Monday, September 1, 2014

Cornell Big Red (2013, 1967-75)

I'm afraid I know less about Cornell than probably any other football team in this project. It seems like one of those teams that’s just kinda there, like the Milwaukee Bucks or the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Of course, I exaggerate. The Big Red has left us with memorable players over the years, such as Ed Marinaro, who in 1971 almost stole the Heisman Trophy from Auburn’s Pat Sullivan and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated; and quarterback Jeff Mathews, who ended his Cornell career last year armed with 47 school and 18 Ivy League records. He was in camp with the Atlanta Falcons this summer.
Odd bit of triviata: Former coach George Seifert won nearly as many Super Bowls (2) in the NFL as he did games during his two-year stay in Ithaca  (3).
Notes ’n stuff about the Big Red:
  • The red helmet with the red block “C” dates back to the early 1980s, although the helmet has undergone many minor tweaks.
  • The Big Red had a consistent look in the 1960s-70s, with the white wishbone “C” on a red helmet. When Bob Blackman became coach in 1977, he gave the team a, well, Blackman-esque makeover, with swooping helmet stripes, oversized sleeve numbers and a giant “CORNELL” splashed across the jersey front. The look was toned down after Blackman left in 1983.
  • The two white stripes on the jersey sleeve date back to at least the 1920s.
  • Names were worn on the backs in the 1990s. I believe Dartmouth is the only other Ivy team to have used names.
  • Red and gray pants have been introduced in recent years, although red pants were also worn for a bit during the Blackman era.
The Cornell Daily Sun archives are far from complete and the photo reproduction quality is iffy, but they have definitely helped with my research.  The fine site Helmet Hut has more info on Cornell's helmets here and here (you'll have to scroll down a bit for Cornell info from the second link).
The 2013 Cornell uniform (above) is pretty sharp. The gray pants aren’t really necessary, but they don’t ruin the uniform, either. Note the stripes use a slightly different shade of gray than the rest of the pants. They look better than the red pants.

Our classic uniform takes us to the Marinaro years (Marinaro wore No. 44), although the Big Red trotted out this look for nearly a decade. In 1976, Cornell went with plan red helmets before Blackman arrived and overhauled everything. 

Up next: We head to my backyard with the Dartmouth Big Green!

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