In some ways, the Northwestern Wildcats and Chicago Cubs were meant for each other. Both had/have major droughts. The NU college football team just won their first bowl game since 1949, and the college basketball has never ever made the NCAA Tournament, 70+ tries. As you’ve heard a million times, the Cubs haven’t been to the World Series since 1945 and won one since 1908.
The last time they joined forces, Wrigley Field hosting Northwestern vs. the Illini in 2010, the national media was all over it. For good reasons and bad. The snug fit between the back of the east end zone and the field wall, forced both teams to go the same way on offense. This gaffe generated a ton of national publicity, and a lot of it was negative. When they do this again in 2014, hopefully they’ll get it right this time. There was talk of Wrigley hosting a bowl game after this, and if they pull off future football games, maybe this will happen.
And you have to wonder, why didn’t they notice the potential disaster of the end zone wall until just 5 days before the big game? They didn’t see it when they originally drew it up? Maybe this really was all a brilliant way to stir up publicity?
A university source told the Tribune that while Wrigley will not be host to a football game in 2013, other NU teams (baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse) might play some there this year. Given that scheduling an October game (Nebraska comes to town that month, they’ll sell the place out) could threaten a Cubs playoff game…yeah, I had a hard time taking the previous sentence seriously. I couldn’t keep a straight face while typing it. Iowa on Nov. 8 and Illinois on Nov. 29 are potential 2014 dates, both opponents would also fill the place. And maybe ESPN College Gameday will come back to add to the buzz.
More from Teddy Greenstein’s article:
In an October interview with the Tribune, Ricketts forecasted more football games at Wrigley, called the 2010 Illinois-NU game “one of the greatest days in Wrigley Field history” and said: “When I saw the Northwestern band on the field at halftime, I almost cried.”
Ricketts lives three blocks from the Wildcats’ home Ryan Field and has been a guest lecturer to the class Phillips teaches at NU’s Kellogg School of Management.
A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.