81st Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl
From the first Sugar Bowl in 1935 through this past year’s 80th Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic at the world-famous Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the goal of the event has remained the same - to create the best game possible. Over its storied football history, the Sugar Bowl Classic has hosted many of the best coaches, players, and teams in college football history. Forty-six Hall of Fame coaches have stalked the sidelines of the Sugar Bowl, while 15 Heisman Trophy winners and countless All-Americans have shown their skills in the New Orleans event. Throughout history, Sugar Bowl fans have had the opportunity to experience the brilliance of 23 national championship teams as well as seven match-ups between the top two teams in the nation - true national championship games.
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Sugar Bowl History
Throughout its 80-year history, the Sugar Bowl has remained one of the most prominent and successful voluntary non-profit organizations in the country. Since its founding by a group of civic enthusiasts led by businessman and attorney Warren Miller and sports journalist Fred Digby, the Sugar Bowl’s mission has remained the same: to stage amateur athletic events for the purpose of promoting the singular allure of New Orleans while creating a positive climate for the local economy by bringing more than 100,000 visitors annually to the Crescent City.
While Heisman Trophy winners in the bowl have been commonplace, there have been many other outstanding players in the Sugar Bowl Classic. The all-time list of Miller-Digby Award winners as the Most Outstanding Players of the Sugar Bowls reads like a who’s who list of NFL stars, beginning with 1948 winner Bobby Layne, the Texas star who went on to an NFL Hall of Fame career. Following Layne is a long line of MVPs who went on to professional greatness, including New Orleans-own Archie Manning (Ole Miss ), Kenny Stabler (Alabama), Herschel Walker (Georgia), Dan Marino (Pittsburgh), Bo Jackson (Auburn) and Jerome Bettis (Notre Dame).
In addition to the 44 Hall of Fame coaches the game has hosted, there have been 82 Sugar Bowl players who have gone on to the College Football Hall of Fame, including Tony Dorsett (Pittsburgh), Davey O’Brien (TCU), Deion Sanders (Florida State), Lee Roy Selmon (Oklahoma), Steve Spurrier (Florida) and Curt Warner (Penn State).
The tremendous tradition of the annual classic in the Crescent City led to the 2012 bowl season being a historic one for the Sugar Bowl Committee. Due to its legacy of excellence, the Sugar Bowl has been designated as one of four bowls which are part of the Bowl Championship Series (Sugar, Rose, Orange and Fiesta). These four bowls host five games each year and in 2012, the BCS national championship game - using the "stand alone’’ concept, meaning it has no official connection to any other game - was played here in New Orleans for the second time in its history with Alabama defeating LSU, 21-0, in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game. It was the 20th national college football champion crowned in New Orleans, the most of any bowl city since 1935.
The two weeks of tremendous football action hosted by the Sugar Bowl Committee continued the long history of the committee adhering to the vision of its founders. Studies conducted by Dr. Timothy P. Ryan showed the economic impact of both the Sugar Bowl and BCS National Championship game to be nearly a half a billion dollars. Over the last decade, the Sugar Bowl has generated over $2 billion of economic impact for the region.
Of course, this degree of success wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of the heart and soul of the Sugar Bowl organization - its volunteer membership. Some of today’s Sugar Bowl volunteers are direct descendants of the original group. Others are newcomers to the area ready and willing to contribute to a winning team. All are dedicated to the mission of spreading the name and fame of New Orleans worldwide.
Since its inception in 1935, the Sugar Bowl and New Orleans have been synonymous with the best that college football has to offer.