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Percy Haughton and the Myth of the Slain Bulldog

By J. J. Shpall, Contributing Writer

Percy Haughton is undoubtedly one of the most successful coaches in Harvard football history, but while his results are indisputable, his legendary motivational tactics are dubious.

The legend of Haughton goes like this: In 1908 right before The Game, Haughton strangled a bulldog in front of his players in an attempt to motivate them to beat Yale.

Prior to the 1908 contest, Yale had dominated Harvard, shutting the Crimson out in six consecutive games. Needless to say, Harvard was looking to find any advantage they could find.

Whether or not it was the murdered bulldog that inspired the Crimson players, the squad was able to take down their rival—winning The Game by a score of 4-0 (back then field goals were worth four points).

In recent days, the killing has been called into question, and it most likely did not occur. With that being said, Haughton probably did have a bulldog made of paper-mache that he strangled and would drag behind his car.

This year, Crimson head coach Tim Murphy will probably not have to revert to any sort of killing to motivate his players, seeing as The Game will probably end up determining the Ivy champion.

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