While Michigan and Ohio State have had their fun since 1897, and that “Big Game” out there in California has also been around for awhile, when it comes to talking about historic college football rivalries, there’s only one whose yearly matchup is know as simply “The Game.”
Starting way back in 1875 when football was scarcely distinguishable from rugby, “The Game” has witnessed the birth of ticket scalping, the dedication of the Yale Bowl, several showdowns between unbeaten teams, and perhaps the greatest expression of football madness ever put down to memory. That would be when Yale coach T.A.D. Jones told his squad before the 1916 kickoff, “Gentlemen, you are now going to play football against Harvard. Never again in your whole life will you do anything so important.” Less than two years later, many of these players were playing trench warfare for real on the battlefields of Europe, but in 1916 those Bulldog players likely nodded their heads in all solemnity. They take their football seriously in New Haven.
Going into the 1948 showdown in Cambridge, it wasn’t shaping up to be like 1891 when entering The Game the two teams had outscored their opponents by a combined 1,047 to 16,. And it wasn’t going to be like that famous “Harvard Beats Yale, 29 to 29” contest in 1968. But, it did have what was the most spectacularly derisive program cover ever produced by a Harvard cover artist, with the Yalies’ mascot depicted as baying at the moon in counterpoint to the harmonious chorus of a beet-faced Crimson alumni quartet. And for Harvard fans, it also featured a fourth quarter rally that produced a 20 to 7 win and snapped a seven-year drought.
Over the coming months we’ll show you other memorable covers of “The Game,” but from a standpoint of sheer lampooning, it would be hard to top this one.
Click here to buy a poster of this program cover.