After 124 editions, the most unsavory thing about The Game's current seat in the shadow of block-letter acronyms -- BCS! FBS! FCS! -- is not even the shadow itself. The self-inflicted lack of playoffs? The ban on scholarships? The harshest academic restrictions in the athletic universe? These realities are simply the known price of scholastic integrity, which has long numbed Harvardians and Yalies to the gradual lowercasing of the nation's oldest rivalry.
Allow me, instead, to identify a more insidious problem: that as The Game grows into a niche sporting event, Harvard keeps being equated with, well, Yale.
Full disclosure: I went to Harvard. I attended most every home game during my stay in Cambridge, Mass., and one time -- during the Harvard-Yale tailgate my junior year -- I threw a hot dog at a student clad in blue while sauced atop a U-Haul.
So I'm certainly not opposed to the rivalry, per se. Harvard versus Yale might be the most storied pairing in sports, and the two colleges are clearly sworn enemies as well as complements. But conjoined, athletically and academically? Siamese twins we are not.
Harvard is like the Lakers to New Haven, Conn.'s Clippers. The Lincoln to Yale's Douglas. The Marty McFly to their Biff. The Sigfried to their Roy (Roy is the one who got mauled by the tiger). If you breezily wave us aside as Div. I-AA's bookish siblings, in other words, you'd be foolish to do it in one breath.
Don't believe me? In honor of The Game's 125th anniversary, consider these three facts:
It was 1968, a time defined by Vietnam and the assassinations of
How embarrassing it would all be.
In the greatest comeback of all time, Harvard scored 16 points in those 42 seconds. Second-string quarterback
If you went to Yale, I imagine, you wept and doubted the existence of God.
As legend has it, Harvard's
But most of all, Haughton loathed Yale. What he supposedly did at the Yale Bowl in 1908 forever revised the myth of delicate little Ivy League football. He presented his Harvard team with a live bulldog -- the personification of Yale's mascot -- and then strangled it to death with his bare hands. (Suddenly,
Before PETA e-mails in, the story has since been ruled apocryphal, of course. No man, not even the so-called
But Yale does, I believe Haughton meant to prove, and they primarily use it to choke.
As someone who covered
But Fitzpatrick is, arguably, being outdone by some other notable alums, who tend to flatten Yale in all fields after The Games are over. And I'm not just talking about our six-time Pro-Bowler, Vikings center
An All-Ivy offensive lineman in that '68 tie?
And it's definitely not all blue-bloods. Fitzpatrick -- who never lost The Game in his four years -- played with wonderfully named kicker
Over just the past two years, we've had
The rest of the team, if you're wondering, isn't too shabby either. No. 19 Harvard (8-1, 5-1 Ivy) has merely gone 6-2 against its lesser counterparts since 2000. That would be you, Yale (6-3, 4-2 Ivy).
Talk about a shadow.