Three weeks ago football's little men completed their 21st organized season when Princeton edged Rutgers for the crown of the Eastern Intercollegiate 150-Pound Football League. While big-time All-Americans and local unsung heroes monopolized the Cambridge scene, this victory went largely unnoticed, particularly since the Crimson had given up lightweight football over 20 years ago.
But around Princeton and New Brunswick, N.J.--where big-time, heavyweight competition began in 1869 and organized lightweight football held its first championship in 1934--the game rated banner headlines. For local 150-pound enthusiasts, it was a repeat of the first championship between these two elevens. That year Rutgers played to the crown before 10,000, defeating Princeton, and carrying off honors in the newly-organized 150-pound football league.
Crimson Held Out
In 1934 the University could have joined the six-college league, but its growing House athletics and intra-mural schedule didn't provide enough material to make the venture worthwhile. Without the Crimson, six teams--Lafayette, Manhattan, Princeton, Rutgers, Villanova, and Yale--banded together under the new league. During the past 20 years, Manhattan, Villanova, and Yale have dropped out in favor of Pennsylvania, Navy, and Cornell.
Over the years the only rules change for the lightweights has been to raise the weight limit five pounds, so that now when the little men weigh in an hour before game time, they must tip the scales at 155 pounds. For reasons of convenience and de-emphasis, the league prohibits spring practice and does not allow competition to begin until the second week in October.
Rough and Rugged
Except for these two restrictions, the lightweights play as rough and rugged a brand of football as their bigger brothers who make the headlines. As Rutgers' Athletic Director Harry I. Rockefeller explains their attitude toward the game:
"A sort of brotherhood exists between the players which I've never seen in any other sport. They've built their own tradition over the past generation and are proud of it. These guys are tough little shavers." Rockefeller paused when he said this, as if to imply that Rutgers was even now preparing for its 1955 game against Princeton, the 22nd in their series.