Chicago Cubs: Could Wrigley Field host another NCAA football game soon?
The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field last hosted a college football game in 2010. Northwestern and Illinois faced off, but we’re forced to use just half of the field due to safety concerns. Could football return to Wrigley in 2020 on a grander scale?
The Chicago Cubs have big dreams for Wrigleyville in the coming years. The Cubs will be in a “pardon our dust” situation for much of the next three years. But after that, they have their eyes on college football returning to Wrigley, as well as trying to host a bowl game. When the Yankees began hosting the Pinstripe Bowl, many thought it was a joke. Football in a baseball stadium? In the winter? But it’s become a hit–a cult classic–and the Cubs think Wrigley could offer the same experience.
The hope is that it will start with Northwestern hosting several games in the 2020 season. With all the construction taking place, there’s a moratorium on those talks until after the 2019 season. But by then, the dugouts will be moved closer to the foul pole. This will eliminate the safety concerns that plagued the game in 2010. The evolution of Wrigley Field will be about complete, and team president Crane Kenney hopes to bring football back to the Friendly Confines.
"“Concerts that may not sell out elsewhere sell out at Wrigley,” Kenney said. “It’s because of the ballpark, Wrigleyville, Chicago, the history. It gives us confidence that a bowl game will succeed here.”"
Much work to be done
If the Cubs plan to host a bowl game, it will take at least two years to line up conferences, find a sponsor and a broadcast partner. All that combined with the ongoing construction makes 2020 an ideal time to bring football back to Wrigley.
For some, hosting a bowl game in cold weather seems..strange. But that wasn’t always the case. In recent years, bowls have moved to warm weather sites like Tampa, the Bahamas and California. But football used to be played in cold weather. During the announcement of the Pinstripe Bowl, Yankees president Randy Levine was seated next to mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s thought? “Wasn’t football supposed to be played in cold weather?”
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It indeed was. And the corner of Clark and Addison seems to be one of the most historic places to play it. Maybe a few more years of good Cubs baseball and another World Series or two, the “Dynasty Bowl” might be born.