1883 College Football Summary

Many college football historians believe that this year could be considered the "first American football season."

Why? Glad that you asked.

It was the first year modern terminology in scoring plays was used; even if the terms were for how it was in 1883.

Going from highest value to the lowest available for a scoring plays reveals the following:

  • Goal from the field (pre-Field Goal), 5 points
  • Goal after touchdown (Point After Touchdown or conversion), 4 points
  • Touchdown, 2 points
  • Safeties, 1 point

It is hard to imagine a conversion carrying more value than that of a touchdown; but it would be so for the next few seasons.

Yale once again proved to be the team to beat; but the team didn't experience a setback in foot ball, played under the heading of American Collegiate Game.

In an 8-game schedule, Yale was totally dominate in every game played; winning by a 60.4 margin in allowing Princeton to record just 2 points.

Yale along with Princeton and Harvard made-up early powerhouses; collectively known as the Big 3.

In 1883, the Big 3 combined for a 25-3-0 record; with Yale finishing the season without a setback and Princeton losing only Yale and Harvard to both Yale and Princeton.

Highlighting Princeton's 26-7 triumph over Harvard was number of kicks made by its outstanding kicker, Alexander "Tinniebits" Moffatt, who was successful on 4 goals from the field.

His kicks were from 50-58-40-40 yards away and an equal number of kicks were made from each foot.

Overshadowed in this game was a 55-yard kick by Harvard's J.V. Cowling.

Before 6000 fans at New York's Polo Grounds, Yale claimed the Intercollegiate Football Association with its 23-2 victory over Harvard; as A.L. Farwell's 50-yard run from scrimmage ignited the scoring.

Princeton's Alexander "Tinniebits" Moffatt converted 32 goals from the field.

1883 Leaders (min. of 5 games) Show:

  • Offensive Scoring Leader (Most Scored)
    Yale (8-0-0) 485 Points
  • Defensive Scoring Leader (Least Allowed)
    Yale (8-0-0) 2 Points
  • National Champions (Retroactive)
    Yale (8-0-0)
  • Intercollegiate Football Association Standings
Team IFA Standings Full Season
Yale 3-0-0 8-0-0
Princeton 2-1-0


Harvard 1-2-0


Writer R.M. Hodge/The Outing Magazine named Yale National Champion

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