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Posted March 10, 2010
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Princeton's long and glorious history as an Ivy League gridiron power gets the full treatment in Mark Bernstein's "Princeton Football."
A pioneer in the establishment of the sport in colleges, the Tigers played the first game in 1869, against New Jersey rival Rutgers. The Tigers lost the first game but bounced back a few days later to win. Scores were called runs and the game was primarily a variation of rugby.
From nearly its earliest stages, Princeton football produced talent, several of whom were to turn down professional gridiron jobs in favor of other, successful careers.
Anyone familiar with Princeton's contributions to intercollegiate football will recognize many of the names that crop up here, among them Dick Kazmaier, Hobey Baker, Langdon Lea, Charlie Gogolak, Charles Ceppi, Johnny Poe and Edgar Jannotta.
But of even more interest to any sports fan are the photos and descriptions of the early days of football, with 15 men on the team, safeties not counting as scores, defenses designed against flying wedges, referees wearing bowler hats and teams in canvas smocks.
This is a useful contribution to the history of the sport and a sense of how the university made its mark on its way to earning 28 national championships and nine Ivy League titles.
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