Update:  Cubs Response

Let the darts start flying.  The official Cubs response is below.  Wow. This is getting ugly interesting.


CHICAGO – Cubs President Crane Kenney today released the following statement in response to tomorrow’s rule changes for the football game between Northwestern and Illinois at Wrigley Field.

“The Chicago Cubs are surprised by the Big Ten’s last-minute statement regarding changes for tomorrow’s Northwestern-Illinois football game at Wrigley Field. Let there be no doubt: the safety of the student-athletes has been – and remains – the number one priority since the concept of this game was first discussed more than a year ago, and all parties have gone to complete lengths to ensure student-athlete safety for this contest.

“The essential item in our negotiations to host the football game at Wrigley Field was obtaining approval of both universities and the Big Ten for the field dimensions as related to player safety issues. The field dimension layout was delivered to the Big Ten approximately eight months ago and was approved by the conference. Last month, the field was built exactly to the dimensions previously approved by the Big Ten. Last week, a Big Ten official performed an on-site visit at Wrigley Field, participated in a field walk-thru and raised no issue with the field dimensions, painted lines and boundaries previously approved by the Big Ten.

“This game would not have been scheduled if it did not pass the strict and meticulous standards of everyone involved, a process that began more than a year ago. All are in agreement Wrigley Field is a safe venue to host a football game. Other baseball parks, including tomorrow night’s game in Yankee Stadium, feature similar football field-to-venue grid dimensions and rule changes are not considered for football games played in other baseball parks.

“We have reached out to the Big Ten to further discuss the playing field. While we are surprised by this morning’s last-minute statement, all agree that tomorrow will be an historic event and a wonderful experience for the fans, the schools and the student-athletes.”


Update: How the Decision Came To Be

Kudos to Adam Rittenberg for this update – click here. He was all over the backstory which everyone has been clamoring for today.

AND, as pointed out by you, we are now headline sports news on NY Times. Click here.  Let the PR conspiracy theorists unite.

AND, we’re know getting the pump primed across mainstream sports bloggery as “you ain’t nobody ’til Deadspin writes about you”.  Click here for more carnage.

Earlier Post

After weeks of posturing about safety concerns and walls being padded, officials have announced tomorrow’s game will have every possession going west. Click here for the full announcement. In the 11th hour, the “charm” of the short field and FGs going out on to Sheffield are now gone.  Ultimately, the potential for injury in to an ironically branded Allstate padded wall won the day.  I have to admit I’m selfishly disappointed as the game flow will feel very awkward, but obviously the last thing I want is to see anyone get hurt.  I’ve been told by several firsthanders that the padding on that wall is so thick and soft it was safe. 

Every time there is a change of possession, the ball will be repositioned.  It will be an odd flow to a game and likely have a negative impact on the overall experience, but such is the reality.  NOW let’s reexamine the strategy on this craziness as sideline positioning becomes huge as NU better take the home field advantage route of being the team close to the west end zone.  Let the breakdown begin. I’ve been getting pings from around the country including LA that this safety issue was on local news.  However, I would be mighty ticked off if I were sitting towards the east end zone.  Thoughts?

  • Illinois now gets the west half of the sideline in the 1st half, then Northwestern takes it for the 2nd half and any OT periods. So that advantage is gone.

    However, I do like the fact that the wind will likely prevent many touchbacks. I think that’s an advantage for us. And hopefully the officials can respot the ball pretty quickly. Many change of possessions are accompanied by a media timeout, anyways.

  • Adam

    The student section is right behind the East endzone, so we got totally hosed, and correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the Illinois allotment tickets concentrated around the West endzone? This could hurt our homefield…

    On the other hand, it may make field goal kicks a little easier with the wind-protective backdrop of the stands, and I predict NU to have to kick lots of field goals with the young QB, so maybe that’s OK…

  • Mike

    Regardless of how thick or soft that padding is, a guy losing his feet or getting pushed and going head-first into it could be catastrophic. It sucks, but I think it’s the right call. This probably helps the kicking game. I assume the winds will be more manageable at the west end of the stadium.

  • Chadnudj

    Here are the official rules:

    * All offensive plays will head toward the west end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions.

    * All kickoffs will be kicked toward the east end zone.

    * After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the west end zone.

    * As a result of a coin toss held by the conference office Friday morning, Illinois will occupy the west team bench in the first half and Northwestern will occupy the west team bench in the second half and for all overtime periods.

  • AdamDG

    They’re switching sides of the sideline by half.

    This is annoying because it takes our student section out of the game. The East FG kicking experiment is also over before it began.

    Hope this doesn’t become the media focus of the entire game…

  • cece

    let the blamestorm begin! exactly who was involved in setting the field up in this way? what
    NU and Illinois staff, what engineers and lawyers? and then let’s decide if these people deserve
    their pay and their jobs.

  • Cranston

    Lame. This is now taking on a gimmicky feel.

  • D

    This is unbelievable. Of course, my 4 tickets are now going to be ridiculously far from the action. We are stuck in the right field corner, 200 level. These were formerly decent tickets, now reduced to reubbish. At this point I’d just as soon sell them and watch from home. As a season ticket holder for multiple seasons, I will unfortunately be canceling my tickets next season unless there is some sort of compensation to the people that are getting screwed by this. I love NU but I have gotten screwed multiple different times on this whole game. What a fiasco.

  • David in Dallas

    The key quote in the article I just read is this:

    ” … playing the Illinois-Northwestern game at this facility will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for student-athletes, coaches and fans.”

    Once-in-a-lifetime. They obviously won’t be doing this again. I am glad I will be there, and I am glad my tickets are in the west end zone!


    Note that student section noise makes most impact on defense and if NU pins Illinois deep this could be a factor, since Illinois will likely have little to no noise on that end of field when NU has the ball deep.

  • Scooter

    So, I paid $150 for my ticket, it’s right by the east endzone. What is the appropriate channel to complain to the university about this? I respect that student safety concerns are of utmost importance, but they should have thought of this before they sold high priced tickets to now crappy seats.

  • Adam

    Ticked off is a nice way of saying it. I expected the $600 I spent on 4 seats to put me closer to the action. Apparently years of giving money to NU screwed me. I really hope they have a plan to make this right with season ticket holders. Dibs on Watkins game jersey.

  • DBCat

    Great–I have tickets in section 239, and I won’t see SQUAT happening anywhere near me for my hundred bucks. I’ll definitely be bringing my binoculars now, and I will DEFINITELY be sending angry email to the ticket office demanding some portion of that $100 ticket be refunded to me!!

  • Ron

    Let’s count now, how many ways was the leadup to this game screwed up by the C- I mean by Northwestern. Seriously, though, this one smacks of having the Cubs handprints all over it. They wanted the event, the revenue and the exposure for themselves at least as much as NU did. And the Ricketts probably figured they could accomplish this without worrying about the details. And once again, everyone gets hosed.

    My seats, in 126, actually just got immeasurably better. But I don’t think it will at all feel like a football game. It’s pure stunt at this point, and it’s very disappointing. Should have played the game in Evanston.

  • Kasey in Chicago

    Somebody couldn’t have figured this out soon. My 20 yard line seat are in the East endzone. My 15 years worth of season tickets (priortiy points) got me nothing!

  • cdmarine

    Um… what happens on a pick or fumble?

    This whole thing just went from kind of awesome to likely fiasco. Oh man.

  • This doesn’t mean that half the action (on average) won’t still take place on the east side of the field. And most people aren’t going to be thinking about it that much after the first few drives.

  • Lake The Posts

    @all – I just put in an email to my high-level connects at NU to help get you the place to best channel your frustration. Hang tight…info coming soon.

  • Lake The Posts

    @all – what about punts? Will teams need to change direction BEFORE the punt?

  • Gopher Fan

    As a neutral observer, my opinion is that the Big Ten office hosed you (i.e. Delaney). Everyone else at both schools knew what this looked like WELL in advance and still signed off on things. But suddenly a free “are the kids safe” articles get written and the plug gets pulled? That smells like the conference making the call.

    Bad deal all around. I’ve watch Northwestern’s big marketing moves this year with interest and aside from all the fans getting screwed I just feel bad for your school/athletic dept. Lame, lame, lame.

  • @LTP

    The only restriction is starting a drive going east and the safety concern is on passing plays. Only offensive TDs are out because of this rule, but everything else proceeds as is. The ball will only change sides of the field after a change in possession.

  • Adam

    NU AD on ESPN 1000 right now…says he thought this might happen.

  • d

    While the announcement is disappointing, I hope the positive spin on it is that our fans can hopefully have a real effect on Illinois’ offense anytime they are behind the 30 yard line on the east side. The seats are so close to the field there, and with their bench on the west side in the first half, I hope that our fan base makes it as difficult as possible to push the ball up to midfield.

    I feel for the students. Hopefully they get to see an NU pick-6 or a kick return to their end zone.

  • MF

    This sucks! Again, too late now, but why can’t two NCAA teams agree to play on a field that is less than 100 yards, like 98 yards and put the midfield line on the 49? Seems like less of a gimmick than both teams on one sideline and playing with one endzone. I’m not impressed by the safety issue: Those pads are softer than the ground and the opponent’s equipment.

  • Chadnudj

    Yeah, we’re getting screwed by the Big Ten. All of this could have been fixed 2 years ago — making the field slightly smaller (2 feet 11 inches for each yard instead of 3 feet would have given a 10 foot buffer, for example, without really impacting individual plays/strategy). Now? Ticket holders are screwed, the game is a circus….just embarassing.

    And we lose the coolest visual — the chance for XPs/FGs to go onto Waveland, and/or the student section “throwing back” Illinois FGs.

  • ravenswood cat

    The advantage here is to the smarter and better-coached team. UIUC’s defense will be just as confused as many online commentators about which way to run after a turnover.

  • Matt

    Imagine my excitement when I turn on sports talk radio here in Atlanta (99% SEC football talk…even in the spring!), and I hear the name Pat Fitzgerald! Then they start talking about what a joke Big Ten officials are. Great. This has turned into a fiasco. I totally agree safety has to come first, but clearly the planning for this was terrible. The fan experience will be diminished and so will an opportunity for the Big Ten (and NU) to shine on a national stage.

  • Sam

    I can see it now: an INT is returned all the way to the 5-yard line on the east side of the field, and then NU has to march all the way back to the 5-yard line on the west side of the field–away from the students–to punch it in for the score. Boooooooooo.

  • Section 126

    Lawyers 2 – Fans 0
    First they nix the cool visual the team taking the El to the game would have created, now this.
    Why not just shorten both endzones by two yards and move on…. easy, common sense solutions… but that’s not what lawyers get paid for.
    Oh well… my seats just got a lot better, but I feel bad for most, especially the students.
    West side of sideline should be huge advantage in second half, when Ilini defenders will hopefully be gassed… Fitz-genius will use it to NU’s advantage.
    Cats 52 – Illannoy 3
    Go Cats!

  • cece

    NU AD says he thought this might happen? so…..where was the plan to make sure that
    would not happen? as in putting the field in another direction? and telling the Cubs that
    they are on the legal hook, which will surely come after NU now? maybe your lawyers
    planned for it in your contract. or maybe your lawyers are the same lawyers who were
    handling the Prof. Protess matter. is there an NU pix up on Fail Blog?

  • Adam

    @Section 126 – Good point! The thing being lost in all this is what a huge advantage this gives our hurry up offense in the second half. The pace of that offense is most effective late in the game and they will not have any chance to make substitutions at the pace we run. Even more so, when they do the players will have to sprint an additional 30-50yds before the play. Tactically, this is a major advantage for NU.

  • @ cece

    I don’t know about the legal issues, but the field wouldn’t fit any other way.

  • JimB

    So, am I going to get some kind of refund on my $150/ticket seats that are 8 rows back at the east end zone? They have instantly become almost the worst seats in the house. I’ll have little idea what’s going on for 90% of the game now. Don’t give me that crap about it only affecting offensive possessions. That’s most of the game! How many games have even one defensive or return TD? Those are the only situations I’ll have anything happen anywhere remotely close to my seats. And Phillips supposedly thought this might happen? I’m very, very angry.

  • vaudvillain

    I know this is going to be weird, and I understand the frustration, but I don’t think it is going to have as huge an impact on how the game is played as many people seem to think. Frankly, the altered play calling that would have been required for the cramped east endzone would probably affected strategy much more than this will. If you’re near the east endzone, I completely understand the frustration. But remember that there will still be plenty of action on that side of the field, too. As for scoring…there’s never a guarantee that scoring will be evenly divided between the endzones anyway. Last week, all of the scoring was in the north endzone — nothing at all in the south endzone. True, this all but guarantees no scoring in the east end zone (barring a pick-six or the Venric Mark return that we’ve all been waiting for)…

    I don’t know. I certainly understand the frustration, but I don’t think it is nearly as bad as folks are making it out to be. A kid who went into the pads at a bad angle and got a major injury as a result would have been much, much worse. The NU athletic department is going to have a little PR clean-up to do, and will have to find a way to soothe the many season ticket holders who (rightly) feel screwed…but in the end, I still don’t think it’s as bad as folks are making it out to be.

  • cece

    @Northwestern Highlights, is that because the way the field fit in the old days was because there
    was an agreement to shorten the yard markers or some other way to shorten the field?
    was that possibility discussed with the Big Ten?

    it’s clear from the comments on this blog that people will come after Northwestern for ticket dollars, will end their season tickets, maybe other lawsuits. i’m sure the lawyers are keeping a good list of who discussed what when in the lead up to the field planning, or did not discuss something, and looking for cover.

  • vaudvillain

    And don’t get me wrong — unless the NCAA expressly forbids it, I definitely prefer shortening the field a little bit (the whole 2’11” per yard solution, or 8-yard endzones) to the one-offensive-endzone trick…but I guess that’s not going to happen, unless the outcry is so huge that they just repaint the field this afternoon.

  • @vaudvillain

    Well said. I’ve been at games where the scoring has occurred on the opposite end and it was fine. There’s still going to be a lot of action on the east half of the field, there just won’t be any redzone plays. I remember being in the north endzone at Soldier Field in 2006 against Buffalo, I believe, and every Bears TD up until the very end (and there were a lot of them) occurred in the opposite endzone. I still had a blast.

    Now, I realize that there isn’t a video screen to look at for red zone plays on the other end, but the angle of the seats on the east side, especially the bleachers, won’t be that bad for looking at action on the other end.

  • Chadnudj

    @Vaudvillain — I wish they could repaint/re-mark out the field with the 2’11” plan. Hell, that would be incredible. But I doubt it happens.

    And for all you threatening legal action or dropping season tickets — get a life, or go root for someone else. You’ll be in Wrigley, you’re a Northwestern fan, and will be enjoying what now appears to be a once in a lifetime event. Grab an Old-Style, cheer loudly when we back up the Illinois defense into your area, and enjoy the game.

  • CatInTheHat

    I think we all need to step back and take a deep breath. This is a fiasco in that so many of our season ticket holders (our bread and butter) got hosed, and that is unacceptable. From a football standpoint, however, I don’t envision this having much of an impact on actual gameplay or pregame atmosphere, other than the fact that both coaches have to scramble to update their gameplans. Pick-6’s and fumbles will still go east, and with TV timeouts after most changes in possession, I really don’t think that the flow of the game will be greatly impacted. I am a bit concerned about the Illinois student section being right behind the endzone, making it difficult for our offense to operate inside the red zone, but that could have minimal impact, as well. At the end of the day, this will have no impact on the explosive pregame atmosphere, and I can’t imagine this whole endeavor having anything but a positive impact on recruiting.

    @Ron: As I said last night, let’s not make this a Cubs or Cubs/Sox conversation. I’m sure others on here are far more familiar with the lead-up to the decision to hold a Wrigley game than I am, but from what I remember, this was the brainchild of NU’s athletic department and was enthusiastically supported by U of I. The Cubs were more than happy to oblige in the end, but they weren’t responsible for this situation.

  • @ cece

    Yeah, alterations to Wrigley no longer made the old configuration possible. Then again, it wasn’t possible to begin with. Endzones weren’t regulation size and the setup was still probably more dangerous than how it is set up now.

    People on Rivals were threatening similar stuff when they didn’t get the tickets they wanted. Lots of NU fans like to make those threats, but I doubt anyone actually follows through.

  • Ed Deline

    Congrats, NU officials. You wanted a PR stunt (game in wrigley) so badly that you didn’t think things through and now you’re a laughingstock. Way to be.

  • Hank

    @ JimB
    You must be sitting right near me!!

    I’d be lucky if I could get face value for my seat now.

  • cece

    anyone go to the NU-ND baseball game last spring at the Cell? It’s very fun to take over
    a sports stadium of a major league team and see our team in action on that field.
    granted, that was baseball, but Fitz threw out the first ball, NU the decided underdog won,
    it was beating ND, always amusing, and there was lots of hitting, even homeruns. so, yes, it will be fun this saturday. and we all support the football team. but people do have a legitimate right to be upset about this development because the ticket situation has problems, especially for the students.

  • RLembke

    In the final analysis, what was thought to be a great marketing idea is going to backfire in a major way. The game should either be declared an exhibition, not counting on either team’s record, or it should be moved back to Ryan Field.

  • You guys do realize that this actually impacts the actual game LESS than the setup did before, right?

  • gavin


    If i’m remembering correctly, when the bears played there, the endzones were shorter (8 yds) and one of them had a corner missing b/c of stands. my understanding is that b/c of renovations to wrigley, the old alignment wouldn’t fit, even with those tweeks.

    Otherwise, i think this was a conference thing. NU and Ill had have seen this (being intimatley involved in the planning) but the conference didn’t know until it was built and all but ready for usem, and after the devastating accident earlier this season in South Bend, I think the conference is deciding this sh*t storm is better than the one that would result in a player seriously hurt. I hope NU pushes the conference to reimburse fans b/c this screws a number of seats that were previously great and the conference clearly didn’t do their due diligance leading up to this event if they are only seeing this problem on the eve of Fitz Fest 2010

  • Chadnudj

    Someone explain to me how this is backfiring? Now, EVERYONE is talking MORE about this game. This is not backfiring at all!

    Now, do I wish they had fixed this 2 years ago? Yeah…obviously. Big Ten is screwing us over big time, after signing off on this game in that space with those dimensions. But this is hardly disastrous….it actually makes the game MORE intriguing for casual fans, both here in Chicago and nationwide.

    And once the game starts, it won’t be that drastic –basically respotting the ball after every change of possession. So casual fans tune in to see this weird game rules….and instead get treated to awesome Northwestern football and a 3 hour commercial for Fitz and the program, and basically don’t see anything different from any other football game.

  • Brian

    EL ride from Evanston to the Cats play – $2
    Buying a round of beers on Waveland ave on a November Saturday – $15
    Seats in east section of the field – $150 each
    The field is Wrigley – Priceless

    Let’s keep it in perspective and GO CATS!!

  • tim

    What seems comically forgotten here is- with all the worry about a player wearing pads and a helmet running full speed into a PADDED wall trying to catch a ball, there seems to be no problem with a player wearing no pads running full speed into a wall with no pads trying to catch a ball. Only difference is….in the latter case, there’s a WARNING TRACK. Haven’t seen too many injuries during baseball season.

  • Ron

    The Big Ten is enormously overreacting, but the only people who could have truly known what the alignment would look like once the field was painted was the Cubs. But they are happy because they sold everyone this crappy bill of goods.

  • Adam

    @RLembke- An exhibition, really? That’s one of the most ridiculous over-reactions I’ve seen yet. And as for it being a great marketing idea, making the change at the last second may have been the best move yet because it maximized exposure and got a tidal wave of attention. This game is what EVERYONE is talking about right now. And as for the Big 10 being a laughingstock, I don’t see how this has any negative impact on recruiting or the school itself. Duke LAX is bad for a school. Switching the rules of a football game slightly? Not so much a problem… No one is ever going to say, “I wouldn’t go to/support/cheer for/donate to NU because in that Wrigley game both offenses went the same way! Balderdash!”

  • JimB

    I’m not threatening legal action or anything and I do believe that player safety is paramount but there is no denying that a good many season ticket holders just got incredibly hosed. And those of you who think you are going to get some kind of refund can forget about that. They are not giving up revenue from this game because that would seriously affect this year’s budget and possibly turn this game into a loser.

    As for seating, as someone pointed out, at least those students truly seated in the back of endzone will be facing the right way. My seats are really close to the endzone but aren’t angled well, as I know from experience at Cubs games. With the lack of video boards it means I’ll spend the whole game craning my neck, while not really sure what’s going on. I’m sure I’ll still enjoy the whole atmosphere and all but there is no way in hell I would have signed up for these seats, had I known this in advance. They had better compensate a lot of us in some way; heavily discounted 2011 season tix for everyone at the east 30 and further would be fair. Wouldn’t cost them too much or affect this year’s budget and would (help) earn back some good will.

    Maybe they can figure out some way to bring in temporary video boards to help out those of us in the hinterlands now? Man, this game is turning into such a fiasco.

  • Ron

    And, off-topic, but-

    The “spam-bot” filter (solve the math problem) on this site might be tolerable if was actually effective (note how many comment threads become filled with crap a couple days later), or at the very least if it was located above the “Submit” button.

  • CatInTheHat

    @ Adam: Hear, hear! Exhibition? Come on, now…

    @ Ron: That’s absurd. The Cubs were the only ones who could know what the field would look like until it was painted? Do you have some sort of documentation to back that up? It was designed by the Big Ten, for crying out loud. It’s ridiculous to insinuate that this is somehow the Cubs fault.

  • Drew

    The interesting thing about this set up is that it will probably cause MORE of the game to be played east of the 50 yard line, as whenever a team punts the ball will remain in west territory. Though I think those that were going to be behind the endzone have a legitimate gripe as the offense will now never be coming towards them. Though, I don’t see anyone getting their money back unless Northwestern/whoever is in charge feels really generous.

    I don’t think this decision was anyones but Delany’s and that was just because of all of the stories being written about safety. Certainly it should have been made MUCH earlier.

    The other point to be made though is that the West endzone isn’t particularly safe either. There isn’t much room between the back of the endzone and the stands and if players think they can run full speed into the back of the endzone and not get injured, they will be mistaken. Jeremey Ebert might have ended up with a torn ACL had he tried to make the same TD catch from last week in Wrigley. If safety was a concern in the east, it should still be a concern in the West (though maybe to a lesser extent).

  • gavin

    All in all, this is still a great marketing coup and a fun day (though a bit too early, how about an 11 PM game with gameday lines starting around 5 PM). Its just a crappy part of being the first game there since da bears. Its still going to be lots of fun. I just wish the trophy didn’t look like a monopoly piece (or maybe its a big marketing tie in and parker brothers will start sponsoring the rivalry game)

    Again unrelated: Reading the off-campus post on HTP, anyone else think we should try to get the Pigskin Classic going again? It would be lots of fun to play another strong BCS team (oklahoma) in a site like soldier field (no wall problems ftw) or even in a home and away. As an added bonus, with the ‘cat hopefully continuing path up the college football ladder, it provides a great test before the tOSUs and Nebraskas of Big T(welve)en play roll around.

  • cece

    so, on how the decision played out….thanks Northwestern highlights for the link….there’s a rule about 12 feet? did we not know about that? and Illinois is saying they did not have sign off? this article would seem to point the finger back at our planning. of course, I’m sure several of you will say that I am wrong. pix of Willie in the “wall zone” holding sign….”I can haz endzone?”

  • LookGoodInPurple

    I get the crap end of the endzone for my 12 tickets. And is it a coincidence it was announced the day before? Methinks not. Not pleased at all.

  • Scooter

    I went to the Wrigleyville classic at Wrigley a couple of years ago when the Blackhawks and Red Wings played, and had absolutely horrible seats where I could see nothing, but still had a great time just because of the atmosphere of hockey at Wrigley. However, the difference here is that had I wanted just the atmosphere for this game, I would have paid $50 and gotten cheap seats and enjoyed that. Instead, I paid that extra $100 to get $150 precisely because I wanted to be able to see the game. I’m sure the football in Wrigley atmosphere will be awesome and all, but I’m not getting what I paid for because I could have gotten the exact same experience $100 cheaper.

  • JimB

    @cece: Hilarious. The only smile I’ve cracked in the last 45 minutes. Would definitely love to see that Willie pic.

  • vaudvillain

    Reading the info about how the decision played out, I get the impression that someone in the Big Ten just screwed up and didn’t even think about the 12-foot rule. When the media circus kicked into high gear this week, someone at the NCAA scratched his/her head and thought, “I’m pretty sure we have a rule about that…” Then the NCAA calls the Big Ten, and there’s not a whole lot that Delany can do (except seriously chew out the whichever official in the Big Ten missed the 12-foot rule in the first place).

  • DBCat

    @ JimB– my sentiments exactly. No way would I have shelled out that much money had I known what sitting on the east side was going to get me. Plus, I would think that had this all been worked out a lot sooner, NU would have tried to ensure its season ticket holders were better taken care of. The issue for me is that I was sold something I am now not getting: the *opportunity* to have a complete game experience. Note I said *opportunity*–sure, games happen where everything takes place on one side (just like last week), and so it goes. But I’ve now been positively excluded from seeing an offensive TD anywhere near me, and that’s not the kind of experience I thought I was buying.

  • MF

    Let’s be clear about these shortening the field ideas. Shortening each yard to less than 3-feet affects the integrity of the game because it makes first downs easier to achieve. And shortening the endzone affects the game because it makes scoring a touchdown more difficult. But removing two yards from the middle of the field — by putting the midfield line at the 49, say — does nothing to affect the game other than pushing the punt returner one yard closer to his endzone and taking away someone’s record for a 100-yard return. Big Deal.

  • cece

    @JimB, glad I could make you laugh. wish I had the skills on the Internets to make such
    a pix with caption. maybe the guy who runs the site will do it himself…….the creator
    of I Can Haz Cheezeburger, with Fail Blog and the rest of his blog empire is, you guessed it,
    an NU grad!

  • bjm989

    I agree that this change will affect the game itself even less than the tight endzone would have. Please give the NU athletic dept a chance to make things right before you show up with the pitchforks and torches – I am sure they were forced into this decision. But, I think certain fans are affected much more than the players will be. I am sorry to hear that certain seats get “worse”, but hope you’ll enjoy this game anyway.

    All this publicity is good for NU, there is nothing negative being said about our great coach and student athletes. This exposure is good. Some of these comments remind me that we have a fan base with a lot of type-A perfectionists (you wouldn’t be an alum otherwise!). I wouldn’t have it any other way, but please relax as much as possible and enjoy this weekend! I know I will!

  • ken

    Stupid, ridiculous, insane. Just absurd and ugly. I think that someone got nervous and shat their pants….


  • Chadnudj

    @MF: “Shortening each yard to less than 3-feet affects the integrity of the game because it makes first downs easier to achieve.” Yes, you are correct. It makes a first down less than 3% easier to achieve (10 yards = 360 inches; taking away an inch per yard means 10 inches, which means a first down is 1/36 shorter). But that’s a MUCH smaller change than this last minute fiasco (which is making some fans whine about their seats a bit too much if you ask me, but I get the disappointment) and the change is made proportionally throughout the field (rather than just endzones).

  • RLembke

    I strongly disagree that this is a good thing. First, as a number of comments above illustrate, a number of people paid relatively large amounts for seats that are now very bad. Second, any number of games have and will be played this season under conditions that favor or disfavor a team going into a wind, lights, crowd, or some other condition. While each team faces that handicap two quarters in the game, one team can be more severely disadvantaged if they are going the disfavored way at the wrong time (e.g., the fourth quarter). One game this season will be played with both offenses always playing in the same direction on the field. I do not believe you can, or should, say that the one game played under different rules is comparable to and counts the same as all the others. This is not a situation where some unexpected occurrence, such as losing power for a night game, necessitates an ad hoc rules modification. If it is true (which I do not know one way or the other) that the game cannot be played safely in Wrigley under usual rules, the game should not be played in Wrigley. If you have to make up rules to put on a special exhibition, acknowledge that it is an exhibition game.

  • Chadnudj

    Coach Ditka is the Gameday Celebrity Picker tomorrow….

  • Mark

    @ everyone
    It’s a football game. You’ll have a great time. Sunday, next week, next month, next year, 5 years from now we’ll all be talking about NU’s victory at Wrigley and “can you believe the end zone story. I paid $XXX for my seats and they turned into better seats/worse seats.” The (now) worst seats won’t be any worse than the seats we all get through NU for the away games. And if you’re still ticked off tomorrow vent your anger through noise every time the Illini have the ball.

  • ken

    And in another announcement, if a ball is intercepted, there will be an immediate whistle, all players will take a knee, the replay official will send a snapshot of the field from the blimp down to the head referee. The head referee will then reposition all players reversing the field of play, then reblow the whistle to resume the play. During this time of repositioning, all fans will also be moved. This is expected to have very little impact on the flow of the game.

    Also, at the end of the game, all players will walk backwards, retracing their entrance.

  • MikeH

    This isn’t much different than last week. All the scoring took place in the same end zone. Would about half of you like a discount now because of the wind?

    Full disclosure, my tickets for tomorrow are in section 525, so they got a little bit better.

  • David

    Well it took a lot, but we did it. Front page of the New York Times website.


  • DBCat

    @MikeH– see my post above. When I go to game, I know that games like last week can happen; so it goes (and yes, I was there, and no, I don’t want a discount because of the wind … ridiculous (logic”). This is about being sold one thing but receiving something else–I did not pay for a ticket in a location where all the offense would be headed away from me and an offensive TD anywhere near me would not even be possible. Can we ask you for an additional $50 on your way into the stadium because your seats are now better? Didn’t think so.

  • CatInTheHat

    “A sellout crowd of 39,800 is expected to attend Saturday’s game. That’s about 8,000 fewer people than would normally attend a Northwestern home game, said Hammer, the university spokesman, but this game is generating far more attention. ”

    LOL–the Times clearly doesn’t know much about our usual home crowd (games against OSU, Michigan, and now Iowa notwithstanding)…

  • Scooter

    @ MikeH

    Here’s the issue I have with it. I paid $150 because I wanted the best possible seats I could have. You paid $75 because you were happy with the seats there. That’s fine. But now, I’m in 142 and you’re in 525 and with the new rules suddenly your seats look better than mine, except I paid twice as much. If this had been announced more than a day beforehand 1) NU would have allocated seats differently and not charged $150 for seats in section 142 and 2) We would have been able to take this into account when ordering tickets. Personally, if this had been announced before I ordered my tickets and the seating chart stayed this way, I absolutely would not have bought $150 tickets.

  • JP

    Due to illness, I won’t be taking the family to the game tomorrow. Any chance I’ll get my $100 per ticket back for seats in one of the last rows of 239 (where you can watch the traffic on Sheffield?)? I’ll be lucky to get half of it back. Thanks, NU.

  • cece

    did some Cub exec named Craig Kenny take up some blame for this? he’s getting scorched.

  • cece

    strike that, Crane Kenny, who seems to be absolving the Cubs but creating more intrigue.
    bizarre. AD Phillips scheduled to be on the Score at 5:30.

  • @ Scooter

    I understand that. I benefit a bit from this decision, but I also have one of the worst $150 seats regardless (people will be walking in front of me the whole game). I knew going in that Wrigley seating is a crapshoot and I got one of the short straws. But it’s not going to damper my enjoyment of the game at all.

  • Ryan

    I know people spent a lot of money on this game and I respect that. However, if your main criteria for the value of a game is how good of sight lines you have, why did you spend that money on a game in a baseball stadium? There are going to be LOTS of really bad seats and angles and lots of people will have reason to complain. That would be the case rule change or not. Should they complain? No! Its a freaking NU game at Wrigley on a Fall afternoon with College Gameday on site. Its Sheffield Avenue turned Wildcat Alley. Its the Wrigley sign gone purple. Its getting to drink some beers at your favorite Wrigleyville locale, stumble out, and mosey over to the game. In short, the value of this game comes completely from the atmosphere. If you want to watch the game from the best vantage point, go watch it on TV. Otherwise, show up to the game, be loud, and cheer on our team. /End of rant by guy who hasn’t been told where his seat is yet

  • gavin


    I was thinking the same thing. The talking heads on the NFL network pre-Bears coverage were talking about the ‘cats game also and one of them dissed it b/c Ryan Field holds more people. Clearly the national media does not know of NU’s attendance woes, which, I guess, is a good thing… maybe…

  • D

    I wonder if we will have any idea what the heck is going on from section 242. HOSED!

  • Adam

    @Scooter – good point – NU changed the $100 left field bleachers to $125 tickets because they knew they would be better seats after seeing the field in person.

    The same would have happened with your seats (and mine) if they went through approvals sooner. That’s my disappointment.

    In other news, I still stand by my reasonable request for compensation – a signed Watkins game jersey :) It’s free to NU and would make me very happy.


    I think the whole thing is ridiculous, but disagree with what you’re saying. Every game has different circumstances that prevent it from being like any other game played due to the environment. Is a game played in Denver not comparable to one played in a normal-altitude situation? Pouring rain? The deafening environment of the OSU stadium vs. the high-school atmosphere of NU? Everyone gets advantages and disadvantages and sometimes it comes down to luck or a completely unforseen circumstance, and sometimes it’s built in to the environment as-is. Again, I’m not saying I agree with how this is all being handled…but to argue that this game can’t count the same as all others makes no sense.

    Moving on, I understand why people are frustrated about their seats and the fact that it’s happening the day before. But I don’t think there’s any conspiracy theory here and I think that we should all put it aside and have some Wildcat spirit and be annoyed after the game is over. There’s so much media attention on this b/c of GameDay and it being two “crappy” teams and dressing up Wrigley is “sacrilegious” and Persa is injured and so on….there are just so many people who are already out there laughing about the game, our fans, etc. that I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to put aside annoyance and have fun and support the team. I’ve seen more people online complaining or making fun of NU/this game than supporting it (outside of LTP) and it’s sad that we’re not respected in this city and I would hate to see it get worse or affect the overall mood because the fans we do have are all bitching. :(


    Check out my full analysis at HTP: http://hailtopurple.com/jhodges/comment10k19.html


    – NU requested the rule changes this morning in order to bury the Coble story.

    – Illinois wanted to throw a wrench into things by requesting a last minute change.

    – Delany didn’t like the press questioning the field configuration.

    In all cases, it’s clear that the parties got together today, made the changes, and then stuck to the party line that it was a consensus decision. I don’t believe it was and will be interested to find out who really initiated the discussion, because, as others have mentioned, they have known about this since they started considering the game.


    Was never going to happen and is a stupid idea, period. If it came to this, the answer would be don’t play the game at Wrigley.


    Yes, I think the decision can only help safety, which is a good thing. But, everyone (NU, Illinois, Big Ten) claims they have fully vetted the safety and all signed off on it. The Cubs’ statement today reflects this fact. And if you want to see guys running into walls, Arena football players do that all the time (something that Zook noted).


    Remember when teams are backed up the action will still be in that end. And the majority of fans are situated closer to the west end zone anyways since it is a baseball stadium. I think this will have little effect on the enjoyment of the game/event.

  • zeek

    Wow guys. Perspective: get some.

    They made this change for player safety, and you guys are going out of control over it. It’s more important that no one gets injured running into that wall (even padded) at full speed, even if the game is going to look a bit different.

    They didn’t think it was going to happen originally, but due to the way the publicity about safety took off, it had to happen. This is just a blemish on an otherwise remarkable event. Go and enjoy the atmosphere which will be a one in a lifetime kind of feel.

  • Lord Willie

    This is making the Cleveland home game against TOSU in ’91 , look brilliant.

  • JM

    All I can say is that the people who were screwed by paying $125 for $100 seats just got screwed worse. Their seats were allegedly upgraded because they were better than expected. Now that the rules have changed and the left-field belachers are the farthest point from the action, I seriously doubt the price will be readjusted.

    NU seriously owes those 500 or so fans money back, or at least a credit toward their next season-ticket renewal. Changing the price after the sale is fraud, and the “reason” for doing it (how good the LF seats turned out to be) has evaporated, big time.

  • zeek

    And I agree with Chadnudj.

    All publicity is good publicity. You guys really think this is making people look negatively at NU somehow in all of this? People are talking more about the game than before.

    Did some fans get hosed? Yes. But let’s not act like everything that the game was supposed to do won’t work. In fact, now it’s more of a topic of conversation than before.

    Getting a W in this game is more important than this rule change. Just go out there and have fun on Saturday.

  • Chadnudj

    @JM — the left-field bleacher seats? Now SIGNIFICANTLY better. ALL the action is going down towards the 1st base line. We’re gonna have a GREAT view of every offensive Wildcat touchdown as it crosses the goalline.

    Honestly — EVERYONE TAKE A DEEP BREATHE. Tomorrow, BUY an Old-Style as you settle into your seat. Drink it. Order another. Your seat (because you’re in a baseball stadium), WHEREVER IT IS LOCATED is going to be closer to the field. You will be in Wrigley, watching college football. Breathe. This will be fun. You will enjoy it.

    In other words — stop preemptively complaining when NONE OF YOU have sat in your seats yet.

  • 86Wildcat

    Check out si.com right now….

  • 86Wildcat
  • zeek


    Well if most people think like that, then most of the blame is going to go to the Big Ten for not properly vetting it.

    That’s not a bad thing for us in all of this, since the article makes it sound like Phillips worked hard to make it happen, etc.

  • 86Wildcat


    I agree, just a harsh headline, especially for a casual reader just going to si.com

  • ベン


    Gotta agree with Chad- what are you smoking? Are you thinking of the students who had to pay $50 for our seats and now have AWFUL seats? Because the left field seats are BETTTER now.

  • zeek

    Oh, yeah, I certainly agree about that. The headline does us no favors at all, but if the national story is that Delany and the Big Ten brought down the hammer, then I think this is more of a bump in the road than people are making it out to be.

    I hope everyone who goes there enjoys it, but we got everything that we wanted to out of this game. Heck, a lot of people should be happy because this guarantees that this is a “once in a lifetime” event, since this kind of rule change means it won’t happen again.

    We got everything we wanted out of this event: ESPN GameDay, a huge bump in season tickets, a gigantic media coverage bump in Chicago for this weekend.

    I mean, think about it, the day after a Bears game, and the #1 topic in Chicago right now is the Wrigley Field game. Yes it seems bad right now since the rule change just happened and is being mocked in predictable quarter, but this is getting people to talk about Northwestern football, something they don’t normally do…

    This is just a blemish on an otherwise extraordinary event.

  • Drew

    Piggybacking off of a lot of the “we got everything we wanted out of this game” in terms of publicity idea. It is important to point out that we aren’t the only Football game in a baseball stadium as Notre Dame is playing Army in Yankee stadium…and umm…no one really cares.

  • zeek

    College Football Live just covered the situation and made it all sound fine; Brent Musberger said it would seem bizarre that the teams would be switching sides due to the liability issue but that the atmosphere would be amazing and that he would have wanted to be there (he’s going to be doing the Nebraska-A&M game).

    This is hardly turning into the apocalypse that some are making it out to be…

  • wcgrad

    Any one for ‘ONE WAY’ Arrows at GameDay?

    I can’t blame someone who bought a ticket for near the east endzone being angry, but suppose tomorrow there were strong winds off the lake. That would have had the same effect for those seated in the stadium, in that much less action would occur within the east 20 yard line and most of the scores would be in the west endzone, but no one in history has complained about the weather devaluing the seats for the game. I think what makes everyone angry is that no one is being honest about exactly what happened with the decision being changed. It would be nice if NU made a statement about the change – admitting their concern for the players – and offered an avenue for complaint. That way those who were swindled could complain and hopefully a deal could be reached since it would be sad if this put a serious dent in our season ticket holders.

    For those choosing not to renew – in my opinion you are making a mistake. I think choosing not to renew will not hurt the athletic department in the long run. By all accounts, NU is a football program on the rise and generating the most buzz since 1995. What’s more they are emerging as a consistent mid-level power in what will become the Big 10 super-conference. The administration clearly wants the football team to succeed and will continue to market it. In short, if you give up your tickets now, the second buyers will gladly swoop in because the those seats are only going to increase in value.

  • Richard


    What are you talking about? The folks who were put in the left field bleachers were originally going to be in the right field bleachers. You know, the endzone seats that everyone is now complaining about because the action will pretty much never head in their direction.

  • zeek


    In fact check out the front page of NYT.com. That tells you all you need to know. This is just pumping up the game folks.

    Think about how many people (who have it) are going to tune in to ESPNU to see how the game is going to be played.

  • JimB

    To those complaining about all the “bitching.” Look, people need to vent, need some time to process what they’ve just been handed at the last minute. This is something that a lot of people had been picturing happening a very different way – we were all sold a different product than what we’re getting.

    There is no denying this has been completely mismanaged. And there is no way that anyone can say with a straight face that those in the lower RF line seats aren’t going be significantly and negatively impacted by this. I don’t have to sit in my seats first to know that. Anyone who has sat close the field near the end zone and watched action going the other direction can tell you that most of the time you have a hard time knowing what’s really going on because you have no depth perception. Is it a 2 or 10 yard play? Have to wait for the announcer or the scoreboard (by the way the Cubs PA is maybe even worse that Ryan Field).

    So anyway, Jim Phillips and Jim Delaney are definitely not on the Christmas card list this year.

    But at the same time I’m coming to grips with it, just like everyone else is I’m sure. No doubt that I, and I’m sure everyone around me tomorrow, will be there decked out in purple cheering like crazy, soaking in the once-in-a-lifetime atmosphere and enjoying a ‘Cats win – even if most of the game is confusing and most of the good stuff happens at the other end. I guess that’s what DVR is for. As some have pointed out, it will still no doubt be very cool whenever either team is really backed up and the players are right there, especially when we have the Illini pinned deep. Let’s see a safety!

  • cece

    we have to address it at some point….seat refund, etc. no plan, but must deal with it. AD on the Score

  • wildcat6

    The one-way offense is a bizarre wrist, but the game will work out fine. There is one claim, however, that I think is bizarre and off-base.

    “This will be the last football game at Wrigley Field.”

    Not correct! Why? Because the third base dugout and some seats around it have already been removed and will be replaced with temporary seating when the Cubs begin their 2011 campaign. What’s to prevent cutting several rows deeper into the grandstand and carving out the additional space needed to provide a 6-foot clearance in right field? So while the bricks in right field are sacrosanct and will never be removed, the additional space will be created on the other end.

    Bottom line: I don’t think this will be a fiasco, or the last football game ever at Wrigley Field.

  • wildcat6

    “bizarre twist” not “bizarre wrist”

  • Just another reason to hate Wiggley!

  • Cats83

    Crane Kenney is full of crap, the game at Yankee Stadium tomorrow does NOT have similar “field-to-venue grid dimensions”. No one at that game is going to be running/jumping out of either end zone into a brick wall.

    But as Cubs season ticket holder, I am used to statements from Kenney that are full of it.

  • JM

    Sorry all. Wrote “better.” Meant “worse.”

  • Sam

    So in the event of a kickoff/punt return or defensive TD, they’ll march to the west endzone to kick the PAT? That’ll be silly. Guess they might as well take the east goalposts down now.

  • cece

    so how do the changes affect the no huddle offense? are there any actual rules prohibiting running players in and out?

  • Richard


    I hope you realize that there’s a difference between temporary seating and permanent seating. If digging in to and removing the concrete superstructure of the stands at Wrigley were so easy, they would have done it for this game as well.

  • Lake The Posts

    Does anyone know the ruling on the PAT for a Pick 6? Has it been stated anywhere. You know the world has gone upside down in NU land when I don’t know which way to turn for answers. Most. Dramatic. Week. Ever.

    Is there ANY doubt the game-winning score will happen in the East endzone?!!!! It will be followed by a Lambeau-like Leap with some help from others in to the student section and then we all Lake The Posts.

    BIG props for any LTP signage tomorrow….1

  • wildcat6


    They’ve already created temporary seating out of permanent seating. They’d just need to cut away 6 more feet of concrete and make temporary seating out of that. Look, if the technology exists to remove 1/3 of the entire concrete bowl structure – all decks – of Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati (around the year 2000), certainly by now it’s not difficult to saw your way through some of the lower deck concrete bowl at Wrigley Field, and replace it with a temporary seating arrangement during baseball season.

  • wildcat6

    @Lake The Posts

    The PAT for a pick-six will have to be on the West side, to eliminate the possibility of a fake, and the receiver being pile-driven by the defender into the right center field wall, which is the reason they’re doing this quirky arrangement in the first place. It’s a pain to have both teams walk 90 yards just to do a PAT, but that’s what will happen.

  • Ahmed

    I was watching TV and saw the ABC News START with the Wrigley game! It was crazy seeing NU and Fitz on ABC. The headline was about the field issue but there was a surprising amount of coverage about the overall excitement caused by the game. The game might be in the headlines for the wrong reason but at least the positive aspects are also getting highlighted. There will be detailed coverage on ABC News at 6pm so stay tuned.

  • cece

    wow, we’re entering white Bronco territory…..

  • GTom

    It amazes me how nonchalant some of the comments have been about how fans in the right field end zone should be reacting to this change. I was already upset at the beginning of the year with what I saw as just one big money-grab by NU. The idea was fun, but let’s face it, $150 for the only tickets with a decent sight-line is ridiculous – and those of us who actually care more about what is happening on the field than the circus atmosphere are the ones who paid up. Now, basically half of those die-hards are going to get the shaft on Saturday. Yeah, Wrigley might still be fun, but if you really care about the game and are in the right field, your experience just took a nosedive for something that was completely avoidable.

    The AD needs to do something to make this right, and pointing fingers between the Cubs, Northwestern, and the Big Ten Conference isn’t going to do it. Pretending like this is still going to be a unique, great game experience for all involved isn’t going to do it either – I can’t believe that there hasn’t at least been a public apology for those affected, yet. At least the new season ticket reps are responding quickly to complaints, but Jim Phillips needs to step up and recognize that something has gone wrong, and that they’re going to try and find some way to make things up for those affected.

  • D


    Most of the people saying “it’s no big deal” didn’t shell out for the expensive tickets, methinks…..

  • NUKevin

    i lost my goat in the east endzone, has anyone seen it?
    YET ANOTHER WRIGLEY FIELD EPIC FAIL! Truly cursed. I am so pissed at this! I have no problem banding together with everyone who got shafted and DEMANDING our money back. I mean c’mon – as an undergrad, i shelled out $116 for 2 tickets for the WORST seats. Now, they are just pathetic seats. Oh and get this, one of the first to order – rows 2 and 3, the seats arent even effin together! WTF FML FU NU.

  • cece

    will the AD and the University President be in plain sight tonight? that should be fun.

  • wildcat6

    Count me in among the folks who are thinking “get a life” when reading some of these scathing anti-NU, anti-Cubs, anti-Wrigley comments. I would’ve loved to be at the game and can’t, because I have a wife and three kids and a family Thanksgiving to prepare for. I can’t even watch the game on TV because it’s on ESPNU. Dave Eanat, you’re the man of the moment for me.

    What will it matter in a few years whether these tickets cost $125, or $100, or $75, whatever? You could put me behind a big post for all I’d care. I’d like to be there, but can’t. You can and will be there, so enjoy it!

  • NUKevin

    Also, if they are overturning the decision now to play to the east side now, that means the knowledge has always been there just NOBODY cared to fully consider it. NOT the BITCH10, NOT NU, NOT UI, NOT even the NCAA! I mean, we all know Delaney just wants to make $. I say SHOVE A BAT UP THAT GUY’S HOLE. This is NOT even remotely acceptable – 1) to SCREW ticketholders and 2) to give all our players and coaches the MIDDLE FINGER because prior to your decision to switch, YOU CARED MORE ABOUT FILLING YOUR FATASS WALLET THAN OUR PLAYERS’ SAFETY! THIS IS AN EMBARRASSMENT, don’t you understand?!! To everyone who was involved in stadium logistics – i hope you get fired and go home with your head down, alone, with nobody to look up to you. i hope your children and spouse are disappointed in you because of your greed. i hope you take a good stare into the mirror and see how much of an embarrassing disgrace you are to everyone who trusted you. i hope you eat your own shyt in the coming weeks because you just made your own life miserable; we will come for you. To Wrigley – You will never win. *****MIDDLE FINGER*****

  • GoCats

    Rabble rabble rabble rabble

  • cece

    wildcat6, it’s not just the price of the tickets. it’s the way this thing came down. it should have been apparent to anyone who did a search about NCAA rules that this field was not possible….legally. and that means the tickets were sold under a cloud of stupidity, and the details of play should have been known to purchasers. so people support the team and are happy to see them play, but unlike the Ferrari driving image that Iowa fans have of us, many ‘Cats fans stretched themselves to buy these tickets. and expected a product that they are not getting. and, if the fan base is to expand, we are trying to attract the average person, this is not helping.

  • CatInTheHat

    Ugh, what a bunch of noise, NUKevin. I completely understand your frustration (I was a student not so long ago), but come on…

    Of far more concern generally is the fact that SI.com front page is screaming the headline “A Football Mockery” with a picture of the east end zone–complete with WILDCATS written front and center. That’s a bit harsh. We as a program are clawing at the edge of widespread respectability, and SI of all publications is right now stomping on our fingers. The fact that one of our own alums (Mandel) is leading the charge is a disgrace. He should be ashamed of himself, as should SI.

  • GTom


    Great for you. You didn’t buy a ticket. I bought nine. At 1,350, do I have a right to complain?

  • Rossington

    C’mon, folks, have a little perspective. It’s a baseball stadium built decades ago so of course things will be different — isn’t that why the game is being played there? By the way, there are differences every Saturday the guys tee it up, right? Weather, injuries, schemes and the fact that they’re 20 year old kids makes every game unique. That’s why we lose at home to Purdue then a month later we beat #13 Ioa (again), right? So, we have to switch directions, big deal. I’ll bet NU handles this better than the Illini and it works out in our favor. Regardless, it’ll just make the day that much more unforgettable.

  • NU Cat 95

    @wildcat 6

    Some folks with a wife and three kids did buy tickets. And they might have been F-ed doubly (first because they didn’t originally get seats where they wanted/requested; now that the seats that they’re stuck with will be far away from the action for a majority of the game). And, let’s be honest, if you paid $100 per ticket for a clear view and you wound up “behind big a post,” you’d be pissed. Don’t pretend otherwise.

  • PBRCat

    I dislike this for the inconvenience caused to some ticketholders. While I am not personally disadvantaged by the change (my seats may be better as a result) I think the timing is suspect since the complaints began to come in only after the Illini held their practice session. Both teams had previously approved the field configuration. The wall is fully padded. Hell, I used to watch Roberto Clemente routinely bounce off those same brick walls while playing right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates and making spectacular catches.

    I would not put it past a desperate Ron Zook to have pulled this stunt to let some air out of Northwestern’s balloon. In much of the pre-game publicity, the Fighting Illini have been simply an afterthought. Zook needs a win and a bowl bid badly, including a visit to Detroit, to salvage his season and save his job.

    The Chicago Bears used to play at Wrigley Field for close to five decades with less then regulation length end zones. The North end zone was in front of the left field wall and the South end zone ended up inside of the visitor’s dugout. Bronk Nagurski actually overran the endzone and ended up in the dugout during one game.

    The goal posts in all of the NFL games, including those at Wrigley, used to be on the actual goal line. How many players were actually injured in those NFL games?

    Okay, the venting is over. Let’s stay focused. Game on! Cheer the Wildcats tomorrow and let’s beat the Orange Pumpkinheads from Illinois!

  • GTom


    You didn’t buy tickets. Great for you. I bought nine. Is 1,350 enough to justify a complaint?

  • Doug

    @someone long ago:

    The layout is NOT necessarily going to increase the effectiveness of our hurry-up offense. In fact, it is very likely going to make it less effective. The rules for the game state that players from BOTH teams will be allowed to subsitute all the way down to the 5 yard line on BOTH ends of the field. So the distance these big guys have to run to get on/off the field doesn’t change. Now if they run all the way back to the bench, thats a different story. The rules I’ve read do not specify what a player may or may not do once off the field — does he have to run all the way back to his own bench, or can he stay down by the action, so long as he’s not in the other team’s bench area? (wish i could remember where I found those rules a few days ago — possibly at NUSports.com?)

  • Drew


    Why should Stewart Mandel be ashamed of himself for trashing NU when all parties involved deserve to be trashed. There is no one innocent here and it is a completely legitimate argument that the situation is a football mockery. I’d rather have him trash NU if there is cause than just be a giant homer.

  • CatInTheHat

    @ Drew:

    I completely understand and am on board with the reasons behind the ire of many of those who bought the expensive seats, only to see the value of those seats diminished. This is a separate issue.

    People are talking out of both sides of their mouths here. On the one hand, we fight tooth and nail for a fraction of the respect that lesser teams are afforded (ahem…Irish), and then we turn around and applaud when one of our own takes one of the biggest sports forums on the planet and uses it to deliberately try and diminish some of that respect. Where was Stewart Mandel when NU beat Iowa last week? There were–what–five lines of his column devoted to the game? Where has he been all season, or, for that matter, all of the past three seasons, as NU has reached a level of consistency not seen since the Barnett years? What should he have done in this case? What he usually does–stay silent, at least until after the game, when he then could have devoted twenty columns to breathlessly and shamelessly trying to be the anti-homer and carrying the banner for all those who would diminish our standing in the college football world. Just give us our moment, Stewart–that’s all I ask–and he couldn’t even do that. Short answer: he should have waited until after the game to throw down his gauntlet. He tries so hard to prove that he’s not a homer for NU that it becomes a sort of self-loathing with him, and I’m tired of it. Maybe I’m alone, but that’s my opinion on Mandel.

  • Everyone has to read Delany’s comments:


    Really bizarre situation and I’m not sure there’s anyone to blame here considering the apparent obscurity of the rule and how the Emerald Bowl is set up much the same way:


    Clearly the rule wasn’t enforced for the Emerald Bowl. I hope the NCAA comments on that soon.

  • zeek

    @NorthwesternHighlights, it’s just a case of all this publicity being a double edged sword in this instance. It just shows that this game is bigger media-wise than your average bowl game, since the spotlight forced Delany to re-evaluate the situation due to all the negative coverage about the brick wall.

    I mean, if we didn’t beat Iowa, and then that victory didn’t snowball into GameDay, which really brought all the national attention, etc., you don’t get this kind of outcome.

  • PBRCat

    I just heard Jerry Di Nardo on the radio and he explained that the teams will alternate positions on the sidelines. While this had been announced before, the radio broadcast provided more specifics.
    In the 1st half, Illinois will be nearest the West goal line, but Northwestern will be in that position for the 2nd half and during overtime, if necessary. That may be advantageous.

  • Alaskawildcat

    Once again I am amazed at the parochialism of failing to see the forest for the trees or maybe more aptly stated, failing to see the field for the posts. Sports Center had a great interview with Coach Fitzgerald tonight which was rebroadcast over and over. Tomorrows game at Wrigley is now major news even here in Alaska. The Gameday Set with “Northwestern, Chicago’s Big Ten Team” and all the purple wall hangings has been broadcast each time the rule changes are referenced on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. There was a major feature on the topic with lots of Northwestern publicity during half time of the Boise State game. I can guarantee you that there will now be many thousands of additional TV viewers tuning into this game on ESPNU just to see the game because of its unusual configuration and adapted rules. Talk about being given lemons and using them to make lemon flavored Purple Kool Aid.

  • calling all toasters

    I’m hoping that some punt returner decides to turn around and run it into the “offensive” (as opposed to vestigial) end zone and claim that it’s a touchdown. After all, once the ball is caught, you’re on offense. If not on a punt, maybe on an interception. Then the whole thing can wind up in court, where it obviously belongs.
    All this idiocy instead of adding another foot of padding. Not that it’s necessary, but to placate some foolish criticism. So when is arena football being banned? It doesn’t have space beyond the end line, either.