by Laura Berthold Monteros
Sportswriters seem to be the worst offenders. The Tournament of Roses Parade is routinely renamed as “the Rose Bowl Parade.” Maybe that’s because for them, the Rose Bowl Game held in Pasadena is the center of the New Year’s celebration. There’s history to that; The Granddaddy of Them All, as it’s called, was the first post-season football bowl game. But the parade predates the game by 12 years and the sporting event was created to promote the parade, not the other way around.
In other words, there’s a parade and there’s a bowl, but there is no such thing as the Rose Bowl Parade.
The Tournament of Roses Parade was first held on Jan. 1, 1890. The game, then called the East-West Game, was first played on Jan. 1, 1902 between the University of Michigan and Stanford University. When the Rose Bowl Stadium was ready for football in 1923, the game took on the name of the venue.
While it’s also correct, and more common, to refer to the nearly six-mile-long pageant of flowers as the Rose Parade, it is never correct to call it the Rose Bowl Parade. There simply is no such animal in Pasadena.
The mistake is somewhat understandable. After all, the Floridian counterpart, the Orange Bowl Game, began in 1935 and the Orange Bowl Parade did not start until 1940. It was tied to the game, and folks have just assumed that the same thing is true of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. The Orange Bowl Parade saw its last order of march in 2002, but both the parade and game in Pasadena are still gliding along.
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association manages both events and the many celebrations surrounding them, but the Rose Parade is really the centerpiece. After Stanford, down 49-0, quit in the third quarter of the first game, the Tournament gave up on football and followed the Rose Parade with chariot or ostrich races instead. The game was reinstated on New Year’s Day in 1916. The West Coast team, Washington State, won over Brown, so football stuck around.