This past winter I wrote about the 1909 season in Hail to the Victors 2009, a Michigan preseason football guide. The 1909 Minnesota game was the first time the teams met since the jug was left behind in 1903, and the first in which the trophy was at stake. Wondering whether it had really survived for a century, I read what I could find about its history. Since the news accounts from the 1930s were so contradictory, I started to snoop around, beginning by talking to the men who have protected it over the years.
Michigan equipment manager Jon Falk has had custody of the jug for most of his thirty-six years on the job. Falk says that his understanding is that the trophy he's got tucked away is indeed the real thing. Retiree Bob Hurst, who started at the department in 1945 and worked directly with Hank Hatch, equipment manager from 1919 to 1964, says he was always told the jug was genuine.
On the other sideline, Oscar Munson had dismissed the "Cadillac" trophy but vouched for the one found in the bushes: "It's the original jug, all right," he said before the 1935 game, "and I'm the only one who knows." Longtime Gopher equipment manager Dick Mattson, who served from 1963 to 2008, agrees. Though Minnesota held the prize only six times during his tenure, "it's the original jug," Mattson insists.
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