Origins of the “Bowl” name in football

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In North America, college football teams compete in a series of post-season games called “bowls.” The term has become synonymous with post-regular season college football. Many may wonder where the term “bowl” originated and other interesting facts about football bowls.

Football’s bowls can be traced back to the early 1920s, when the collegiate football postseason would be one game. In 1923, the postseason game was moved to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It wasn’t until 10 years later that another large postseason game was held, this time in Miami, Florida. In order to capitalize on the popularity of the Rose Bowl, the Miami organizers called their game the Orange Bowl. Since then, numerous bowl games are held annually all over the country.

Prior to 2002, bowl games were not included in a player’s season-long statistics. Today there are 35 bowl games played by collegiate teams, and even a rather popular one in the National Football League for professionals. The Super Bowl is one of the world’s most popular sporting events and determines the NFL champion each year.

Other bowl games are not part of the postseason, but simply are games that promote the rivalry between two opposing teams. These include the Egg Bowl, Iron Bowl and Steel Bowl, among others.

Across North America, bowl games are very popular. Canadians also get in on the action. Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) plays two semi-final “bowl” games, including the Uteck Bowl, played by the Atlantic Division Champion and the champion from another division. The Mitchell Bowl is played at the westernmost team’s venue participating in the semifinals.