Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Nov 2010

Only One End Zone To Be Used At Wrigley

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany stepped in at the last minute and decided that the right field end zone at Wrigley Field for this weekend's Illinois-Northwestern game is too dangerous. All offensive possessions will be played east to west.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 19 Nov 2010

31 comments, Last at 22 Nov 2010, 4:45pm by Gringo Starr


by andrew :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 1:01pm

There's a brick wall there behind the ivy, right?

I remember reading about a game when Paul Flatley (if anyone remembers him) caught a pass in the end zone in full stride with no chance of stopping in time, he tried instead to leap into the crowd and crashed into some kind of brass section for a band that Halas kept there, injuring at least some of the musicians who had been playing at the time.

by billsfan :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 1:14pm

The goalpost is supported by a brick wall:


(I also like the Eagles)

by Marko :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 2:44pm

I remember reading a story about a game in which Bronko Nagurski scored a touchdown and then crashed into the brick wall without realizing that he had done so. After the game, he said something like "That last guy hit me pretty good."

This story is especially surprising because it's not as if they haven't played a lot of football games at Wrigley Field. Although the Bears haven't played there since 1970, I know that until recently, more NFL games had been played at Wrigley Field than at any other stadium. I believe Lambeau Field now holds that distinction. You would think someone would have realized that the brick wall would ba a major issue.

by tuluse :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 3:04pm

Just rub some dirt on it.

by Bobman :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:32pm

Ivy apparently has some anasthetic properties. At least for Bronco nagurski...

by Will Allen :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:53pm

When I read that Nagurski story as a kid, he became, and has remained, my favorite football player of all time. I once went 100 miles out of my way to visit the gas station in International Falls that The Bronk owned. The guy is the Paul Bunyan of football; they shoulda' let'im play with a blue ox!

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 11/20/2010 - 6:11pm

pretty sure Giants Stadium hold more games than any other. Giants plyed there 1976-2009
. Jets 84-09.

Lambeau not used as long as you think.
Packers strart playing there 1957. Many years 1953-94 also woudl play some games in Milwaukee. In later years (1980s, 1990sz) tema would play 5 in GBa nd 3 in milwaikee.

by Marko :: Sun, 11/21/2010 - 12:03am

I think you are right about Giants Stadium being the stadium that passed Wrigley Field for this distinction. I had read somewhere that Lambeau passed up Wrigley - maybe Lambeau is now number two on the list. I do remember that the Packers used to play some of their games in Milwaukee. I seem to recall in the 1970s and 1980s that they played two games a year there, but they may have played three.

by Dean :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 1:29pm

Sounds like "once in a lifetime" isn't hyperbole for a change.

by WookieeBH (not verified) :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 1:34pm

SO I guess 'safety' wouldn't be the appropriate term then.

by Lou :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 1:58pm


by JasonK :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 2:10pm

Whoever bought tickets for those seats right above the wall has got to be pissed.

by dryheat :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 2:26pm

I find it hilarious that they just figured this out now.

by dmb :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 2:46pm

I think they should fully commit to the "one end zone" idea for this game, and the defense must try to take the ball into its "own" end zone on any turnovers. THAT would spice things up!

by DavidL :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:06pm

But only after they take the ball out to the 50-yard-line and then turn around.

by spenczar :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:09pm

And before a new offensive posession, you have to throw the ball to the other team's middle linebacker and say "check" to make sure he's ready.

by dmb :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:33pm

I was actually going to make that joke, but I realized that they could only take it "back" to the 50 if the turnover happens in the defense's own territory. So I agree that it must be full-fledged half-court rules whenever the offense gets the ball past the 50, but if the turnover happens on the other side of the field, it must be a 22-man sprint for 50+ yards to the end zone.

The most fun would be watching the defenders try to figure out which they need to do.

by PTORaven :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 7:41pm

Are you sure it's the 50 yard line? I think it's the 45 yard line for college football and the 50 for the pros.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:27pm

Why do I have a feeling that halfway through the fourth quarter one of the qb's mom is going to show up, announce that it is dinnertime, and pull him by the ear into a waiting car?

by Bobman :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:33pm

I read the complaints on CFT, but frankly I think it's a neat solution.

by Bobman :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:37pm

I bet the game goes along smaashingly, well played, no injuries or wall-related SNAFUs until there is a pick six to break a tie with time expiring, the DB runs through a million crazy tackles, juking, jiving, dancing down the sideline, and with 11 offensive players in hot pursuit to samve the game, he scores at a full sprint, only to run through the EZ and 12 men all slam into the wall.

by Marko :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 4:51pm

Gus Frerotte is very disappointed by this development.

by Dave Bernreuther :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 5:17pm

They could've made it a 99 or 90 yard field and it would affect the game less than this.

I have a better idea: stop staging pointless stunts and wedging boring games between bad teams into stadiums where they don't belong.

I'm told that the field ran north/south when the Bears played there and that a corner of the end zone was simply lopped off. Not sure if that's accurate or not, but things sure were different back then...

by zlionsfan :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 8:03pm

That seems to have been true for the Los Angeles version as well as the Chicago one.

by dbt :: Sat, 11/20/2010 - 12:27am

The walls both around the outfield and behind home plate have been reconfigured enough to make that not possible anymore.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 11/20/2010 - 6:15pm

old Vikings stadum had end zone right at stands. think one corner of end zone cut off. whoile thing coudl not fit

by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 6:32pm

If someone intercepts a pass and goes to the house, is the QB allowed to helmet-spear him against the wall?

by JonFrum (not verified) :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 8:24pm

The news here is that they were going to play the game normally, until the blogosphere got hold of the story, and forced them to make the change. People went to the field, looked at the layout, and OK'd it. It wasn't until someone on a blog wrote 'someone is going to get killed' that they made the change.

So much for the 'guys in mom's basement' meme. The MSM didn't care, but the bloggers spoke out, and the powers-that-be had to CYA.

by Theo :: Sat, 11/20/2010 - 12:20pm

NFL Europe... Olympic stadium in Amsterdam. All offensive possesions where to be played left to right.
One TD came where a cornerback was lined up at the wrong side, leaving a receiver wide open.

by Gringo Starr :: Mon, 11/22/2010 - 4:45pm

I was ready to make a joke about how only one end zone gets used at Ralph Wilson Stadium too...