Friday, November 19, 2010

Big Ten Reconfigures Wrigley Football Game

By Tony Mangia

It took 72 years for football for college football to reappear at Wrigley Field and Big Ten officials waited 24 hours before game time to decide  the layout of the field was awkward and unsafe.  The Big Ten geniuses waited until the 11th hour to figure out that fitting a rectangle into a triangle isn't as easy as it sounds and announced that all offensive plays will face into the west end of the stadium.  Don't they have tape measures in Chicago?

Tomorrow's Northwestern vs. Illinois game will be altered after both teams complained that the six-inch distance between the east end end zone and the "padded" wall was too dangerous.   Now the teams will only play towards the west end zone--meaning teams will switch sides after each possession.

The ivy shrouded brick walls are now covered with padding which makes the whole stadium look like a giant high-school gym.  Oh yeah, watch out for the third-base dugout which borders the east end zone.

Apparently the "Friendly Confines" of Wrigley only applies to one end.  Talk about 'old-school', this takes it to a new level--backyard football.  Did anyone mention that the oak tree on the left side is out-of-bounds and someone should mark that woodchuck hole at the forty-yard line.  There's a 'three-Mississippi' count too.

I don't know what all the fuss is about.  Officials should be commended for looking out for the player's safety but if arena football can be played with a wall on every side, what's a bumper at one end?  The people who paid premium prices for seats behind the Mel Hall Memorial in right field should be angry.  They'll be looking at the offensive linemen's giant asses all day.

The Big Ten announced the drastic rule changes due to the unique layout of the field and the problems the squared football boundaries posed in the baseball stadium. The novel rule changes include:
--All offense will be played into the west end of the stadium
--All kickoffs will be directed to the east end
--After a change of possession, the ball will will be switched so the offense faces west

There was a coin-toss conference call on Friday morning and it was decided that Illinois will occupy the west-team bench for the first half.  Northwestern will take the west-team bench for the second half and any overtime periods.

In between all of the teams' switching sides and general confusion there's bound to be a bunch of off-sides and too-many-men-on-the-field calls.  This could be more fun than outdoor NHL. Here's hoping a swirling wind blows in from the east, adding to the calamity. 

While # 25 Northwestern plays for a better bowl game position against the Fighting Illini in the "Land of Lincoln Trophy" game in the first collegiate football game at Wrigley Field since 1938, Notre Dame and Army gear up for the new Yankee Stadium's first game.  Hope those officials in New York took measurements beforehand.

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