Marisa Peryer, Contributing Photographer

This Saturday marks the 138th edition of the annual Yale-Harvard football game, often known as “The Game.” This year’s iteration has special meaning for both Yale and outgoing president Peter Salovey, who intends to step down from the role this summer, as there is a chance for the Bulldogs to win an Ivy League championship in what will be Salovey’s last game as president. 

Salovey’s connection to The Game stretches back decades. He arrived at Yale as a graduate student in 1981, before joining the department of psychology as an assistant professor in 1986. He was inducted as Yale University’s 23rd president in 2013. 

The Yale-Harvard football rivalry dates back to 1875. Since then, the game has become an iconic sporting event, representing a fierce rivalry between the two Ivy League universities. Since the rivalry started in 1875, Yale has won 69 games to Harvard’s 61 games, with 8 games resulting in a tie.

“We have been especially good under pressure this year, and I predict the final score will be 24 to 21, with Bulldogs being victorious,” Salovey said when asked about his predictions for the score. “As the song goes, Harvard’s team will fight to the end, but Yale will win.”

Yale goes into the game with a 6–3 overall record, 4–2 in the Ivy League. 

The Game is about more than just football — it is a celebration of tradition, school pride and varsity athletics at their finest. While the teams have traded wins and losses over the decades, the rivalry has stood the test of time. Through two World Wars, the Great Depression and various social upheavals, the Game has also historically served as a site of protest. 

In 2019, during Salovey’s tenure, climate change activists rushed onto the field at the end of the halftime show to protest both Harvard and Yale’s fossil fuel investments. 

Other notable Games during Salovey’s time as president include the 2018 edition hosted at Fenway Park and the infamous double-overtime win in 2019.

Salovey also looks forward to continuing his friendly rivalry with the Harvard president, Claudine Gay. This will be Gay’s first Game and Salovey’s last. 

“I have a very special gift for her, courtesy of the Yale football team, and I hope to present it to her as a consolation prize at the Game itself,” he said.

Beyond predicting a Yale win, the president discussed the broader significance of varsity athletics within the Ivy League. 

He said that the Game helps participating students “develop into leaders,” and that it also “bring[s] our community together.”

“I hope this is the year we can completely fill the Yale Bowl with university community members and New Haven neighbors alike,” Salovey told the News. 

Salovey will also continue a tradition of giving the team a pep talk before the game, which he called “a thrill,” especially when the Elis are in contention for an Ivy League championship, and when “it is not already snowing.”

Kickoff is set for noon at the Yale Bowl in New Haven.