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QUEENS, CROWDS & FOOTBALL
Martin Kane
December 27, 1954
A special preview of the Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange Bowls—complete with scouting reports—points to carnival atmosphere and overflow scenes as well as rousing football on New Year's Day
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December 27, 1954

Queens, Crowds & Football

A special preview of the Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange Bowls—complete with scouting reports—points to carnival atmosphere and overflow scenes as well as rousing football on New Year's Day

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Presumably it's the festive atmosphere almost as much as football which draws such money. The most festive of all the Bowls is the Tournament of Roses, where it sometimes gets a mite chilly but the roses bloom anyhow. As a matter of fact, the best teams in the land don't necessarily oppose each other in the Bowl games. The only Bowl game with two teams from the Associated Press's top ten will be at New Orleans between Navy (No. 5) and Mississippi (No. 6).

The most venerable and wealthiest of the Bowl games is at Pasadena. The Tournament of Roses parade, five miles long, takes two hours to pass a given TV camera. This idea of a floral parade goes back to 1889, and the first football game in connection with the Tournament, which was wont to feature chariot races, was in 1902 when Fielding (Hurry-up) Yost's point-a-minute University of Michigan team creamed Stanford 49 to 0. The Tournament thereupon went back to chariot races until 1916, the year Edwin Gaffney, Los Angeles stock broker, began to function as the most persistent of all Rose Bowl game spectators. Mr. Gaffney, claiming to have attended all Bowl games, tends to denounce historians who list that 1902 affair as a Rose Bowl game. He says anyhow the 1902 game was not finished because Stanford ran out of substitutes.

Gaffney has helped out, so to speak, at some of the games. In 1924 he was told to mark off the yard lines with lime. He ran out of lime near the goal line and substituted some Old Dutch Cleanser he found in the locker room. The game ended in a 14-14 tie between Washington and Navy, and Gaffney feels he saved the day for Washington. On a crucial play a Navy lineman inhaled some of the cleanser, sneezed and fell offside. The penalty, Gaffney says, cost Navy a touchdown.

The game was moved to Durham, N.C. in 1942 because of the threat of a Japanese attack on the West Coast. Gaffney went to the Rose Bowl anyway. He sat alone on the 50-yard line with a portable radio and claims to have been the smallest Bowl-game crowd ever.

Gaffney won't be lonely in the Rose Bowl on this New Year's Day. The traffic procession to the game will start jamming the streets of Pasadena well before Pacific noon. And just before kick-off time Gaffney, settled in the stands once more, with his USC banner, his field glasses and his patient, understanding wife, will be joined by the tens of millions who will be watching on TV. Perhaps they will see another Roy Riegels run the wrong way or a Tom Lewis spring from the bench to make a rousingly illegal tackle. Whatever they see, they will be participants in the great Feast Day of Football, the Mardi Gras before the annual nine-months famine.

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