Back in 1901, the organizers of the Tournament of Roses© were agonizing how to attract people to the activities on New Year’s Day. James Wagner, then president of the Tournament brought forth the idea of a post-season football game to attract the much desired attendance.
Fielding Yost, the coach of the undefeated Michigan football team challenged the University of California. California declined but Stanford stepped up to meet Michigan’s challenge. Michigan’s team devastated Stanford in a 49-0 score in front of 8,000 people.
The football game made a profit. However, due to the one sided triumph, organizers thought that the spectators would not show up for yet another football game and replaced the post-season football game with chariot racing. However, the chariot racing was wrought with problems. The unprofessional chariot racers would run into each other. Soon after, the organizers sought out professional racers, but then, the spectators assumed that the races were fixed. Subsequently, the organizers decided to return to the post-season football game.
In 1916, the second Tournament of Roses© football games took place where Washington State defeated Brown 14-0. The Rose Bowl game has been nicknamed the “Grandaddy of Them All®” and has been a sellout since 1947.