The Legends Trophy is a perpetual trophy awarded each year to the winner of the Notre Dame vs.
Stanford football game. The winning team retains The Legends Trophy until the next game, following
which, the trophy is immediately awarded to the winning coach and team. The Legends Trophy consists
of Irish crystal and California redwood, representing the familiar symbols of the universities.
Dublin Crystal manufactured the Irish crystal bowl in Dublin, Ireland, engraving on opposite sides
of the bowl the block “ND” and the block ”S”. The three-tier redwood base includes brass plaques
commemorating the score of each game played since 1925. The Legends Trophy was developed by the Notre
Dame Alumni Clubs of Northern California, and was first presented in 1989 to Lou Holtz and Notre Dame.
The Legends Trophy honors both the winning team and the memory of the first game played between the two universities in the 1925 Rose Bowl game, which is considered by many as being played by more “Legends” of college football than in any game in history. The undisputed national championship of college football was at stake, and was described by a sports historian as “The Man versus the Machine.” Notre Dame had become feared and famous for speed, with a quartet of fleet backs. Stanford stressed power and counted on its roster a blond, hulking fullback playing on two injured ankles, numbingly taped. He was virtually unstoppable. The game’s heroes will be remembered as long as Americans play football... Knute Rockne, “Pop” Warner, the Four Horsemen and the Seven Mules, and “The Man” Ernie Nevers. Notre Dame was victorious, 27-10, in the 11th Rose Bowl held on January 1, 1925, which had an attendance of 53,000 and was the first time in radio history a Pacific coast event was broadcasted directly to the East coast.
The friendly rivalry and mutual respect between the two universities has grown and continues to this day. Notre Dame leads the series 19-11, which has been played annually since 1988. The importance of The Legends Trophy is perhaps best characterized when Tyrone Willingham kept it in his office while serving as Stanford's head coach. He reported that the purpose of the trophy was to impress potential Stanford football recruits as they sat in his office for an interview. He is quoted as saying that he pointed to The Legends Trophy, and said to the recruit --- “this is why you should come to Stanford; to beat Notre Dame.”