1974 Nose Bowl team

Nose Bowl – U of Florida’s Tradition of Gridiron Sportsmanship

Every year, the Florida Delta chapter goes nose to nose with rival fraternity TEP in the vaunted  “Nose Bowl,” one of the longest-running sports traditions in U of Florida and Pilam history. For over 70 years, new member classes from Pilam and TEP have tested their mettle on the football field. Over the years, the storied game has been covered in Sports Illustrated and broadcast live on local cable TV.

1986 Nose Bowl Broadcast

On October 24, 2021, Pilam and TEP once again squared off in front of alumni, friends, family and supporters. To the delight of our brothers and alumni, Pilam won the Nose Bowl 12-6! 

A spirited rivalry

According to Joey Hecht (PC Fall ’73), the Nose Bowl was named by brothers with a good natured sense of humor to “acknowledge the prominent proboscis” shared by the players. Rooted in fraternal pride and spirited competition, the Nose Bowl can be a heated rivalry every bit as impassioned as the Gators vs. Seminoles.  

A lot of these young men from Pilam and TEP grew up together in South Florida, but joined rival fraternities in college. Alumni admitted that on field, the talk can get a little ugly, but Pilam teaches new members to “kill them with kindness.” Lining up on the other side of the ball and dominating play after play accounts for any smack talking that one can ever do.

We win as a team. We win as Pilam.

The Nose Bowl is more than a gridiron struggle to the Florida Lammies, it’s a competition that teaches life lessons. It’s been woven into the fabric of a new member program that teaches sportsmanship, tradition, unity, and brotherhood.

Before Xs and Os, new members are taught the Pilam philosophy of sportsmanship. 

  • Be competitive and be a gentleman.
  • Celebrate success as a team.
  • When you flag a competitor, hand it back to him.
  • If your opponent talks trash, walk away.
  • Have fun and maintain your composure.

Even though there’s fierce pride for brothers like Romano Muniz (PC Fall ’05) in saying, “we won our Nose Bowl,” the lesson here is, play the game right and you will always win as a team and win as Pilam, even if you don’t win on the scoreboard.

Nose Bowl Week

Nose Bowl Week is full of anticipation and preparation. The whole brotherhood bears down, dispensing with trivial matters like shaving to signify their focus on the game. During the week, new members are prepared for the game and treated like royalty. The house is decorated and plastered with letters of encouragement from alumni. 

The alumni even offer themselves up for a scrimmage, running the same play book as the pledge team, but probably requiring more athletic tape and time outs.

Game Day

2015 Nose Bowl group

Game day begins Sunday morning with the pledges eating breakfast surrounded by the brotherhood and family. Then the head coach introduces a prominent alumni for a speech to the pledges before a final pep talk from the head coach himself. 

Darryl Sicker 2021 Nose Bowl Speech

New members, donning the jerseys of their big brothers, run through the “gauntlet,” a tunnel of cheering of brothers before they load into a parade of cars. On the way to the field, the parade is cheered by supporters and jeered by opponents. 

In 1968, Tony Dobies coached the team to victory in a tan corduroy jacket. On game day, that same coach’s jacket is released from mothballs. And ever since, the Pilam coach has worn the same “beat up, nasty” jacket with the score of every Nose Bowl written on the inside lining.

Throngs of alumni, family and fans show up to cheer on their teams with Pilam alumni dressed sharply in suits and ties. For the first score, they storm the field to celebrate as a team.

The tradition means everything to brothers

Matt Adler was a pledge in ’81. His Nose Bowl did not go well. Pilam was shut out and Matt was knocked out of the game. He never got over it. It’s rumored that he “walked the earth” until he found an unbeatable flag football system. He brought this system back to the fraternity, and throughout the 1980s Pilam dominated, winning eight years in a row. They still use this system today.

Chris Chabot ’91 (PC Fall ’87) said, “I had the privilege of playing professional basketball in Europe for 11 years after school and have forgotten many of the 100’s of games I played, but I can give you a play-by-play recap of our 42-20 Nose Bowl victory. I played one play at the end of the game and had an interception off the guy I graduated high school with the year before. My pledge brother David Smith reminds me every time I see him that I should have pitched him the ball as he had his sights on the endzone.”

Why Pilam always wins

Traditionally, new members are “encouraged” to discretely enter the the fraternity house through the back door. But after a hard fought Nose Bowl, they are welcomed through the front door by the brotherhood whether they won by the score, or they won as Pilam. Either way, they’re welcomed as winners.

Snaps to the Florida Delta chapter! Traditions like this are a testament to Pi Lambda Phi’s dedication to character building.

Thanks to Joey “Hot Dog” Hecht (PC Fall ’73), Dean Fishman (PC Fall ’90), Romano Muniz (PC Fall ’05) and Joe Nascimento (PC Fall ’02) for sharing their stories.

Article written by Shawn Mahoney (Temple University ’92)