Since the first Rose Bowl Game, when Michigan played Stanford at Tournament Park, three different championship trophies have represented the Rose Bowl Game.
The first trophy, known as the Helms Trophy (Helms Hall of Fame), was a “perpetual trophy” presented to the winner of the game each year. This trophy used from 1902 through 1989 was given a new inscription each year with the name of the winning university. This large silver bowl is sculpted in roses and includes intricate design details.
Prior to 1989, the Rose Bowl Game champion did not receive their own trophy to take back to campus. However, the teams in the 1942 Rose Bowl Game, the only game played outside of Pasadena in Durham, North Carolina due to concerns surrounding World War II, did receive their own trophy. That year, host Duke University created a trophy for the victor of that year’s game, Oregon State also adding the names of the players and staff. The Duke University team was awarded the same trophy to acknowledge the great effort that allowed the Rose Bowl Game to be played that year under challenging circumstances.
The desire to create a Rose Bowl Game trophy that could be given to the winning university gave way to the creation of the second Rose Bowl Game trophy. In 1989, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses commissioned the Pasadena Arts School to create a design that could be adopted as the Game’s second trophy. This trophy donned a gold football on a marble base with silver goal posts stretching up to the sky. This trophy was used from 1989 until 2004.
As the structure of college football post-season bowls continued to evolve, the Tournament of Roses began the creative process of producing a trophy reflective of the greatest college football game in America – a trophy that would be an adequate representation of the “Granddaddy of Them All.”
The Rose Bowl Game’s third and current trophy, the Leishman Trophy, is handmade each year by Tiffany & Co. The trophy is approximately 21-inches tall and features a 3/4-size football rendered entirely in sterling silver. A replica of this trophy is located in the football room of the Tournament House along with the other two past Rose Bowl Game trophies. A new trophy is created each year for the champion and takes close to three months to complete.
The Leishman Trophy has only been altered once since its inception in 2005 to commemorate the 100th Rose Bowl Game in 2014. That trophy was trimmed in gold to honor the special occasion. This trophy, truly one-of-a-kind, can be found in the athletic department of that years’ champion, Michigan State University.by