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Posted at 12:51 PM ET, 11/19/2010

Big Ten decrees that only one end zone will be used for Wrigley Field football game

By Cindy Boren

It wasn't the best fit to begin with, but the powers that be were determined to jam a football field into Wrigley Field for the game between Illinois and Northwestern on Saturday.

Football at the Wrig used to be fairly routine and, if it had happened more recently than 72 years ago, perhaps someone might have remembered having one endzone ending smackdab where the brick outfield wall begins is a bad idea. It reportedly got the best of Bronco Nagurski once, so no amount of padding was going to change the fact that one Hail Mary could bring mass casualties.

Finally, someone noticed and Big Ten officials have decreed that only one end zone will be used for offense.

"It was something we've all had some concerns about in regard to the closeness of the right-field wall at Wrigley Field, so a decision was made with both coaching staffs and the athletic directors of both schools and the [Big Ten] commissioner to start every offensive possession and go west," Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.

"I think it's a student-athlete safety concern that is first and foremost, and we want to make sure there's no chance for somebody to run into that wall and get seriously injured," Brown said.

"It's a unique twist to the game, but I think it's something all parties felt was the most fair."

It seems really weird...just weird enough to make for must-see TV.

Wrigley isn't the only ballyard being converted for football. The same thing happenedto Yankee Stadium, where Army and Notre Dame play Saturday night.

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By Cindy Boren  | November 19, 2010; 12:51 PM ET
Categories:  College football  
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Comments

Love this story, because of how cool the original idea was (not that it's an "original" idea, but you know what I mean) AND how they solved the problem posed by that particular end zone.

This flipping around on every routine change of possession will make the game that much more interesting. And any plays off turnovers or blocked kicks (are blocked kicks technically turnovers?) will be that much more exciting...

And thanks for the Bronco Nagurski tip, had not heard that particular bit of lore.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 19, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

So every change of possession will mean a change of orientation and add more time to the game (although not to the clock). Shouldn't the Big10+ have thought of this before scheduling the game at Wrigley?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 19, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

BARTMAN!!! My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Bartman pass out at Murphy's last night. I guess it's pretty serious. Big Ten officials were concerned that Bartman might try to interfere with field goals at said endzone...Is Wilbon surprised???

Posted by: boricuabopper | November 19, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

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