Football Bowl games,
great and small

And Montreal West’s lost entry, the Garbage Bowl

By Byron Toben

January 4, 2024

Back in 1902, the Rose Bowl was established in Pasadena, California, as an east-west confrontation to determine the top college football team of the year. Michigan won, 49-0 over Stanford. In 1916, it became an annual event as the “granddaddy” of other post-season or playoff bowl games.

The “New Year Six” from major USA Universities then followed:
1935 – Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida
1937 – Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas
1968 – Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia
1971 – Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona

There are at least 25 other bowl games involving teams from lesser-known universities created from 1935 to 2023. These are also held in those weather-friendly states, adding Hawaii, New Mexico, Maryland, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Three wintry exceptions are the Quicklane Bowl in Detroit, Michigan, in 2014, the Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx, New York, in 2014 and the Fenway Bowl in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2021.

Garbage Bowl

Garbage Bowl 2009 – Image:

More modestly was, from 1950 to 2009, the Garbage Bowl in Montreal West, Quebec. I attended it once or twice on New Year’s Day. Many participants were ex-university players, but that was not a requirement.
Also, it was touch, not tackle, as it played in a snow-covered lot. Teams were largely pick-up and distinguished as East or West (or was it North or South?) by red or green clothing. Age or sex was no barrier, just the ability to pass or catch a football. Spectator donations were given to local charities like the Mackay Rehabilitation Centre.

Teams were divided into 16 per side, 8 on offence, 8 on defence. All 7 other offence players were eligible to catch a pass from the one quarterback per team. Instead of kicking for conversion points after a touchdown, footballs were tossed toward falling into a garbage can. I vaguely recall that some finger food eats were available on the sidelines. Not fancy, but great fun in the bracing cold air. Ah, those were the days, my friend, I thought they would never end, but they did.

Viewers who have remembrances or photos from the Garbage Bowl of yore are urged to send them to the Westmount Magazine for sharing.

Results of big six bowl games 2024

Rose – Michigan 27 – Alabama 20
Orange – Georgia 63 – Florida State 3
Cotton – Missouri 14 – Ohio State 3
Sugar – Washington 37 – Texas 31
Peach – Old Miss 38 – Penn State 25
Fiesta – Oregon 45 – Liberty 6

Prospects for the future

Touch Football, now also called Flag Football, has been approved for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Will this inspire a return to our Garbage Bowl, even without snow?

Feature image: Pixabay

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

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Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated websites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner, and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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