By Rev. Steve Dube, ‘78
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

Each year, the students of the Josephinum’s College of Liberal Arts and School of Theology engage one another in a football game known as the Mud Bowl. The game is a longstanding tradition in the Josephinum annals. Certainly, the Mud Bowl is not as well known as another rivalry played out in the horseshoe-shaped stadium of a slightly larger institution downstream from the Josephinum on the banks of the Olentangy River. (Somehow the world of ESPN thinks that the Ohio State-Michigan game is more important than the Mud Bowl- [but we know better!])
Flag football games were played on two different fields, often simultaneously. The main field, which had permanent goalposts, was taken out to accommodate the Jospehinum’s parking needs. The second field was the present soccer field and present sight of the Mud Bowl located behind the College building.
As the 1972 flag football season was progressing, the College Dean of Men, Fr. David Sartorius, and I ( as the student who oversaw the intramural athletics, or “head jock”) had a conversation about the possibility of a football game between the College and the Theology students. At the time, both houses had large numbers of students who participated in intramural sports on the college level, usually the one sport in the Theologate, and the varsity college basketball team. Football was usually the one sport where members from both houses played together. After the initial discussion, team captains and players were contacted to see if there was an interest in such a game. The answer was a resounding “yes”.
November 1, 1972 dawned as a somewhat typical gray Ohio fall day. As the game began, a cool November rain also began to fall. Since the football team had already been well used throughout the intramural season, much of the grass was worn away, revealing the dirt underneath. Traction was at a minimum. Line play was fun, dirty competition of wills. On this particular day, the youngest, faster College squad was ready for the elements. By the conclusion of the first half, the College had built a 26-0 lead that could not be surpassed. When the game concluded, the Collegians prevailed by a score of 32-18. The combination of the weather conditions, the hard, spirited play of both teams, and the competitive yet friendly rivalry has given the game its permanent name and legacy.
Check out the pictures from this years MudBowl.