Ostensibly, the focus of this website is to highlight the most interesting articles from the New York Times Magazine 100 years ago to the week. But when going back to the November 6, 1921 issue, something on the front page caught my eye. And since I determined it was more interesting than anything from that issue’s actual magazine, I’m going to take a one-installment-only break from tradition to focus on that front page instead.
The upper-left headline was about a sports game. Not the World Series. Not the Super Bowl, which wouldn’t even occur until 1967. Not the World Cup, which wouldn’t occur until 1930. Rather, it was a Princeton vs. Harvard college football game… and a regular season game, at that.
Sure, the game had a bit of a narrative: Princeton avenging their 1911 loss, which was apparently a legendary game at the time, though it’s little remembered today. And the 50,000 attendance at the 1921 rematch was surely quite high for a college football game at the time. Today, though, the largest college football stadium by capacity is University of Michigan’s Michigan Stadium at 107,601.
The Princeton football headline even appeared a bit higher than another seemingly-more-important headline: the Senate’s vote on a proposal to pay bonuses to World War I veterans, which was rejected by 28-38.
The New York Times of today would never put a sports story as their upper-left headline. I’m having trouble locating it at the moment, but I seem to recall that the release of the official report determining that Lance Armstrong had indeed cheated during his Tour de France victories made the Times front page, though I believe in the bottom half (“below the fold”) if memory serves? But having a sports headline as essentially their top headline would just be unfathomable for the publication in the 21st century.
Princeton Victor Over Harvard in Thrilling Struggle (PDF)
Published: Sunday, November 6, 1921