In a creative marketing move, Northwestern’s football program will play five future home games in historic Wrigley Field.
The Big Ten university and the Chicago Cubs announced earlier today that not only will the Wildcats’ football program be showcased in the Friendly Confines, but a wide range of NU athletic programs will be featured at one of Major League Baseball’s temples.
Along with Pat Fitzgerald’s football program, Wildcat baseball and lacrosse teams will have games at Wrigley Field in the coming years.
“As Chicago’s Big Ten Team, this is a natural fit that will create tremendous opportunities for our student-athletes, our coaches and our fans in the area,” said Jim Phillips, Northwestern vice president for athletics & recreation.
It also will aid Northwestern’s recruiting efforts, too.
The Wildcats’ football program has called Wrigley Field home before as they hosted Illinois in 2010 in what was the first college football game at Wrigley since 1938. It was the first football game played in Wrigley since the Chicago Bears departed for Soldier Field following the 1970 season.
Northwestern lost that game to the Fighting Illini, 48-27.
Overshadowing the outcome of that game was all the publicity garnered due to the rule changes that had to be put into place as a result of safety concerns.
You might recall offensive plays ran only toward the west end zone near the third-base dugout. The reason for that was because the east end zone in right field came within a foot or so of the heavily padded outfield brick wall. When their were possession changes, the ball was repositioned.
The only score that occurred in the east end zone was an interception return by Northwestern.
Whether such rule changes will have to be implemented again for future football games is unknown, but is certainly something to keep an eye on.
The partnership with the Cubs and Northwestern is expected to extend to the university’s many 19 varsity programs in the coming years.
As for Northwestern’s football games, those are pending due to the scheduling of Wrigley Field’s multi-million dollar restoration project. Details on football game dates and opponents will be provided in the future.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.