeton's first goal was scored "by a gentleman whose name we don't know." Rutgers wins 6-4, but not before an exasperated - and prescient? - professor waves his umbrella at the players and shrieks, "You will come to no Christian end!"

The First All-Americans Princeton

The year is 1889 and 10-0 Princeton places four players, including quarterback Edgar Allan Poe (the writer's cousin) on the inaugural college football All-America team. Other Tigers named are fullback Knowlton "Snake" Ames, who sets an unofficial record with 62 touchdowns, tackle Hector Cowan, and halfback Roscoe Channing, who will later serve with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War.

Robeson Sits New Brunswick

On October 14, 1916, Rutgers hosts Washington & Lee, which refuses to play unless the home team sits the "Negro" on its roster. Rutgers complies this time, but never again. The player, Paul Robeson, will go on to become the first African-American to make Walter Camp's All-American team, doing so in both 1917 and 1918. He will then go on to be a world-renowned actor and singer.

First NFL Team Orange

On September 29, 1929, the Orange Tornadoes, the original New Jersey-based NFL franchise, make their debut vs. the New York Giants. The game ends in a 0-0 tie. The Tornadoes will move to Newark for the 1930 season and then out of the league altogether.

Winged Helmet Makes Its Debut Princeton

In 1935, Tiger coach Fritz Crisler orders leather helmets bearing a distinctive painted wing design for his team. Princeton finishes 10-0 and quarterback Pepper Constable finishes fourth in the first Heisman Trophy balloting. Three years later, Crisler takes the job at Michigan, where he will introduce that helmet design to much greater acclaim.

Coaching Colossus Collision Englewood

In its final game of the 1943 season, undefeated St. Cecilia High School, led by a brusque 30-year-old coach named Vince Lombardi, meets Brooklyn Prep, whose quarterback is a wiry youth named Joseph Paterno (the game program misidentifies him as "Taterno"). St. Cecilia wins and is proclaimed the top high school team in the nation.

Giannantonio's Record Day Netcong

In November 1950, Netcong High School's John Giannantonio, wearing a leather helmet with no facemask, gallops for a national high school-record 754 yards against Mountain Lakes. The 137-pound sophomore scores nine touchdowns in the 61-0 win.

Kazmaier's Mastery Princeton

On November 24, 1951, quarterback Dick Kazmaier leads the Tigers to a 13-0 defeat of Dartmouth, the finishing touch on a second consecutive 9-0 season. …

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