100 + Years of Iowa Football
It's been said that football began during the days of Julius Caesar, when victorious soldiers would entertain themselves by kicking around the severed heads of their foes after a hard day of battle.
At the University of Iowa, it all began with an English professor. Organized football got its start on the Iowa campus in 1889, the year a young man named Martin Wright Sampson came to town to teach English. But Sampson did more than that. Coming upon several students playing football on a September morning, he asked to join the game. It didn't take long before he was teaching the boys a new style of play: Eastern or rugby-style football, which allowed the ball to be carried as well as kicked.
Sampson himself had reportedly never before touched a football, but his powers of observation (having seen two games as a student in Cincinnati) must have convinced his pupils that he knew what he was about. The University of Iowa has not been the same since.
Use the slider above to navigate your way through the storied past of Iowa Football.
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Written by Carol Harker Wilcox
Designed and Produced by Zack Schmidt
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