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Pitt Football Firsts


Numbered jerseys. Broadcasts of games. Teams traveling by plane. All of these were Pitt football innovations.

In 1908, Pitt became the first football team to wear numbers on its jerseys, a godsend to coaches, officials, and players themselves—and especially to fans in the cheaper seats.

Pitt participated in the first college football game ever broadcast on radio when the Panthers hosted West Virginia University in 1921. The action was called by KDKA’s Harold W. Arlin, radio’s first full-time announcer.

The Panthers also were the first college team to travel by airplane, for a 1939 game against the University of Washington. Twenty years later, Pitt got a flight upgrade when the Panthers became the first team to travel by jet, booking space in the rear of a jet airliner to Los Angeles, Calif.