Northwestern to play five future football games at Wrigley Field

By Kevin Kelley -
Wrigley Field
Northwestern will play 5 future games at Wrigley Field. Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Northwestern Wildcats will play five future football games at Wrigley Field in Chicago, NU Athletics and the Chicago Cubs announced today.

Dates and opponents for the those five football games will be announced at a later date due to the scheduling of the Wrigley Field restoration project.

Northwestern has also agreed to feature several other athletic programs at the historic stadium, including baseball and lacrosse. One date is already set: Northwestern baseball will host Michigan on April 20, 2013.

“We are thrilled to partner with a professional sports franchise as iconic as the Chicago Cubs in an agreement that truly is the first of its kind,” said Jim Phillips, Northwestern University Vice President For Athletics & Recreation. “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. I’d like to personally thank the Ricketts family and the entire Cubs executive team for all of their efforts in bringing this remarkable partnership to fruition.”

On November 10, 2010, Northwestern fell to Illinois 48-27 in the first football game played at Wrigley Field since 1970. The field used an East-West configuration (home plate to right field), but clearances by as little as one foot between the East end zone and the outfield wall forced them to play only towards the West end zone.

Wrigley Field End Zone Update

The Chicago Cubs told ESPN that they will adjust the field so that both end zones can be used going forward.

“We would move the dugout top, and that would allow us to put a 12-foot perimeter around the whole field, which would satisfy the NCAA,” Cubs president Crane Kenney said. “That’s not an issue with enough time to work on it in advance and would be part of our renovation plan.”

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Comments (13)

horrible idea….they’re going to play all these games using the one-side endzone format? The restoration doesn’t impact field size according to the articles I’ve seen.

ESPN’s article also includes a bit more on how the third bse dugout will become ‘removable’. So, the west endzone can be extended about 5 feet further to the west. That will give enough clearance on the east endzone.

The whole field also will shift a few feet towards the outfield, creating enough clearance on the first base side to house a visiting team. The NCAA will probably allow that the visiting side 30-yard line limit will be waived, so that that sideline’s bench area can shift towards the west and the home plate area.

I think they might end up even making the ‘front row’ around the first and third base dugouts also removable… thus giving even better clearances.

As for Soldier Field: Wrigley has none of the drainage problems Soldier still does… and Wrigley’s not right on the lake getting the brunt of bad weather.

How is any game being played at Wrigley a bad idea??? Sounds like a party to me. I guess you people don’t like the Winter Classic either. Excellent idea. Can’t wait!!!

NIU please!!! Or are the Mildcats scared? Come on Phillips… get in touch with your former employer and make it happen!

When the Bears played there, the left field foul line was one sideline, no issues with “too short” endzones, I recall.

The early word is at least two of the 5 dates will be filled with Northwestern vs NIU and Northwestern vs BYU. The NIU game is a “one and done” although they are trying for a Home and Home but that is not something the AD wants at this time. BYU was another good non conference that was supposed to be a “one and done as well” but over the last couple weeks it now looks like it will turn into a series, starting with an away game at BYU in Sept 2014, a neutral @ Wrigley 2016 and home @ Evanston in 2018. Outside of those two they are still trying to get a “one and done” with Missouri and West Virginia, those aren’t likely. The University of Minnesota has reached out and shown interest in moving our game there in 2015.

I like the NIU and BYU games as non conference additions. NIU shouldn’t get a series. BYU actually asked the Wildcats to come to Provo in NOVEMBER (yes NOVember) of 2014, they said – thanks but no thanks – and eventually settled on September 13, 2014 Much better weather in Utah at that time of year. I would really like to see that WVU game get added as well in 2014 if there is room!

Football at Wrigley just is not a good Idea. Yes I know the Bears played there for decades and there was problems back then too. Both teams used the same sidelines as a bench. The field went north south like all football fields did and still do (except that game in 2010 at Wrigley had to go east west do to a remodel of part of the park) One endzone had a corner cut off to fit the field in, and they had to put padding in the 3rd base dugout incase someone fell into it. So a field NEVER fit there but it was used for 50 years of unsafe football.