Orange Bowl Lament

By Adam Caparell - August 22, 2007


It was a sad day for college football Tuesday when Miami announced it would cease playing in the Orange Bowl after this season.

The Hurricanes are fleeing the 80-year old arena for Dolphin Stadium in hopes of earning an extra $1.5-2 worth of revenue per year, and consequently are turning their back on all the history and tradition that is one of the country's greatest athletic venues.

No longer wanting to play in an out-dated and rundown stadium, the Hurricanes are said to be signing a 25-year lease at Dolphin Stadium - where the Orange Bowl game has been contested since 1996 - and spurning the idea of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on upgrading the facility.

From a business standpoint, the move makes sense and you can understand why Miami officials came to the conclusion they did. The Orange Bowl is aging and has seen considerably better days. It's deteriorated, in need of major, major upgrades that would cost in excess of $200 million, reportedly. It's not in a nice neighborhood and parking's an issue while Dolphin Stadium is a much newer, much nicer, much bigger and a much more accessible venue to the car/jet set crowd.

But Dolphins Stadium is not the Orange Bowl, where so many college football memories have been made, from bowl games and national championships to Wide Rights, Flutie miracles and Miami magic.

The Hurricanes started playing in the Orange Bowl the same year it opened and they'd go on to win three national titles on the field. They also strung togehter an NCAA-record 58-game home winning streak from 1985-94 on the Orange Bowl turf.

Dolphin Stadium can't hold a candle to the kind of history that's been made in the Orange Bowl. In fact, Dolphin Stadium has gone through more name changes (from Joe Robbie Stadium to Pro Player Park to Pro Player Stadium to its current title) since it opened in 1987 than the Orange Bowl has during its existence (one).

Now it looks like the building that has hosted the second most Super Bowls in history (including one of the greatest upsets in championship history - Super Bowl III), boxing matches, soccer showdowns and more classic college games than just about any other place in the country will see its last Hurricanes game Nov. 10. And after that, who knows.

For anyone who's ever been to the Orange Bowl or covered a game there, it's a surreal feeling walking into the building and thinking back to all great moments it hosted. You can just sense the nostalgia and history of the place - you get chills walking onto the field as you think to yourself,"This is where Joe Namath ran off the field during Super Bowl III, waving that finger in triumph, and this is spot where Gerard Phelan caught Doug Flutie's Hail Mary in 1984 that launched him to the Heisman." So many great players played their ball there and so many great coaches stalked the sidelines and it's a shame that more people aren't going to get a chance to experience that same feeling that came over me during my first visit to the Orange Bowl in 2002.

Basically the place is an institution and now it could very well be nothing more than a demolished old stadium soon. The Marlins may build a new ballpark there or condos could be built on the site. No one knows for sure what will happen, but what is known is that the Hurricanes leaving the Orange Bowl is a huge, huge a loss for college football.

They say tradition never graduates, but unfortunately it can easily be replaced and demolished.

Hart Over Henne: The fact that Chad Henne enters his fourth year as Michigan's quarterback and was passed over as a team captain was a little surprising.

The Wolverine players picked 2007's team captains and went with running back Mike Hart, tackle Jake Long - two very worthy candidates - and linebacker Shawn Crable over Henne who could wind up as the most prolific quarterback in Michigan history.

Probably reading way more into that than should be, but I guess it doesn't say a whole lot for Henne's leadership ability or how his teammates think of him that he wasn't tabbed as a captian. The guy's been under center for three straight years already, but maybe the combined 0-6 record against Ohio State and bowl opponents came back to bite him.


Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:15 PM on August 22, 2007
Comments (1)

Comments

The Orange Bowl is a dump and should be torn down. I'm not sure if playing at Dolphins Stadium is good for a college atmosphere all it will do is show how few people really attend most games. Miami better use the extra 2 mil a year to improve facilities and keep their winning tradition up.

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