Turkey Bowl by the Numbers: New Canaan, Darien and the historic football rivalry

The 2015 Darien Blue Wave hoist the Coaches Memorial Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Turkey Bowl each season. -Dave Stewart photo
The 2015 Darien Blue Wave hoist the Coaches Memorial Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Turkey Bowl each season. —Dave Stewart photo

There’s nothing quite like the rivalry between the Darien and New Canaan football teams and this week’s Wave by the Numbers takes a look at some of the history of the game which has been dubbed the “Turkey Bowl.”

The two rivals will clash again at 10:30 a.m., Thanksgiving day, at Stamford’s Boyle Stadium, and there’s plenty at stake. As was the case last fall, New Canaan (7-2) is trying to clinch a state tournament berth, while Darien (9-0) is looking to keep its record perfect.


Meetings between the New Canaan and Darien football teams during the 90-year history of the rivalry.


New Canaan’s advantage in the rivalry. Darien won the first meeting, 26-6, way back in 1928 in a game played at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club on Middlesex Road in Darien. New Canaan scored its first win of the rivalry the following year by a score of 13-12. New Canaan’s team was not yet known as the Rams, instead going as the “Red and Black.”


Score of last year’s Turkey Bowl game, won by New Canaan at Stamford’s Boyle Stadium. The result broke Darien’s 34-game winning streak but the Wave came back to win the next three games for a third consecutive state championship. The Rams’ Thanksgiving win clinched a Class L playoff berth, and New Canaan was eventually knocked out in the semifinals.


The year the New Canaan-Darien rivalry game moved to Thanksgiving and was dubbed the “Turkey Bowl.” The Rams took that first edition of the holiday game, 14-0, and also won the following year, 28-7, before Darien picked up its first Turkey Bowl win, 21-20, in 1996.


New Canaan’s advantage in the Turkey Bowl series.


New Canaan’s current place in the CIAC Class LL standings. The Rams need a victory over Darien in order to clinch a tournament berth. The top eight teams in each class qualify.


Darien’s current place in the CIAC Class LL standings. The Blue Wave has clinched a playoff berth, but needs a victory over New Canaan in order to guarantee a home game for the quarterfinals. They are one of five unbeaten teams in Class LL.


Consecutive years in which the the Rams have qualified for the state tournament. That run includes eight state championships, including four straight from 2006 to 2009, and 2013-2016.


Consecutive Darien wins in the Turkey Bowl from 2012 to 2016. The 2013 and 2014 Thanksgiving games doubled as the FCIAC final.


Consecutive state championships for the Darien Blue Wave. They defeated Shelton 39-7 in 2015, Ridgefield 28-7 in 2016, and Greenwich 31-22 in 2017.


Darien’s advantage in the rivalry during the past eight meetings. While there have been many momentum shifts in the series, the Wave has had the edge of late, despite losing last year.


New Canaan’s Turkey Bowl undefeated streak which ran from 2002 to 2011. The Rams won 40-22 in 2002; the 2003 game resulted in a 14-14 tie; New Canaan then went on an eight-game winning streak. That included a 13-0 season in 2008, when the Rams defeated Darien in both the FCIAC and Class MM finals.


Darien’s longest winning streak in the rivalry. The Blue Wave’s streak ran from 1947 through 1964. That run also includes the largest margin of victory in the rivalry’s history, as Darien won 70-0 in 1962. The two teams did not play from 1950-55.


Record of New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli against Darien. Marinelli, who joined the Rams in 1981, was 11-11 through 22 meetings, but New Canaan’s 11-game win streak in the 2000s put it well ahead of Darien.


Record of Darien head coach Rob Trifone against New Canaan, although that record is deceiving as the Wave was 0-6 against the Rams to start Trifone’s run. Since then, they’ve won five of eight games.