November 2nd, 2011 | Sports

Did a Harvard football coach strangle a bulldog in 1908?

Who could strangle a face like that?
Who could strangle a face like that? Photo by flickr.

The rivalry between Harvard and Yale runs deep — so deep that legend has it a Harvard football coach once strangled a bulldog to motivate his team to kill Yale in that year’s Game. Although this tale helped to fuel the animosity between the longtime rivals, the Los Angeles Times busted the myth on Tuesday.

As the story goes, Harvard’s football coach Percy Haughton strangled a Handsome Dan lookalike before The Game in 1908 to get his players riled up. If it’s true, the tactic worked, as Harvard went on to win the game 4-0. The Times dismissed the tale due to Coach Haughton’s character and through examinations of newspaper articles covering The 1908 Harvard-Yale Game. The article does suggest, though, that the Harvard coach may have crafted and strangled a Papier-mâché bulldog doll to inspire his team, which is almost equally weird.

Whatever the truth may be, there is one certainty: Crimson can’t be strangled. You cannot strangle a color.