Highlights from the History of Needham in 100 objects
Needham Wellesley Football rivalry
Football - Needham v. Wellesley 100th Anniversary Football Game; played on November 25, 1982 at Memorial Park, Needham;
Score: Needham High: 36, Wellesley High: 12

Football was different in the days when Needham and Wellesley High Schools played their first game in 1882. The big, round, football cost $3.50, and a fundraiser had to be organized to buy one. The Needham team showed up in Wellesley on their old fashioned high-wheeled bicycles. Since the Wellesley team was short two men, a recruiter was sent into the crowd to find replacements. Although Wellesley won the game, 4-0, both teams had so much fun they made the game an annual occurrence.

In 1887, the temperature at game time was 11 degrees below zero. Every time a player got near the opposing goal the fans would rush out and knock him down. In 1888 the father of one of the Needham players decided to revert back to his youth and rejoin the squad. In 1896 the opening kickoff went into the crowd and the ball couldn't be found for half an hour. Finally, rule books were distributed and the games became more regulated.

When the 100th Anniversary game was played in 1982 the rules of the game were strictly enforced. Fans lined up hours in advance to cheer their team, and past team captains were introduced to tremendous applause. Modern football games may be more organized, but it is doubtful that they are as entertaining as the early ones.

As of 2017, 130 games have been played. The tally stands at: Wellesley: 62, Needham: 59, 9 ties.
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Football of the Centennial football game between NHS and WHSFootball of the Centennial football game between NHS and WHS