By Stephan Benzkofer
August 28, 2011
Interesting tidbits mined from 43 years of Tribune coverage:
•A special lighting system was installed at Soldier Field to accommodate the first game in 1934.
•Noble Kizer, the college coach for the inaugural game, and Bears coach George Halas couldn't agree on which rules to use, disagreeing about the forward pass. Arch Ward had to break the impasse and decided to use the college rule that passes had to be five yards behind the line of scrimmage. His reasoning? That the college kids were "guests of the Chicago Tribune. We have no desire to bring them here and have them play under conditions which they regard as unfair."
•From the 1934 game: "In the first quarter Eggs Manske, 175 pound Northwestern end, recoiled three feet from the concussion when he tried to block 220 pound Bronko Nagurski out of a play. Nagurski barely shrugged at the impact."
•The largest crowd — more than 105,000 — saw the All-Stars beat the Bears, 16-0, in 1947.
•Gerald Ford, future U.S. president, played center in the 1935 game, though he didn't start.
•When Colorado star Byron "Whizzer" White (yes, the future U.S. Supreme Court justice) agreed to play for the college team in 1938, it made for banner headlines. Whizzer didn't have a great game, turning the ball over twice and playing just part of the second quarter. Nevertheless, the All-Stars beat the Redskins, 28-16.
•The finale in 1976 was marred by a "mob" that rushed the field during the rain delay. As lightning flashed above the stadium, the "scatter-brained" fans pulled down both steel goal posts.
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