Well the highly promoted football game between legendary in-state rivals Illinois and Northwestern ended with a 48-27 victory for the Fighting Illini. Both Chicago newspapers are full of follow-up articles relative to the pros and cons of a repeat performance of football in decrepit Wrigley Field. My local northern Indiana newspaper ran a quick poll that reports 76% are opposed to a continuation and only 24% support future football games at the home of the Cubs.
Highly regarded sports columnist Rick Morrissey has an interesting article in the 11/21 Chicago Sun-Times at the link below:
In addition, closely associated with this discussion is the subject of my November 19th commentary on Wrigley Field. Should taxpayers throughout the State of Illinois support the renovation of the old ballpark? Take a look at Ameet Sachdev’s article in the 11/21 Chicago Tribune, which provides some interesting data.
Having viewed the game on ESPNU, which few cable subscribers actually have in their cable package, was interesting to say the least. I loved the resulting score being one of the three generations in my family to graduate from Illinois, but I found the venue to be lacking to say the least.
Yes, it was a novelty to have the game at legendary Wrigley Field, but unfortunately the physical dimensions just did not blend with the requirements of a football game. Due to the proximity of the Ivy covered walls, the teams were required to use only one end of the field for offensive plays alone and both teams shared the same sidelines. A huge number of fans had limited or obstructed views of the playing surface adding insult to injury where ticket prices were concerned.
In view of the recently announced plans or desires of the Cubs’ ownership to seek public funding of the ballpark’s renovation, it remains your Commander’s opinion that the Ricketts family should use their own money to upgrade the facility. Let’s be frank, the Ricketts benefited greatly by scheduling this Big Ten game in their park, and it was unique, but it should be a one time event given the limitations of the field.
Next year they should move the game to Soldier Field where a significantly larger number of Wildcat and Illini fans could enjoy the game. This would permit the game to be played safely on a field under normal playing requirements with unobstructed views of the entire field.
Playing the role of a provocateur, neither team set the football world on fire this year, but what would football officialdom have said had this game been of significance in the Big Ten title race? As I mentioned, it had to basically be played on one-half of the field. Let the Ricketts promote music concerts or outdoor hockey games to make additional revenue out of the decaying park. Keep football on a normal and safe field of play.