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Did the Tom Bowl exist prior to 1989?

A recent, yet unsubstantiated, discovery has led to speculation that the Tom Bowl may in fact have existed prior to 1989. In fact, if the evidence proves true, the Tom Bowl may have existed as far back as the 1920s. We have been unable to prove the existence of the helmet so you can be the judge.

The 1920s era helmet purported to show that the Tom Bowl existed prior to 1989.

Close up on the logo

Did one of the teams show up at Tom Bowl VIII?
When fans arrived at Frank Schafer Field for Tom Bowl VIII there was a buzz in the air. Parked alongside the field, fans spotted a bus. Could Florida State or Arizona have shown up for the game? Hopes ran high. Perhaps one of the teams had shown up. However, despite a valiant search by the fans not a sign of either team was found. It is speculated that the team got their early and wandered off perhaps to one of the many attractions offered in Beal City and never made their way back to the field for the game.

A picture of the bus parked near Frank Schafer Field at Tom Bowl VIII

The Lost Tom Bowl Trophy
In 1992 the Tom Bowl was very excited to present the brand new Tom Bowl Trophy. The crystal chalice with the words Tom Bowl 1992 was officially unveiled at Stanley P. Meade Field in New Canaan, CT for Tom Bowl III.

The following year was the darkest year in Tom Bowl history. Confusion over the identity of the teams participating, the location of the contest and other factors played havoc with the game (See below).

Somewhere during this dark time, the Tom Bowl trophy vanished. Rumor has it that the chalice is being held by Tom Bowl fans in Connecticut who are holding out for the return of the Tom Bowl to New Canaan. Thus, for the next four years there was no official Tom Bowl Trophy until the unveiling of the current Tom Bowl Trophy in 1997.

The Current Tom Bowl Trophy

Artist's rendition of the lost trophy

What happened to the original Tom Bowl Hall of Fame?

When the Tom Bowl dedicated the Tom Bowl Hall of Fame in October of 2001 the original hall building was a gleaming marble structure that was an inspiration to many. However a year later, that Hall of Fame vanished to be replaced by the current structure. What happened to the original hall of fame?

Sadly, many felt the first hall of fame had a strange cartoony look to it and it was drafty so in 2002 the decision was made to construct a new building. Not too long after that a devastating earthquake, flood, meteor shower, some kind of devastation took place and the old hall of fame was laid waste. Below are pictures of the original Tom Bowl Hall of Fame in better days and the devastation that has befallen it since.

Click on the pictures below for a close up picture.

The original Tom Bowl Hall of Fame in better days The original Tom Bowl Hall of Fame today

Was Tom Bowl IV ever played?
No one knows for sure if the 1993 Tom Bowl ever took place. The problem started because no one knew for sure where the game was going to be played. Three possibilities arose, continue at Stanley P. Meade Field for another year, move the game to Bucs Stadium in Grand Haven or hold it at Frank A. Schafer Field in Beal City, MI. No decision was made until it was just too late to pull off the contest. This was compounded by the collegiate football schedule that prevented invitations from going out until very late, giving the teams inadequate time to respond.

So the question will likely never be answered as to was the game played or not. Rumor has it that the teams may have shown up in Grand Haven, but there has been nothing substantial proving the point either way.

Did the teams show at Tom Bowl II?
The famous fog bowl will long live in the annals of Tom Bowl history. In 1990, a heavy fog rolled in shortly before the kick off of Tom Bowl II. The fog was thick, thicker than soup. It was as if a cloud had come down from above and shrouded Stanley P. Meade Field. With visibility so poor you could barely see the bottom of the bleachers from the top bleacher there was no way to know for sure if the two teams had even appeared. Thus forever the answer to whether the game was played is lost to history.

Artist's rendition of the view from the bleachers at Tom Bowl II