Mover over, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees: Harvard and Yale are bringing their storied rivalry to Fenway Park with the 2018 edition of The Game on November 17 at 12PM. The annual football contest played between the two Ivy League schools first started in 1875, with Harvard besting Yale at the loser’s home stadium. Cambridge’s Harvard Crimson and New Haven’s Yale Bulldogs have been competing for the better part of two centuries, with a contest between the two school’s crew teams igniting the friendly rivalry in 1852. Naturally, for two schools who are no strangers to making history, it was recognized as the first official American intercollegiate sporting event.
The Game is so much more than a meeting of two of the nation’s best universities. Over the decades, the two programs have helped set rules for collegiate football, including those that governed safety on the field, and fostered the environment of the sport by embracing fight songs and mascots. Throughout the years, some of the country’s best known statesmen played a role on and off the field at The Game. Theodore Roosevelt cheered for Harvard as a first year student during the second annual game in 1876. Ted Kennedy caught a touchdown for Harvard during the 1955 game. More than a dozen former players for both teams have gone on to be Rhodes Scholars.
Even the teams’ football stadiums have historic significance. Harvard Stadium is the country’s oldest permanent concrete structure dedicated to intercollegiate athletics, and is a National Historic Landmark. Situated near Soldiers Field Road, the stadium—whose design mimics the ancient Panathenaic stadium in Athens—was built on land donated by Henry Lee Higginson in honor of Harvard students who had died in the Civil War.
It’s Harvard’s game to win this year,as they fell to Yale in 2017 with a disappointing score of 24-3, which means you can expect a feisty contest to see who will emerge the victor.