Spaghetti Bowl (American football)

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

Bowl game[edit]

1945 Spaghetti Bowl
1 2 3 4 Total
12th Air Force 0 0 0 0 0
5th Army 0 7 13 0 20
Date January 1, 1945
Stadium Stadio Giovanni Berta
Location Florence, Italy
Halftime show Baton twirler Peggy Jean
Attendance 25,000

The Spaghetti Bowl was a football 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 UMass 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 location of the game was kept secret, at least in the United States, for fear of a German air raid, but was likely played at the Stadio Giovanni Berta.

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]


  1. ^ a b "Spaghetti Bowl". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  2. ^ Life Magazine - 29th January 1945
  3. ^ "Louis Bush". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  4. ^ a b c "Big 9 Stars in Spaghetti Bowl Game". Associated Press. 1944-12-23. 
  5. ^ "Soldiers Whip Airmen, 12-7, in Spaghetti Bowl". Chicago Tribune. 1953-01-02.