5 Northwestern football games at Wrigley Field this decade, Cubs and NU partner up


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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 the next games go off without a hitch, maybe there will indeed be a bowl game.

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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.

There will be five games in total. The first will be in 2014, the rest depends on the Wrigley Field renovation schedule, the other four could be spread out over six to eight years.

More from Teddy Greenstein’s article:

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts is tight with (NU Athletic Director Jim Phillips) and is a major supporter of NU sports.

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.”

Phillips also has said he would look into scheduling games at Soldier Field, but Notre Dame and Illinois already have done that. (The Illini play Washington there Sept. 14.)

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.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

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.

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