Posts Tagged ‘Rose Bowl’

The End of an Era

December 31, 2022

There was a time when there were no New Year’s Day football bowl games to watch or listen to on the radio. There weren’t even bowl-shaped stadiums to host them. In fact, what we call bowl games today weren’t called that. Records have been changed to “grandfather in” major New Year’s Day games that were played in this primordial period .

Needing a place to accommodate large crowds to its football games–the schools referred to as Ivy League today were football powers back then and attracted more spectators than just the players’ parents and alumni living locally—Yale University broke ground for a stadium with a seating capacity of 70,896 in 1913. It opened for the 1914 36-0 drubbing by rival Harvard. More than 68,000 spectators nearly filled the new stadium, named The Yale Bowl because of its bowl-like configuration.

After Washington State’s upset of Brown in 1916, the New Year’s Day contest between eastern and western powers in Pasadena became an annual event. But it didn’t have a proper home. When the game’s future seemed certain, the City of Pasadena acquired land in Arroyo Seco on which to build a football stadium. They broke ground in February 1922. Construction was completed in October of that year. The horseshoe-shaped facility was called “Tournament of Roses Stadium” or “Tournament of Roses Bowl” prior to the 1923 New Year’s game. It was then officially named “Rose Bowl” as a reference to the Yale Bowl, although it wasn’t a bowl at that time. But it would accommodate 57.000 spectators.

The first game played in the new stadium was the regular-season meeting of the University of California (Cal) and University of Southern California (USC). Cal won 12-0 but declined the invitation to defend the honor of the West on the upcoming New Year’s Day. USC, having the Cal loss as the only blemish on her record, accepted the invitation to defend against the Eastern interloper, 6-2-1 Penn State. The Nittany Lions’ head coach, Hugo Bezdek, was no stranger to Pasadena. He had taken his Oregon team to victory there in 1917 and again in 1918 when some of his old players, then preparing for combat in WWI, got him to coach their Mare Island Marines team for that game. He wasn’t so successful in 1923 because USC prevailed 14-3.

Over the years, the Rose Bowl was expanded to become a complete bowl and seating was increased to 104,594 (later reduced to 92,542). The number of bowl games (few of which were played in actual bowl stadiums) expanded over the years to 26. However, the rise of the FCS playoffs has impacted the bowl games significantly. The 2024 expansion to twelve teams in the playoffs, with the Rose Bowl probably hosting a quarter-finals game, brings an end to the Rose Bowl’s prominence.

The 2023 game ends the 100-year-long sequence of significant games, broken only by World War II, in the Rose Bowl. It is only fitting that Penn State is again the eastern contender as it was in 1923. Their head coach, James Franklin, lost his first appearance in the Rose Bowl to USC in 2017, also on January 2nd. It is a sad, but fitting, end to a great run for Penn State to bookend the birth of the stadium and the end of its glory.

The Rose Bowl under construction.
Note the horseshoe shape.

The Granddaddy of Them All Dies

December 29, 2022

Lone Star Dietz would roll over in his grave if he heard about this.

Distracted by several pressing issues, I paid scant attention to the headlines about the Rose Bowl this fall. Stumbling across an article by Pasadena-based Joe Mathews yesterday, I learned what the hubbub was about. Dietz’s Washington State warriors upset Brown in the mud on January 1, 1916, putting West Coast football on an even footing with the East, establishing the Rose Bowl as an annual event, and instituting the New Year’s Day football tradition. A major game, generally pitting an eastern challenger against a western defender, has been featured on January 1st each year since then, unless it falls on a Sunday as it does this year. In that case it is played on Monday the 2nd. Because of its historic importance, Keith Jackson called the Rose Bowl “The Granddaddy of Them All.” That old man dies Monday night at the end of the Penn State-Utah contest.

How did this happen? Mathews blames it on the perceived need to have a single national champion as lobbied for by President Obama and many others. While only four teams were involved in the playoffs, the Rose Bowl continued to be a major event. But with the playoffs expanded to twelve teams, the Rose Bowl wouldn’t likely have attracted highly ranked teams if it wasn’t part of the playoff system. Adding to the dilemma was the shift of two California schools from the Pac-12 to the B1G. The possibility of a western team, say USC, being the eastern invader becomes a distinct possibility, destroying the East-West nature of the game.

Seeing no viable alternative, the Rose Bowl has now thrown in with the NCAA championship scheme. Mathews figures future Rose Bowls will be quarter-final games. That long drop from importance brings with it a financial deficit. The Tournament of Roses will need to make that up somehow or the Rose Parade will become another tradition of the past. An era has sadly passed.

Fields of Friendly Strife

January 30, 2018

Fields of Friendly StrifeAnother book arrived in the mail this month: Fields of Friendly Strife: The Doughboys and Sailors of the WWI Rose Bowls by Timothy P. Brown. It wasn’t a book I had ordered but I was expecting it, but not necessarily in hardback. The author had a copy sent to me in appreciation of the little bit of assistance I gave him:

I also spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening with Tom Benjey, author of Keep A-goin’: The Life of Lone Star Dietz. Tom provided additional perspective on the publishing process and, since Lone Star Ditz coached the 1918 Mare Island Marines, he acted as a sounding board for some of my interpretations of the football world of 100 years ago.

That Dietz also coached the Washington State College teams of 1915-17, including the 1916 Washington State Rose Bowl team, and that many of his WSC players later played on the Mare Island teams perhaps provided me a little different perspective than some others would have. It seems that other writers are more interested in my books these days than are readers. Oh well.

Tim shared with me his preference for ebooks. I shared that my books don’t generally adapt well into ebooks because of the number of photos and illustrations they usually contain. Another, equally important, factor is that ebooks have plateaued at about 25% of the market. That means that three-quarters of books sold are printed on paper. Likely is that more than three-quarters of books of the type Tim and I write are print books because the bulk of ebooks are novels and other books having few illustrations. Books that people keep on their bookshelves for later reference are almost always of the paper variety.

A side effect of the leveling out of ebook sales is the resurgence (probably too strong a word) of independent book stores.

https://www.amazon.com/Fields-Friendly-Strife-Doughboys-Sailors-ebook/dp/B077T2RBL9

 

Lone Star Dietz Article in Indian Country Today

August 14, 2012

Yesterday’s edition of Indian Country Today includes an article by Jack McNeel on Lone Star Dietz. The headline, which probably wasn’t written by Mr. McNeel, understandably focuses on Dietz’s posthumous induction recently into the College Football Hall of Fame. But the article covers more than that. He covered as much of Dietz’s highly eventful life as space would allow.

Something I particularly like is that McNeely chose to use a photograph of Dietz with the Washington State team that isn’t widely used. It’s nice to see something you haven’t seen before. In this case, I probably saw it briefly when going through the Washington State photo archives some years ago but didn’t remember seeing it.

There are a few things in the article that need a little bit of clarification. First, Tournament of Roses wasn’t arranging its annual football game in the fall of 1915 because they had only hosted a game once before and that was back in 1902. The Washington State victory over Brown in 1916 was what established the game as an annual event and much of the credit for that goes to Lone Star Dietz for putting West Coast football on the same level as the eastern powers.

The statement, “Soon after, many college sports were suspended for World War I,” may compress the timeframe too much for readers unaware of what happened during that period. Dietz’s men lost two games in 1916 and were undefeated again in 1917 but weren’t invited to Pasadena because of the popularity of military teams. It was after the 1917 season that college sports were curtailed freeing Dietz to coach many of his former players on the Mare Island Marines team.

The phrase “Indian agent from the Sioux Nation” may be misleading and cause unfamiliar readers to think the agent was an Indian. The agent was a white man assigned to the Pine Ridge Agency, one of several reservations on which Sioux live.

“Benjey’s research indicates that Dietz’s father took the dead baby…” would more accurately be phrased, Benjey’s research indicates that Dietz’s father claimed to have taken the dead baby…. However, W. W. Deitz (he spelled his name differently that Lone Star spelled it) denied that publicly.

Here is a link to the article:

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/08/13/william-lone-star-dietz-posthumously-inducted-into-football-hall-of-fame-128617

Artichoke Played for Carlisle

April 26, 2012

I thought I’d continue with the theme of Carlisle Indians who played football in WWI by looking through the 1919 Spalding Guide for references to the Carlisle team or its players. Before starting that, I checked to make sure that I hadn’t done it before as my memory isn’t as good as it once was.  In January of this year, I did a piece about the Carlisle students whose names I wasn’t familiar with who were playing on military teams. I recollect having mentioned that, although the 1918 Spalding Guide included Carlisle’s schedule for that year, none of these games were played because the school was closed shortly before the beginning of the football season in 1918. Fortunately, some names I do recognize can be found in the 1919 book, too.

Om page 22 is the photograph of the 1918 Georgia Tech “Golden Tornado.”  Joe Guyon is #8 and John Heisman is #12.  Charles Guyon (Wahoo) isn’t in the photo.  Perhaps, Heisman got rid of him by then.  Page 188 displays headshots of players and coaches for the 1918 Mare Island Marines team. Lone Star Dietz, #3, coached this team composed mainly of his former Washington State players. So may of them were on this team that this photo was published as part of the Washington State yearbook for that year. The New Year’s Day game in Pasadena on January 1, 1919 was the second one for those who had also been on the 1915 Washington State squad that had played in Pasadena in 1916.

Page 263 includes a write up for the Base Section No. 5 team from Brest, a major port of embarkation: “On January 19, 1919, a Base foot ball squad was organized under Lieut. W. C. Collyer, former Cornell half-back.  This squad was composed of the above mentioned engineers, together with several stars gathered together from different outfits. Of these, the most prominent was Artichoke, a former Haskell and Carlisle Indian star.” Not being aware of anyone named Artichoke, I am confident that the player in question was Chauncey Archiquette, Jim Thorpe’s early idol. Unfortunately, a team photo wasn’t included to see that Artichoke was indeed Archiquette.

Was Washington Offered Rose Bowl First?

February 7, 2011

In a discussion on Amazon.com of his biography of “Gloomy” Gil Dobie, William L. Borland, states that the University of Washington was offered the opportunity to defend the honor of the West and turned it down prior to it being offered to Washington State. UW’s account differs with that told by WSC. When asked where he found the information to support the claim, Borland responded that he found it in Seattle newspapers of the day. I have seen letters on Tournament of Roses letterhead to Washington State and to Brown University confirming that they would be playing each other on January 1, 1916, but I haven’t seen anything from the Tournament to UW. Research in Tournament of Roses and UW archives will be necessary to determine the truth. However, not finding anything in either archive does not mean that documents never existed, just that the institutions didn’t save them or that someone stole them from the archives. The latter happens more often than we’d like to admit.

It will be some time before I have the opportunity to do research at either institution, so basic newspaper searches will have to do for now. I do recall that an early report out of Providence stated that Brown would be playing the University of Washington. Prior to this, I thought that a reporter was confused. A quick search of an on-line newspaper archive found a November 10, 1915 article in The Bakersfield Californian that included the following:

“The undefeated University of Washington football eleven probably will be seen in action at Pasadena New Year’s Day, according to plans learned in Los Angeles yesterday. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has invited Coach Gilmour Dobie’s aggregation to meet one of the strongest eastern varsities at Pasadena January 1, and Washington is expected to accept the offer….Faculty permission is all that is needed, according to [Graduate Manager Arthur] Younger….Pasadena may bring Michigan out for the contest with Washington. However, as Michigan has been losing steadily it is believed that another school will be selected.”

To be continued…

Lone Star Dietz on 2010 Hall of Fame Ballot

March 13, 2010

We are celebrating Dietz’s listing by giving 20% off his biography at www.Tuxedo-Press.com. To learn more about Lone Star Dietz, check out www.LoneStarDietz.com.

The National Football Foundation released this year’s ballot of candidates for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Lone Star Dietz is on the ballot again.  This year, he is joined by:

  • Barry Alverez of Wisconsin
  • Jim Carlen of South Carolina, Texas Tech and West Virginia
  • Wayne Hardin of Temple and Navy
  • Bill McCartney of Colorado
  • Billy Jack Murphy of Memphis
  • Darryl Rogers of Arizona State, Michigan State, San Jose State, Fresno State and Cal State-Hayward

It will be interesting to see if the injustice done to Lone Star will be corrected this year. It also remains to be seen if the Lone Star Curse over Washington State will ever be lifted. WSU’s last undefeated season was in 1917, Dietz’s last year in Pullman. Their last, and only, Rose Bowl victory was in 1916 when Dietz’s undefeated warriors upset Fritz Pollard and Brown to put West Coast football on the map and to establish the Rose Bowl and all the other bowl games that followed.

Bezdek NOT Only Man to Manage MLB & Coach NFL Teams

April 10, 2009

Baseball-Reference.com attributes states the following about former manager Hugo Bezdek to The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia:
“In 1937, he was hired by the NFL’s Cleveland Rams to be their head coach. This made him the only man ever to coach a NFL team and manage a MLB team. Cleveland only went 1-13 under his reign.”

HogNation.com made a similar claim. RizzoSports.com echoes that statement. Brendan Macgranachan stated it differently when writing about Bezdek: “The story of the only man to manage in the Major Leagues and coach a professional football team” on SeamHeads.com</as does his claim http://seamheads.com/blog/2008/11/29/the-legend-of-hugo-bezdek/.

They are all wrong. Not only were they wrong when they wrote, it was wrong when Bezdek coached the Rams. It was even wrong when he managed the Pirates. In the very early 1900s, the Philadelphia major league baseball teams were competing fiercely with each other, especially for players. Professional football was beginning to develop a following and, in 1902, David Berry, a football promoter from Western Pennsylvania, founded the National Football League. He succeeded in convincing both Philadelphia baseball teams to sponsor teams. The third member of the league was from Pittsburgh and may have been sponsored by that city’s big league baseball franchise. The Phillies’ manager also managed the football team but did not coach it. However, Connie Mack, the Athletics’ manager did coach the NFL team becoming the first man to manage a major league baseball team and to coach an NFL team. Hugo Bezdek did not manage the Pirates until 1918 and the Rams until 1937. Connie Mack also made his star lefthander, Rube Waddell, play on the football team, thus likely becoming the first person to play both major league baseball and pro football.

The NFL disbanded after its World Series that was played over the New Year holiday in Madison Square Garden. However, none of the three NFL teams participated. The winning team was a Syracuse squad that featured Carlisle Indians Bemus and Hawley Pierce on one side of the line and the Warner brothers, Pop and Bill, on the other.

Lone Star Dietz Belongs in Hall of Fame

March 5, 2009

The National Football Foundation released the 2009 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame and Lone Star Dietz’s name is on it again, but don’t get too excited. Lone Star Dietz should have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame decades ago but hasn’t been. In my opinion, Dietz shouldn’t need an HoF-worthy win-loss record (something he has) to gain admission to the Hall. His 1915 season culminated by the 1916 Rose Bowl in itself should be enough. He took over a Washington State team that had had a string of losing seasons and led them to the best record on the West Coast that year. As a reward, he was given the honor of defending the honor of the west in a New Year’s Day game to be played in Pasadena after the parade. At that time West Coast football was considered to be inferior to the Eastern brand. In 1899 the Carlisle Indians defeated the University of California in a Christmas Day game played in San Francisco and this was before the Indians hit their stride. A 1902 New Year’s game was played in Pasadena between Michigan and Stanford but it was a failure because Stanford threw in the towel in the second half while losing 49-0 because they could no longer field 11 players without broken bones. They waited until 1916 to give it another try.

Dietz and his team demonstrated to the entire country that West Coast football (at least Dietz’s team) was the equivalent of Eastern Football when they beat Coach Eddie Robinson’s fine Brown University team that featured Fritz Pollard. They also established the New Year’s Day football tradition, the Rose Bowl, and all the other bowls that would follow. Some Eastern sportswriters considered Washington State to be national champs that year. Dietz didn’t need to do anything more to deserve induction, but he did and did it well. Robinson and Pollard were inducted half a century ago but not Dietz. He was inducted into the Helms Foundation long ago but not the College Football Hall of Fame.

For years the HoF had incorrectly computed his win-loss record and deemed him unworthy of consideration. Their mistake was finally corrected in this century, so almost no one alive remembers him. Also, his selection would probably not result in as large a number of banquet tickets being sold as did Bowden’s and Paterno’s. Thus the HoF has little incentive to induct him.

lonestar-wyoming1

Lone Star Dietz snubbed again

May 3, 2008

Yesterday, the College Football Hall of Fame announced its induction class of 2008 and Lone Star Dietz was again not selected for induction. It also announced that it has renamed the Division I-A class to the Football Bowl Subdivision class. How ironic. If it hadn’t been for Dietz’s showmanship and coaching acumen, the Rose Bowl may have not gotten off the ground. Countless bowl games might not exist if Lone Star’s Washington State team hadn’t upset Fritz Pollard’s Brown team in 1916. Had Dietz’s team performed as had Stanford did in 1902 against Michigan, they might still be holding chariot races and donkey polo games after the Rose Parade. Instead, he showed the country that Pacific Coast football (or at least his team) was the equal of eastern powers and with that New Year’s Day football became a tradition.

But Lone Star Dietz wasn’t a one-trick pony. He turned around a number of ailing programs and still ended his career with a Hall-of-Fame worthy won-loss record. Some would think that winning over 60% of his games at previously losing institutions would be miraculous. Pundits did when they dubbed him “Miracle Man” for turning around the Haskell program. Doing what he did is a lot harder than inheriting a football dynasty and maintaining a winning record. Many of those dynasties fatten up their records on teams like the ones Dietz turned into winners.

It’s not just about the numbers; it’s also about how they got the numbers and Dietz got them the hard way.