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Fordham Rams Pinback Button

Fordham Rams Pinback Button

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Description
Round collegiate button is red with a white stripe that has text saying "Fordham" in red lettering at the center of the button. Fordham University is a Jesuit institution in New York with a long athletic history. The school began a football program in 1882 and has made appearances in both the Cotton Bowl (loss to Texas A&M in 1941) and the Sugar Bowl (win against Missouri in 1942), two of collegiate football’s most prestigious bowl games.
While the team currently plays in the lower part of Division One in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), they originally played at the highest level of competition. The football team's most notable mark on history occurred on September 30, 1939 when Fordham played the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets. The game is the first televised American football game. Broadcast by NBC, Fordham would win 34-7. With 9,000 people in attendance the game reached an estimated 1,000 television sets. The game occurred five months after the Princeton v. Columbia baseball game which was the first televised sporting event.
The Fordham football team has a long history of success; however its most successful era was the late 1920s through the 1930s. During this time, Fordham was routinely ranked as one of the best teams in the country. Fordham was led by “Sleepy” Jim Crowley, who was one of Notre Dame’s legendary Four Horsemen. Crowley would hire Frank Leahy to be his offensive line coach, who would later go on to become the head coach at Notre Dame and compile a career coaching record of 107-13-9. While Crowley and Leahy would be the people responsible for Fordham’s success from the sidelines, the offensive line would become credited with Fordham’s success on the field.
The offensive line was an extraordinarily powerful unit for the Rams throughout this early period; however the most recognizable of these groups would be the team from 1936. This group was recognized as crucial to the team reaching its lofty goals of a Rose Bowl appearance. To capitalize on this, Fordham’s publicist, Timothy Cohane began to work on creating a nickname to promote the team. Originally he would propose the nickname of the “Seven Samsons” to describe the seven men that made up the offensive line. However, the name would not catch on leading him to try for a catchier title. Later, using inspiration from Grantland Rice, Cohane would describe the unit as the “Seven Blocks of Granite.” The name stuck and the Seven Blocks of Granite are a key part of college football history. The most famous members of the Seven Blocks of Granite include Leo Paquin, Johnny Druze, Alex Wojciechowicz, Ed Franco, Al Babartsky, Natty Pierce and, most notably, Vince Lombardi.
Fordham’s importance continues to resonate in modern football. The Rotary Club’s Lombardi Award is awarded annually, since 1970, to the nation’s best collegiate lineman or linebacker. To honor the award’s namesake, Vince Lombardi, and his days at Fordham, the trophy is a block of granite. At the professional level of football, the St. Louis Rams got their mascot from the Fordham Rams. St. Louis traces its roots to Cleveland where the team was founded in 1936. When selecting a nickname for the team, ownership decided to go with the Rams to honor the players that came out of Fordham University.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
button, collegiate
Date made
ca 1974
associated institution
Fordham University
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 3/16 in; x 3.01625 cm
ID Number
1982.0365.30
accession number
1982.0365
catalog number
1982.0365.30
subject
Sports
collegiate
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Sport and Leisure
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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