October 20, 1923 - ND meets Princeton in green


Notre Dame Green Jersey ArticleIn Knute Rockne's sixth season as head coach, Notre Dame was 3-0 coming off of a win against Army at Ebbets Field. Today was the first ever meeting with Princeton and only the second meeting against an Ivy school. With all the talk about the uniforms for this weekend's game, it should come as no surprise that Notre Dame has changed uniforms several times before. For possibly the first time, Notre Dame trotted out onto the field in green jerseys against Princeton.

Most famously in 1977, the green jerseys have been used as an emotional boost reserved for special occasions. Rockne's ploy was a bit different and was much more practical. The Irish had traditionally worn dark blue jerseys but there was concern that the players would blend in against the background. Especially near the end of the games when it would begin to get dark, the players could be difficult to see against a brick wall in the distance. Rockne felt that the green jerseys would be easier to distinguish for his quarterback.

Rockne was also known to use jersey ploys for an advantage so the green jerseys may have not been wholly to make them easier to see. Rockne had at times put his second string in to start the game wearing the starters' numbers and then after a drive or two, off come the jerseys and the first string goes rushing in demoralizing the opponent. Perhaps Rockne realized early the emotional advantage to the green jerseys. Whatever the reason, it worked with the Irish defeating the Tigers 25-2. Despite six turnovers in the game, the Irish scored twice in each half and gave up only a safety on a blocked punt in the second quarter. This was a big victory for Notre Dame, its second against teams from the East in as many weeks.

For more details about the green jerseys and lead up to the game, read the article to the right (click it to enlarge). Thank you to the Princeton University Library for The Daily Princetonian archives. To read the game recap from the Princeton point of view, the paper from 22 Oct 1923 is available here as a PDF. On page four is the box score from the game and presents an interesting historical view of how the game has changed. Rushing stats are broken down as gains by "Line Rushes" and "End Runs." The 27 Oct 1923 issue of the Princetonian (PDF) has some pictures from the game. Princeton is wearing the dark jerseys with the lighter rib cages while Notre Dame has solid jerseys. (Can you tell they are green and not blue?)




Keywords: football, princeton, green, knute rockne, green jersey, ebbets field, baseball stadium

Posted On: 2011-10-20 03:15:00 by IrishTrpt07

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      Were you there? Have more to add? Leave a comment and let us know!


   Posted By: IrishTrpt07 at 2011-10-20 12:33:15[#3]
At 2011-10-20 10:53:37, RocketShark posted:
I've skimmed the Princeton paper and did not find any mention of Notre Dame wearing green. I even did a word search in the document for green and emerald and there were no results. I'd love to have confirmation this actually happened.
The first mention I had seen of that being the first time to wear green was in the Schenectady Gazette article shown on this page. I have found an article from the College Football Historical Society Newsletter, which also mentions that this game was the first time Notre Dame had worn green. There is conflicting information if the 1921 Iowa game was the first to feature the green jerseys but the comments regarding the loss were blamed on Notre Dame's blue jerseys appearing similar to Iowa's black jerseys as daylight began to fade. The PDF of the College Football Historical Society Newsletter is linked here.
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   Posted By: RocketShark at 2011-10-20 10:53:37[#2]
I've skimmed the Princeton paper and did not find any mention of Notre Dame wearing green. I even did a word search in the document for green and emerald and there were no results. I'd love to have confirmation this actually happened.
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   Posted By: Seņor Chops at 2011-10-20 06:17:56[#1]
Great stuff again, although more so for Irish fans than for Tiger fans. Of course, as a Princeton alumnus who is keenly aware of how important tradition is, it's nice to see that some things (like our football team's performance) never change.
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