First Responder Bowl: The post-season college football game that honors first responders

When and where to watch the First Responder Bowl, plus a brief history of this unique event


By Editorial Staff

The First Responder Bowl is an NCAA post-season college football bowl subdivision (FBS) game that supports and honors first responders, including police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, correctional officers, search and rescue, dispatchers, security guards, federal agents, border patrol agents and military personnel who have specialized training, and are the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency.

The bowl game, which was previously known as the Heart of Dallas Bowl and the TicketCity Bowl, first began honoring first responders in 2014. In 2018, the game was renamed to reflect the appreciation of first responders.

The First Responder Bowl is an NCAA post-season college football bowl subdivision (FBS) game that supports and honors first responders.
The First Responder Bowl is an NCAA post-season college football bowl subdivision (FBS) game that supports and honors first responders. (Photo/FirstResponderBowl.com)

When is the 2022 First Responder Bowl?

The 2022 First Responder Bowl will be played Tuesday, Dec. 27. Kickoff time is to be determined.

Where is the 2022 First Responder Bowl?

2022 First Responder Bowl will be played at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Ford Stadium has served as the site of the last three contests.

Who’s playing in the First Responder Bowl?

The teams competing in this year’s bowl game have not yet been determined. However, the game is affiliated with several conferences – the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Conference USA (C-USA) and the Big 12, with the American Athletic Conference (AAC) as an alternate. The teams will be selected from these conferences.

A brief history:

  • Big 12: In June 2019, the Big 12 renewed its rotating appearance schedule with the First Responder Bowl through the 2025 postseason. 
  • ACC: In December 2019, the ACC announced a partial tie-in with the bowl beginning in the 2020 football season. 
  • C-USA: In May 2020, C-USA reached an agreement whereby it could send one or more teams to a pool of games, including the First Responder Bowl.

Who sponsors the First Responder Bowl?

Tennessee-based SERVPRO, a fire and water cleanup and restoration company, is the title sponsor for the 2022 First Responder Bowl.

How can I watch the First Responder Bowl?

The First Responder Bowl can be viewed on ESPN.

Who has played in previous First Responder Bowl games?

  • 2021: Air Force 31 vs. Louisville 28
  • 2020: Louisiana 31 vs. UTSA 24
  • 2019: Western Michigan 23 vs. Western Kentucky 20
  • 2018: Boston College vs. Boise State – Canceled due to severe weather
  • 2017: Utah Utes 30 vs. West Virginia Mountaineers 14
  • 2016: Army 38 vs. North Texas 31
  • 2015: Washington 44 vs. Southern Miss 31
  • 2014: Louisiana Tech 35 vs. Illinois 18
  • 2013: North Texas 36 vs. UNLV 14
  • 2012: Oklahoma State 58 vs. Purdue 14

What first responder charities are supported by the First Responder Bowl?

The First Responder Bowl supports three groups:

  1. The Guns and Hoses Foundation of North Texas provides support for the families of fallen officer and firefighters in our communities.
  2. The mission of NOBLE (the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives) is to ensure equity in the administration of justice in the provision of public service to all communities, and to serve as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed justice by action.
  3. The vision of the International Public Safety Association (IPSA) is a stronger, more integrated public safety community capable of an effective joint response to all incidents. The group represents all public safety disciplines: law enforcement, fire service, EMS, telecommunications, public works (water, sanitation, transportation), public health, hospitals, security, private sector, and emergency management.

How can others support first responders through the First Responder Bowl?

Submit a photo of a first responder you know to the Everyday Heroes Wall; it could be a friend, a loved one, a neighbor or even yourself.

What is “Responder Row”?

Each year, several nonprofits attend the game to provide free information and services to help first responders.

Do first responders get free tickets to the First Responder Bowl?

Yes, first responders can get up to four complimentary tickets to the game. Additional tickets are $25 each.

For additional information, please visit FirstResponderBowl.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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