Illinois/Northwestern and Wrigley Cause the First E-Mail Post in a Long Time

We used to do these e-mail posts all the time. Armando or I would start a discussion over e-mail (usually while we were at work…) and at would appear here on the Bang after its conclusion. Recently, this really hasn’t happened, but I couldn’t help but jump on this one. When I got up this afternoon (I work overnights, leave me alone), Armando had left this in my inbox, titled “1 end zone? Seriously?”

Seriously.  It’s Friday, the game is f’n tomorrow, this has been known about for at least 1.5 yrs., and you JUST now are deciding to do this?  Is this even legit?  Can a conference just say “hey we’re gonna play this game w/1 end zone, I figured it would be cool” and get away with it?  And what other cockamamie crap are other conferences gonna try to pull in light of this?
“This year, the USC/UCLA game will be played in the Staples Center, with the ice down.  Hey, it’s no worse than the crap that Illinois/Northwestern pulled at Wrigley…”
So I hit the ESPN link, watched the report, and responded:
Wow, that’s really interesting. And much to your chagrin, I can see their point. I don’t until you actually see the field and get to work on it can you realize how much having that wall right at the back line could affect play. Not to mention safety. Forget posting to the corner of the end zone. Coming over the middle? Well, that just got more dangerous than sending Wes Welker on a short in in front of Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, and hall of famer Dick Butkis. If you need proof: http://is.gd/hr5Y6 Check out the wall hits at 0:08, 0:44, 0:48, 1:08 and 1:10. That’s how much padded walls can help. I think I’ll be more apt to watch this game now, just to see how this all plays out as I haven’t personally played on a one-end zone field since like 6th grade. But still, another interesting (that’s really the best way to describe this) chapter in one of the most unique sporting venues in the world. The chairman of the Cubs wants this game here every year, and honestly, it probably would be good for both schools. It would make a spectacle out of a game that has been historically hum-drum at best, and all for anything that draws more people to a college football game since I believe that attendance can equal something of a spiritual experience. 
(Also, the NY times does a pretty good job of putting the rules in writing, a little better than Tom Rinaldi did in the ESPN clip: http://is.gd/hr6v4)
As of right now, TJ hasn’t said anything about this yet, but I’ll add it to the conversation when/if he does.
UPDATE: Armando added this at 3pm:
Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with what they did to increase player safety and to preserve the normal flow of play (as much as you can with 1 end zone).  My point is that the game shouldn’t be played there in the first place, since it’s clearly not a venue befitting of a football game.  They should have done their homework months/years ago, realize “oh crap we can only have 1 end zone if we play here”, and aborted the whole thing before it even got off the ground.  Wrigley is an historic baseball stadium, and in many ways is unrivaled from a tradition standpoint… but let’s not forget that it’s a baseball stadium.  If anything, a game being played there – ESPECIALLY by Big Ten standouts washouts NW and ILL – is a slap in the face of the Billy Williams’s, Ernie Banks’s, Ron Santo’s and Ryne Sandberg’s that have made it such a hallowed ground.


Seeing his new criticism is the choice of venue, I decided that he had to be educated:
See, you’d have a point about it not being a football venue if the Bears hadn’t have played at Wrigley from 1921-1970Granted, there was a far different configuration where the end zone was in left and the side line ran parallel with the Cubs dugout, but still, football at Wrigley is nothing new.


Armando refused to admit that he was beaten and changed the argument:
You go ahead and tell Mike Ditka and the spirit of Sweetness that Soldier Field ain’t the only Bears home that matters.  I’ll sit back and watch the carnage ensue.


Once again, I had to educate him:
I’m not gonna argue with you about the mystique of Soldier Field and it’s hard to imagine them playing anywhere else, but they did. We’re not talking about the field of play you think about when someone says “Cubs home game”. Also, Ditka played in Chicago from 1961-1966, where all of his games were surrounded by the ivy greens (really brown vines by that point) of Wrigley Field. 
BOOM, roasted!
TJ stayed on topic, and was succinct and to the point with his opinion of playing at Wrigley:
They just needed a gimmick to get people to watch the game…and it will probably work.


Armando tried to get one more point in, and while sorta valid, it’s much like throwing up a hail mary in the 4th quarter when you’re down 35. The last desperate act of a desperate man trying to salvage the argument.
Referring to Ditka’s playing days is like referring to Justin Timberlake’s time on the Mickey Mouse Club – it’s not what they were known for, so it’s largely irrelevant.  Yes, he won a championship when he was playing, I get it, but if you ask someone who Mike Ditka is, they’re gonna say “old Bears coach”, not “old Bears TE”.  You might even get “that dude from that Coors Light commercial?  I LOVE that commercial!!” but if you do, you should punch whoever you’re talking to in the liver immediately.

For more arguments like this, catch the three of us in the same room every Wednesday night on the BangCast

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