About the Shrine Bowl
Story Behind The Logo
Shrine Bowl fans are familiar with the event’s logo. The image of a football player walking with a young girl appears on game posters, billboards, T-shirts, and on the event’s website. It’s an iconic image that tells the story of the special bond between college football and Shriners Children’s.
In 1974, a 2-year-old patient named Nicole received care at Shriners Hospitals for Children® – San Francisco (later Shriners Children’s Northern California). She was born with Holt-Oram syndrome, a genetic condition that affects bones in the arms and hands. For Nicole, this meant that her thumbs had not fully developed. To provide more functionality, surgeons removed her thumbs and repositioned her index fingers in their place. This procedure would allow Nicole to comb her hair, button a shirt, hold a cup and be independent.
On the same day, she was recovering from her first surgery, football players from the 1974 East-West Shrine Game visited the hospital. A tradition during the week of events leading up to the big football game, the visit allows players to interact with patients and learn more about Shriners Children’s.
One of the players, Mike Esposito, noticed Nicole because she appeared scared and was crying. Esposito took her hand to calm her down, and they walked down the hallway together. A photographer from a local newspaper noticed the scene and snapped a photo of the two new friends. The image perfectly depicts our mission and inspired the official logo of the Shrine Bowl.
The newspaper image of Nicole and Mike Espoisito taken by Ken Yimm, Peninsula Times-Tribune, at the East-West Shrine Game players visit to Shriners Children’s in 1974.