idea for a bowl game in Arizona first came about in 1968, when Arizona
University President G. Homer Durham proposed it at an athletic
banquet in 1968. At the time, the only bowl game outside of the
South was the Rose Bowl.
On January 10, 1970, a Phoenix group appeared before the NCAA
Extra Events committee and proposed the Fiesta Bowl, which was
to be a charitable venture with portions of the proceeds going
to the fight against drugs. Despite numerous proposals, the NCAA
had added only one bowl game in the 1960's, adding the Peach Bowl
in Atlanta, which also was a "charity game." The presentation
was so thorough that the chairman of the NCAA Extra Events Committee
Stan Bates said he had never seen such a prepared group, and that
he could "think of no important questions to ask."
Despite the excellent presentation, on April 27, 1970 the the
NCAA Council rejected all six bowl bids they had gotten. The group
from the Valley of the Sun didn't give up, though, and one year
later the council approved a bowl game for Arizona, and the Fiesta
Bowl was born.
In the thirty-plus years since, the Fiesta Bowl and its week long
celebration has become a standard for other bowl games to follow,
hosting four national championship games and continuing to pioneer
the way collegiate post-season football is celebrated.
Click here for all Fiesta Bowl results.