Mercer's first football team was fielded in 1892, but the school did not consistently field teams until 1906. The sport was dropped in 1917 and 1918 during U.S. involvement in World War I, but returned after the war. After the 1941 season, with the beginning of U.S. involvement in World War II, Mercer dropped football again, but did not resume the sport after the war. The program was reinstated in 2013; the first game was on August 31, 2013, Mercer defeated (40-37) Reinhardt University in front of an overflow crowd of 12,172 at the Moye Complex.
On August 31, 2013, Mercer played its first game since 1941 before an overflow crowd of 12,172 spectators. The Bears' opponent, Reinhardt University, also revived its football program, having last played in 1920. In a thrilling game that saw multiple lead changes, Josh Shutter helped Mercer clinch the victory with a 31-yard field goal with three seconds left in the game. Mercer won 40-37.