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Friday, November 22, 2013


Michigan is all done winning football games in 2013, but that doesn't mean Wolverine fans can't enjoy another fine trip down memory lane. If you know someone who roots for UM, take note of this date, as it may provide solace while their current season swirls down the drain.

It was on this date in 1884 that the University of Michigan Rugby Team defeated the Chicago University Club, racking up one of those bazillion so-called football victories that you see written up on blue and yellow t-shirts. (Many decades after the game, they renamed the sport "football" in order to jack-up their all-time wins totals for marketing purposes.)

This was a huge event, drawing some 200 people according to The Chronicle, a weekly newspaper of that era:
Michigan played its second and final game of the season, an 18–10 victory over a Chicago city team reportedly "composed of business men." The Chronicle reported that the Chicago city team was "made up almost wholly of Englishmen who learned to kick shins at the English public schools."
The UM team scored almost immediately, then paused to explain the rules of the game to their opponent. After the game, the Chicago team complained about the uneven field conditions, pointing out that the home team was obviously accustomed to them. Gosh, some things never change!

A touchdown was worth four points, while a field-goal was worth six points. There was no forward passing and it was illegal to tackle below the waist. Nevertheless, every time you see an "all-time wins total" for Michigan Football, it includes this game.

So if you see a Wolverine fan looking glum after what happens in Iowa City tomorrow, why don't you try to cheer them up with a reminder that only 127 years ago, they took down a collection of English businessmen on a crooked field who had never played by UM rules before. And by Michigan standards, that's just as good as beating Ohio State.

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  1. At first blush, it appears that the posts in the "This Date in chUMp History" series would qualify for the "Satire" category that I enjoy reading from SpartanMan82. The thing is, these accounts are entirely true. They only sound like satire, but are not at all satire. LOL!

  2. "This Date in ChUMp History" is a stand-out series. Well done.

    One thing I find amusing is the nature of the team photographs depicting the "tough-as-nails" U of M squads from their proud, early days (click on the link in the article and you'll be able to navigate to other team photos from other seasons). What says "smash-mouth football" more than leaning into another man's inner thigh?


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