Why is it Called the “Sugar Bowl”? And More Sugar Bowl History

sugar-bowl-historyEarly January means one thing and one thing only to diehard college football fans: bowl games! The Sugar Bowl’s long and distinguished history, filled with powerful players and outstanding match ups, keeps fans on their toes every year since its inception in 1935.

Sugar Bowl history, like all college football bowls, is rich. The bowls began as a way to highlight the beautiful winter weather of California and the Southern states. With the first Rose Bowl in 1890, the Sugar Bowl followed suit in the early 1930s. The Sugar Bowl was named for the sugar plantation on the land of these first stadium to host the Bowl, Tulane Stadium built in 1926. 

The path to the inaugural Sugar Bowl game was rocky, due mostly to naysayers who believed that the organizing committee could never bring a Bowl game to New Orleans. The New Orleans businessman Warren V. Miller and a member of a citizens committee Joseph M. Cousins could not be stopped. Like Heisman Trophy winner and Sugar Bowl MVP for 1983 Bo Jackson, they ran with it and headed up a group of athletic, civic and business clubs that got behind a proposal to bring a bowl game to their city.

The initial charter emphasized the bowl’s purpose, to promote football and give fans what they wanted – a great football tradition. They kept the politics out. Every officer of the New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association, the non-profit organization formed to get the Sugar Bowl going, had to buy his or her own ticket to the Bowl. And any profits made on the game would either go back into the Association, given to charities, or used for education. The Sugar Bowl was to be run as a non-profit, working purely for the love of the game.

Even before the teams were determined, the original winning team’s trophy was determined. The Walhorn Company, Inc. donated an exquisite, antique single-bottle wine cooler, made by a master silversmith in 1830. The Association accepted this stunning piece of silver work from the time of King George IV and throughout Sugar Bowl history, the winning team’s trophy remains a replica of this original.

Since 1935, when the first win went in the record books for hometown favourite Tulane over Temple 20-14, the home stadium for the Sugar Bowl game has changed a few times. Until 1974, the Sugar Bowl was played at Tulane Stadium. From 1975 until 2005, the Louisiana Superdome hosted the Bowl. After Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the Superdome, the Sugar Bowl moved to the Georgia Dome for 2007. The Sugar Bowl went back home to New Orleans to a refurbished Superdome in 2007.

And Sugar Bowl history has seen its fair share of American football greats. Bo Jackson from Auburn and Herschel Walker of Georgia are two all-time greats and Sugar Bowl MVPs. Eight-two Sugar Bowlers like Tony Dorsett, Deion Sanders and Curt Warner, were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. With this kind of talent, it is little wonder that many Sugar Bowl match ups, whether for national or semi-nation titles, make the all-time top ten lists for many college football broadcasters.

The Sugar Bowl continues to be a non-profit organization with the single-minded focus of its championship teams: play great football. With rising stars gracing the field each year, you can bet that from the first kickoff at 7:30 pm, January 1, 2015, it will be on. Contact Roadtrips today and get your tickets and travel plans together so that you can be there to watch sports history being made.

Irma and I just wanted to thank you once again for arranging such a wonderful experience. The two days we spent at the course were terrific and everything you said it would be. No doubt we will go again!
— Greg Daniels, Masters