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The Rose Bowl Turns 99

Rose Bowl leaders, athletes honor ‘America’s Stadium,’ as stadium looks ahead to Centennial in 2022

Published on Friday, October 29, 2021 | 5:24 am

On October 23, 1922, the USC Trojans took on the Cal Bears in a battle of undefeated teams. Cal beat the Trojans, but wasn’t all that interested in returning to play again in the “Tournament of Roses Bowl,” as the stadium was then called.

So USC stepped up into the “Rose Bowl” game on Jan. 1, 1923, and beat the Penn State Nittany Lions by a score of 14-3.

That was 99 years ago Thursday, and the Rose Bowl stadium has flourished ever since, garnering the moniker, “‘America’s Stadium.”

To honor the date, Rose Bowl officials held a recognition presentation Thursday to recognize the stadium’s vaunted history, and some of its stars, assisted by  2022 Rose Queen Nadia Chung, and the 2022 Rose Parade Royal Court. Mayor Victor Gordo and Pasadena Councilmember Steve Madison attended the event, which also featured a screening of “Remember the Titans,” starring Denzel Washington.

U.S. women’s soccer team star Brandi Chastain, U.S. men’s soccer team star Cobi Jones, and 2006 Rose Bowl star Vince Young, whose Texas Longhorns beat USC in a memorable 2006 Rose Bowl performance, took part and recalled their own memories of the field.

“I still dream of that field,” joked Chastain, “and in those dreams, fortunately,  the ball always goes in, because sometimes now when I watch that video, I think, ‘What if the ball doesn’t go in?’”

Jones stressed the importance of playing on a team and how the experience helps develop character and maturity for all of its participants.

In the beginning, the structure’s name was alternatively “Tournament of Roses Stadium” or “Tournament of Roses Bowl,” until becoming the “Rose Bowl” before the 1923 Rose Bowl Game.

Since then, the stadium, with its southern end closed in 1928, has been the site of numerous historic sporting and entertainment events, among them five Super Bowls, numerous college football championship games, and a number of soccer matches and championships, including the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final, the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, and the 1984 Olympic Soccer Gold Medal Match, as well as numerous CONCACAF and United States Soccer Federation matches.

Entertainers from Beyonce to Michael Jackson to the Rolling Stones have also performed there.

Today, the stadium, with a seating capacity of 92,542, is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The Rose Bowl is also the 16th-largest stadium in the world, the 11th-largest stadium in the United States, and the 10th-largest NCAA stadium.

And it’s going to be 100 in 2022.

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