The most unusual football game I ever saw was Princeton v. Dartmouth, the last game of the 1951 season. Dick Kazmaier ’52 had earned the Heisman Trophy and had been on the cover of Time (sometimes considered to be a bad omen). Friday evening, Dartmouth fans boasted that Kazmaier would never finish the game. Football helmets had no nose guards then, and in the middle of the game Kazmaier was out with a broken nose. A few plays later a Dartmouth player suffered a broken leg. It was no longer a football game, it was a vendetta.
One of our professors was psychologist Hadley Cantril, a nationally known Dartmouth alum, and I sat in his 8 a.m. lecture two days later. His opener was something like this:
“Gentlemen” (no women at PU then):
“There was a football game last Saturday. In fact, there were three games. There was the game that Princeton fans saw. There was the game that Dartmouth fans saw. Then there was the real game.
“These three games did not even resemble each other.”
Cantril then used psychology theory to demonstrate how most of us see what we want to see, and are blind to what we don’t wish to see. I will never forget the game (Princeton won, 13–0), or the lecture. They deserve to be preserved in the history of Princeton football.