The genius of invention: The hoax that will go down in Rose Bowl history

The 1961 Rose Bowl on January 2nd was between the Washington Huskies and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Over 100,000 fans were in attendance and, with the live television coverage from NBC, millions were glued to their sets for this momentous game. Sports bars and restaurants were filled to the brim with spectators. This was before the era of electronic scoreboards, so a common way to cheer a team on was to arrange various specially seated people to hold up flip cards at specific times. What happened on this January not only went down in sports history but proved the ingenuity of a plan gone well.

In this game, the marching band from the Washington team was involved with a coordinated effort along with students that were seated in the flip card seats. Once they heard a signal, they were to hold up their cards. Each student had an instruction sheet to indicate which card and which side should be displayed. When all of the cards were seen together, they would convey a message. This was quite an elaborate plan, as they coordinated fifteen different images to be flipped and displayed.