“A silver cup has been offered by Mr. R. P. Linderman
, Lehigh ‘84, as a trophy of the foot-ball championship of Pennsylvania,” the Lehigh Burr
reported in 1889. “Designs for the cup have not yet been prepared but it will be very handsome, of massive silver, while special care will be taken to secure a design thoroughly artistic and appropriate, and the cup will be fully equal to any college trophy of the kind ever offered. The [articles and conditions drawn up for the Championship] is not intended to form a foot-ball league, such a thing being deemed unnecessary, but to provide such general regulations as will fairly determine the state championship.”
The idea of Lehigh, Lafayette and Penn competing for the "state championship" has as its origins the student newspapers, who had started tallying the records of the games between each other in the hopes of crowning a mythical "champion of Pennsylvania".
In 1888, Lehigh and Lafayette played each other twice, and played Penn once apiece in Philadelphia.
But the final records of Lehigh (2-1), Penn (2-1) and Lafayette (1-2) made it inconclusive as to who the state champion really was.
In 1889, with interest high in some sort of champions to be crowned, all three schools made an attempt to start a true "Championship of Pennsylvania", complete with its own trophy. It was was founded in part to broaden the interest in football at both Lehigh and Lafayette, to be sure, but it also may have been a way to lock in Penn to playing return games in the Lehigh Valley, as Penn had already cancelled return games against both Lehigh and Lafayette in the past.
It made for a thrilling season, and one that further intensified the already-fierce Rivalry.Read more »