clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Play football at Yankee Stadium? Why not MSG?

New, 22 comments

The story is out that Pat Hobbs is looking to schedule Rutgers football for Yankee Stadium. History says that may not be a good idea.

rvc73

The cat's out of the bag.  Maybe.

Our Griffin Whitmer reported that AD Pat Hobbs is looking to put a Rutgers game into Yankee Stadium.  This news came on the heels of Hobbs and football coach Chris Ash throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium last Tuesday.

The post got a lot of reaction.  From Griffin's point of view it is an horrible idea: bad sight lines, bad sod and footing, not being at home in Piscataway.  There were those who agreed and those who said why not.

Only if...

...it is a non conference game. Still allows for six home games that season. And is early enough in the season to tailgate outside. (Parking decks suck!)

If this occurred once every four years so the kids can say they played in Yankee stadium in their college careers, good. But as a fan venue, baseball stadiums stink.

by RUinChiTown on May 25, 2016

It's about branding

I wouldn't want to give up a home conference game, the players hate the field and the sight lines suck. However this would be all about branding , making connections and developing the fan base. It wouldn't be great for the team, but in today's $ CFB arms race, it might be good for the program. Playing a game at MetLife wouldn't carry the same impact.

by RealMenDon'tTroll on May 25, 2016

Not so much a "mistake," but more like marking your territory

I mean other schools, such as New York's College Team and the team from the Sixth Borough are trying to stake a claim in NYC.

Having a relationship with the Yankees is like planting a flag and declaring that New York City is a part of the State of Rutgers.

The sod situation can't be that bad anymore because the field is sodded in for NYCFC games.

Californian in Exile

by secret ASian man on May 25, 2016

We wanna win NYC???

All we need to do is WIN. Period! Look at the response we got in 2006, and we were already in a watered down Big East.

by DJSpanky on May 25, 2016

Only someone who is not a Rutgers season ticket holder

thinks we should move some of our best Big Ten opponents to MetLife.

by thevinman on May 25, 2016

This would be a horrible idea.

Give up a home game in Piscataway for the current Yankee Stadium? Not only do we give up an advantageous home field advantage, we then open the door for schools with a sense of entitlement to try to bully us into moving our game against them to that place. And for those who think that wouldn't happen, remember how ND tried to modify our agreement with them so that our home games would have been at Giants Stadium.

Furthermore, I believe that if they agreed to start playing a game there (or at Giants Stadium II) we'd experience a drop in season ticket sales.

by DJSpanky on May 25, 2016

A little up, a little down.  Griffin's poll, which had well over 450 votes at this writing, was showing clear opposition to putting a game at the House that....Somebody Built.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a Yankee fan.  I attended the first Pinstripe Bowl and was singularly unimpressed with the "new" Yankee Stadium.  And I have a number of friends who are Yankee fans who feel that Citi Field is a much better and nicer place to watch a baseball game.  For baseball.  They are both stadiums that were designed for....baseball.  Football is an after thought.

But beyond the layout and sight lines, there is one very good reason not to play a "local" game away from Piscataway.

History.

Sit back, boys and girls, we're gonna learn ya some facts about what happens when RU travels across the river to play the game it helped create.

It wasn't just in the Bronx

For starters, Rutgers' first foray into playing teams in NYC did not focus on Yankee Stadium.  In fact, when Rutgers played its first game in the Big Apple, the Yankees didn't exist.  And that was in the 19th Century....more about that later.

The first college game played by RU in a major stadium was in 1914 - at the old home of the New York [Baseball] Giants, the Polo Grounds.  The Queensmen lost to Washington & Jefferson, 20-13.  And it didn't get much better after that.  In all, RU played eight games at Coogan's Bluff and went 2-6. Including three consecutive losses to Syracuse, Nebraska, and Notre Dame by a combined 97-0.  If we're going to invite a team to play us, try LSU; we beat them 25-0 in 1922.

As for the "old" Yankee Stadium, our first game there was in 1927, the same year that Babe Ruth hit 60 homeruns.  In his honor, we lost to NYU, 60-0.  NYU hasn't played football since 1953.  Between that first game in 1927 and the eighth - and final - game in 1948, Rutgers went 2-6 at the Stadium.  That last game was, interestingly, against NYU with Rutgers obviously helping the Violets to decide to drop football seven years later, beating them 40-0.

Then there was Brooklyn

The Barclay Center may be the hub of sports activity in Kings County these days, but until 1958, Ebbetts Field, home to the beloved "Bums" of Brooklyn, was the heart and soul of the borough.  And it even hosted college football, including two visits by Rutgers in 1917 and 1918.  In both games, Rutgers played a team of U.S. Navy sailors, a common practice in those halcyon days; they topped Newport Naval Reserve Station, 14-0 in 1917 before losing in 1918, 54-14 to Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

And just to confirm that Rutgers did, in fact, help end NYU football - and also to complete the rounds of all of NYC's stadia, The Chanticleers and Violets (can you imagine?) played at Randall's Island in 1951 with RU topping NYU, 55-0.

So, in New York City, playing outdoors (be patient....), Rutgers is 8-14.  And we want to go back there?

But what about Giants Stadium?

Yeah, what about it?

The stadium in the swamp opened in 1976.  And as Rutgers marched towards its second undefeated season, ABC decided to put the game on TV on Thanksgiving night, necessitating a move to a place with lights.  Rutgers' first game at the Meadowlands was a victory over Colgate, 17-9.  Shoulda stopped then.

The next season, Rutgers opened with #13 Penn State at Giants Stadium.  We were feeling our oats.  We were pretty good and we were going to show JoPa that his big, bad boys in blue weren't going to push us around.  Final score: PSU 45, Rutgers 7

And over the next 21 years, including the entire 1993 season when construction was being done to expand Rutgers Stadium, the Knights played 45 games in East Rutherford.  Final tally: 19-26, including the 1978 loss to Arizona State in the inaugural Garden State Bowl.

Indoor vs. outdoor

One more comment from Griffin's post.

Ooh

Could you imagine a game in MSG? That'd be tight. Literally, and figuratively.

Success with Honor

by Lucius429 on May 26, 2016

Interesting that Lucius429 mentions that.  Because we did play there.  Well, not the current version, but MSG 2, down by the actual Madison Square at E. 26th Street and Madison Avenue.  In 1899.  We lost to the "Knickerbocker ACL", 11-0.  While I feel awful losing to a leg injury, this apparently was, according to the source of all knowledge - Wikipedia -  "the the Knickerbocker Athletic Club....an early amateur and later professional football team based in New York City from around 1897 until 1902."

Pat Hobbs may be looking to expand the brand, plant the flag in NYC, bond with the Steinbrenners.  But history is not on our side when we cross the river.  Bruce didn't go there; he came this way.

Tonight Im gonna take that ride
Across the river to the Jersey side

If we're crossing any rivers, make it the Raritan.  Piscataway is just fine, Pat.