Heritage Bowl

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Heritage Bowl (defunct)
Stadium Georgia Dome
Location Atlanta
Previous stadiums Joe Robbie Stadium (1991)
Bragg Memorial Stadium (1993)
Previous locations Miami Gardens, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Operated 1991–1999
Conference tie-ins MEAC, SWAC
Alamo (1991)[1]
Jim Walter Homes (1995)[2]
McDonald's (1996[3]–1999)[4]

The Heritage Bowl is a dormant Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) bowl game pitting a team from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) against a team from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

It was hoped that it would become a true national championship game for historically black universities,[1] but sometimes the conference champions declined the automatic bowl bid in order to participate in the Division I-AA playoffs instead. This was an especially common issue for the MEAC, often leaving its runner-up—or even its third seed, for the final two Heritage Bowls—to represent the conference. Because of the MEAC's unwillingness to guarantee that its champion would participate, the television contract was ended and eventually the game was too, even though attendance surpassed some higher division bowl games. Perhaps not coincidentally, the SWAC (which usually did send its champion because its extended regular season usually disqualified it from the playoffs) won most of the Heritage Bowls that were held. The game after the 1994 season was the only one to feature both conferences' top seeds.

The game was played in Miami Gardens, Florida in 1991, Tallahassee, Florida in 1993, and Atlanta from 1994–1999.[5] The Heritage Bowl was a successor to the Pelican Bowl, which pitted MEAC vs. SWAC teams during the 1970s.[6]

In 2010 a replacement for the Heritage Bowl, the "Legacy Bowl"—not to be confused with a later exhibition game of the same name—was proposed for the 2011 season, but MEAC officials voted it down.[7] In 2015, the two conferences finally reached an agreement to compete in the new Celebration Bowl.

Game results[edit]

Date played SWAC representative MEAC representative Venue Attendance
December 21, 1991 Alabama State * 36 North Carolina A&T 13 Joe Robbie Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida) 7,724
January 2, 1993 Grambling State 45 Florida A&M 15 Bragg Memorial Stadium (Tallahassee, Florida) 11,273
January 1, 1994 Southern * 11 South Carolina State 0 Georgia Dome (Atlanta, Georgia) 36,128
December 30, 1994 Grambling State * 27 South Carolina State * 31 Georgia Dome (Atlanta) 22,179
December 29, 1995 Southern 30 Florida A&M * 25 Georgia Dome (Atlanta) 25,164
December 31, 1996 Southern 24 Howard 27 Georgia Dome (Atlanta,) 18,126
December 27, 1997 Southern * 34 South Carolina State 28 Georgia Dome (Atlanta) 32,629
December 26, 1998 Southern * 28 Bethune–Cookman 2 Georgia Dome (Atlanta) 32,955
December 18, 1999 Southern * 3 Hampton 24 Georgia Dome (Atlanta) 29,561

Note: an asterisk denotes when the conference was represented by its outright champion or top-seeded co-champion


  1. ^ a b "Heritage Bowl: Can It Work?". articles.sun-sentinel.com. March 23, 1992. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Jim Walter Homes Heritage Bowl V: Florida A&M University vs. Southern University (game program)". prestoimages.com. 1995. 
  3. ^ "McDonald's Heritage Bowl VI: Southern University vs. Howard University (game program)". i.ebayimg.com. 1996. 
  4. ^ "McDonald's Heritage Bowl: Bethune–Cookman College vs. Southern University (game program)". i.ebayimg.com. 1999. 
  5. ^ The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). "Special Regular and Postseason Games: Heritage Bowl" (PDF). 2010 NCAA Division II-III Football Records. NCAA.org. p. 110. Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  6. ^ Reese, Earnest (December 21, 1996). "Heritage Bowl struggling for acceptance". The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. p. 9H. 
  7. ^ Sedrick Durr. "SWAC vs MEAC Postseason Bowl Game – Again?". jacksonadvocateonline.com. Retrieved December 29, 2015.