Things Bearcats Football Is Older Than


1893 Bearcats football team (UC Libraries)

Bearcats football took the field for the first time on October 23, 1885 in a game against Mt. Auburn. 1885 is a long time ago, and UC football is older than every FBS team but nine. As an ardent lover of old things and Bearcat one-upmanship, I had to seize the opportunity.

The ‘Cats have a bye week and UC football’s birthday is just around the corner, so I figured I’d make a short list of things that came right after Cincinnati football did:

  • Footballs in Cincinnati. This is one of my favorites. The 1927 issue of The Cincinnatian lays out the early days of Bearcats football, and credits Dr. Arch Carson for founding the team. Among other contributions, after all, “it was he who sent away to a big commercial house in the east for the first football, because there were none in the city of Cincinnati at that time.” That’s right. In 1885, footballs themselves weren’t even a thing in Cincy, but UC football was. (Also our colors were Blue and Brown at the time.)
  • 12 states. North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii all came after UC played its first football game.
  • Coca-Cola. John Pemberton began serving it at his drugstore in Columbus, Georgia in May 1886.
  • The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in October 1886, just over a year after UC football’s first game.
  • Ballpoint pens. The ballpoint pen was invented by John Loud in October 1888.
  • Kodak cameras. The first Kodak box camera was invented in 1888, bringing simple and inexpensive photography to the world.
  • Inflatable tires. John Boyd Dunlop of Scotland invented the inflatable tire in 1888.
  • Dishwashers. The first dishwasher was invented by Josephine Garis in 1889.
  • The Eiffel Tower was opened in Paris in March 1889.
  • The zipper was invented by Whitcomb Judson in 1891.
  • The radio. The invention of radio is a disputed thing, but the internet credits a variety of people for creating radio some time between 1893 and 1900.
  • Airplanes. The Wright Brothers’ infamous flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina was in 1903.

So now if you were a real loser you could say something like, “Hey, do you know why UC’s first football uniforms didn’t have zippers? Because they weren’t invented yet.”

You’d probably come off really smug but it’s worth a shot anyway.