|Heritage Bowl (defunct)|
|Previous stadiums||Joe Robbie Stadium (1991)
Bragg Memorial Stadium (1993)
|Previous locations||Miami Gardens, Florida
|Conference tie-ins||MEAC, SWAC|
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, 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. The Heritage Bowl was a successor to the Pelican Bowl, which pitted MEAC vs. SWAC teams during the 1970s.
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. In 2015, the two conferences finally reached an agreement to compete in the new Celebration Bowl.
|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
- "Heritage Bowl: Can It Work?". articles.sun-sentinel.com. March 23, 1992. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
- "Jim Walter Homes Heritage Bowl V: Florida A&M University vs. Southern University (game program)". prestoimages.com. 1995.
- "McDonald's Heritage Bowl VI: Southern University vs. Howard University (game program)". i.ebayimg.com. 1996.
- "McDonald's Heritage Bowl: Bethune–Cookman College vs. Southern University (game program)". i.ebayimg.com. 1999.
- 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.
- Reese, Earnest (December 21, 1996). "Heritage Bowl struggling for acceptance". The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. p. 9H.
- Sedrick Durr. "SWAC vs MEAC Postseason Bowl Game – Again?". jacksonadvocateonline.com. Retrieved December 29, 2015.