Spaghetti Bowl (American football)

The Spaghetti Bowl was an American football game played in 1945 between military service teams.

Bowl gameEdit

1945 Spaghetti Bowl
1234 Total
12th Air Force 0000 0
5th Army 07130 20
DateJanuary 1, 1945
StadiumStadio Giovanni Berta
LocationFlorence, Italy
Halftime showBaton twirler Peggy Jean

The Spaghetti Bowl was an American football ("grid-iron" version) bowl game played between Fifth Army and Twelfth Air Force in Florence, Italy, on January 1, 1945.[1][2] During World War II, many American military units fielded American football teams that competed against NCAA football schools (For example, Randolph Field played in the 1944 Cotton Bowl, and two bowl games in Los Angeles and New York following the 1944 season to raise money for war bonds).

The Army squad was coached by Lou Bush, a former star for University of Massachusetts Minutemen in football and basketball who had also played baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals' farm system.[3][4] The 12th Air Force was skippered by George "Sparky" Miller, a former lineman and assistant coach with Indiana University.[4] The Spaghetti Bowl served as the de facto championship game between the service teams of the European military theater. Players for the Army included Philadelphia Eagles tackle Cecil Sturgeon, Georgetown wide receiver Arthur Remke, and former Negro All-American fullback John "Big Six" Moody.[4] Moody rushed for the first two touchdowns of the game, while Lemke caught the third and final touchdown.[1] The game was played at Stadio Giovanni Berta, but the location was kept secret, at least in the United States, for fear of an air raid by the Luftwaffe.[2]

There may have been other contests following the 1945 game: An Associated Press wire report notes a contest between American soldiers from Salzburg and airmen from Wiesbaden Army Airfield, played in Leghorn, Italy in 1953.[5]

Military Football game on January 1, 1945 in Florence, Italy: 5th Army vs Air Force.
Army Float and WAC Queen



  1. ^ a b "Spaghetti Bowl". Retrieved 2 January 2014. Archived version
  2. ^ a b "Spaghetti Bowl: Yanks have football game in Italy", Life Magazine, 29 January 1945, pages 74-75.
  3. ^ "Louis Bush". Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Big 9 Stars in Spaghetti Bowl Game". Associated Press. 23 December 1944.
  5. ^ "Soldiers Whip Airmen, 12-7, in Spaghetti Bowl". Chicago Tribune. 2 January 1953.
  6. ^ family scrapbook by Ruth Resnick, used by Jay Resnick

External linksEdit