The first Mercy Bowl was played between Fresno State University and Bowling Green State University at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California on November 23, 1961 as a special fundraiser in memory of sixteen Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo football players killed in a plane crash following a game against Bowling Green a year earlier. The game raised $200,000 for the surviving widows and children and for a memorial in their honor. A second Mercy Bowl was not played until 10 years later. The 1971 edition was staged between Cal State Fullerton and Fresno State University in memory of the fourteen surviving children of three Cal State Fullerton assistant coaches and a pilot who died in an airplane crash a month earlier. The game was discontinued thereafter.
- ^ Walker, Ben (December 25, 2008). "Mercy Bowl helped a school heal". Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
- ^ Foldesy, Jody. "Bowls burgeon as big business", The Washington Times. December 21, 1997. Page A1.
List of college bowl games