That’s right, you read the headline correctly. Two organizations defined by their tradition of perpetual sucking losing are in talks to merge their “lovable” losing together.Â
Apparently Northwestern is attempting to schedule a football game or two at Wrigley Field during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Naturally, the proposed opponent for the game appears to be the Illinois Fighting Illini and their water-skiiing maniac of a coach Ron Zook.
Zook Eyes Game at Wrigley Field — (ESPN Chicago)
Zook, appearing on the “Waddle and Silvy” show on ESPN 1000 on Monday morning, said he would love the chance for the two Big Ten rivals to square off in the “Friendly Confines.”
“Well, to be honest with you, we were there last night and walking around with the people there and I just think it would be an awesome venue,” Zook said. “Obviously, until just a couple years ago, there had been more NFL games played in that stadium than any other stadium, and there hasn’t been a game played there since 1970.
“And can you imagine the national media? I think it would be great to have that opportunity. I’m probably speaking out of turn, the higher-ups make the decisions, obviously.”
Playing a football game at Wrigley would certainly not be unprecedented, as the Bears played there from the 1920s through the building of Solider Field in 1970. Additionally, Northern Illinois played Iowa at Wrigley Field back in 2007.
Northwestern Pushes for Football Game versus Illinois at Wrigley Field — (Chicago Tribune)
We are continuing a dialogue with Illinois,â€ Phillips said. â€œWithin the next month or so, weâ€™ll decide if itâ€™s something that can work. There are a lot of moving parts, but itâ€™s something I will pursue aggressively.â€¨â€¨
â€œI thought of how good the Northern Illinois-Iowa game was at Soldier Field. This may be the next great venue for a special game.â€â€¨â€¨
As NIUâ€™s athletic director at the time, Phillips was the point man for the Huskies-Iowa game, which sold out Soldier Field on Sept. 1, 2007. Iowa won 16-3, and Hawkeyes fans filled at least two-thirds of the 61,500 seats.
Among the details still to be worked out (ALERT! Someone please notify the AP that I am about to link to them and send traffic their way…) for any Northwestern-Illinois game at Wrigley are the financial considerations and the logistics of turning Wrigley Field into a stadium where the home team actually wins venue fit for a college football game. One of the biggest questions is about player safety and about whether there is enough space behind the end zones and on the sidelines to ensure the well-being of the players.
We’ll see what happens with this one. All kidding and Cubs hatred aside, I think this would be a pretty damn cool thing for Northwestern, Illinois, the Big Ten, and sports fans in Chicago. Plus, no one would have to worry about Northwestern or Illinois winning a National Championship and spoiling the history of home team futility at Wrigley.
* – Football at Wrigley Field photo credit: Tribune File Photo
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