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Tulane Stadium

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Operator  Tulane University
Closed  August 3, 1975
Opened  23 October 1926
Owner  Tulane University
Broke ground  April 7, 1924
Capacity  80,985
Phone  +1 504-865-5000
Tulane Stadium
Location  New Orleans, Louisiana  United States
Record attendance  86,598 (December 1, 1973)
Surface  Poly-Turf (1971–1979) Grass (1926–January 1, 1971)
Address  202 McAlister Ext, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
Similar  Miami Orange Bowl, Rice Stadium, Tampa Stadium, Mercedes‑Benz Superdome, Metropolitan Stadium

Remembering tulane stadium


Tulane Stadium was an outdoor football stadium located in New Orleans, that stood from 1926 to 1980. Officially known as the Third Tulane Stadium, it replaced the "Second Tulane Stadium" where the Telephone Exchange Building is now located. The former site is currently bound by Willow Street to the south, Ben Weiner Drive to the east, the Tulane University property line west of McAlister Place, and the Hertz Basketball/Volleyball Practice Facility and the Green Wave's current home, Yulman Stadium, to the north.

Contents

The stadium hosted three of the first nine Super Bowls in 1970, 1972, and 1975.

Tulane stadium


Opening

The stadium was opened in 1926 with a seating capacity of roughly 35,000 on the sidelines of the field. Tulane Stadium was built on Tulane University's campus (before 1871, Tulane's campus was Paul Foucher's Plantation, where Foucher's father-in-law, Etienne de Bore, had first granulated sugar from cane syrup).

Since the institution of the annual Sugar Bowl game, Tulane Stadium itself was often informally referred to as "the Sugar Bowl". It was also billed as "The Queen of Southern Stadiums". It was in a portion of Tulane University's main campus in Uptown New Orleans fronting Willow Street, with parking stretching to Claiborne Avenue. The original 1926 structure was mostly of brick and concrete.

The institution of the annual Sugar Bowl game

The first Sugar Bowl game was played at the stadium on January 1, 1935, matching host Tulane against the Temple Owls from Philadelphia. The term "Sugar Bowl" had been coined by Fred Digby, sports editor of the New Orleans Item, who had been pushing for an annual New Year's Day football game since 1927.

Seating expansion

The stadium was eventually expanded to seat up to 80,985 fans. In its final configuration, the stadium included four concrete and steel sections (separated at the corners of the field), with a short steel upper deck wrapping around the sides and north end of the stadium. The press box was located on the western side of the field, and the main gate (pictured above) was at the southern end of the field facing Willow Street. The support structure for the upper deck was entirely open, exposing the ramps and lattice work, and hiding the original brick facade underneath with the exception of the Willow Street end of the stadium. Lights were installed in 1957. The record attendance for the stadium was set on December 1, 1973, when 86,598 watched Tulane defeat in-state rival LSU 14-0, ending a 25-year winless streak for the Green Wave against the Bayou Bengals. It was the last installment of the LSU-Tulane rivalry played on the Tulane campus.

Final Tulane and Sugar Bowl games

Almost exactly one year later, Tulane Stadium hosted its final Green Wave game, a 26–10 loss to Ole Miss on a miserably cold afternoon on November 30, 1974. Tulane would not play another on-campus game until Yulman Stadium opened in 2014. One month after the Ole Miss–Tulane game, Nebraska won the final college game in the stadium, defeating Florida 13–10 in the Sugar Bowl on December 31.

As the home of the New Orleans Saints

In addition to hosting Tulane University football games and the Sugar Bowl, the stadium was also home to the National Football League's New Orleans Saints from 1967 through 1974. The Saints' first game was a 27-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on September 17, 1967, although New Orleans provided fans with a memorable highlight when John Gilliam returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. The Saints won their last game in the stadium, 14-0 over the St. Louis Cardinals on December 8, 1974.

As the site of the Super Bowl

Tulane Stadium was the site of three early Super Bowls: IV, VI, and IX. Super Bowl IX was the final professional league game ever played at the stadium. The stadium hosted the two coldest outdoor Super Bowls, Super Bowl VI on January 16, 1972, at 39° F; and Super Bowl IX on January 12, 1975, at 46° F. Super Bowl IX was supposed to be played in the Superdome, but it wasn't finished yet.

Tom Dempsey's 63-yard field goal

Aside from the various bowls, the most memorable moment at the stadium might have been the Saints victory over the Detroit Lions on November 8, 1970. In the NFL prior to the 1974 season, the goal posts were on the goal line instead of the end line. With seconds remaining, the Saints attempted a place kick with the holder spotting at the Saints' own 37-yard line. Kicker Tom Dempsey nailed the 63-yard field goal with a couple of feet to spare, and the Saints won the game 19-17, one of only two games the Saints won that year. That record would stand alone for 28 years before it was tied by Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos, Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders, and David Akers of the San Francisco 49ers. Late in the 2013 NFL season, Denver Broncos's kicker Matt Prater broke Dempsey's record with a 64-yard field goal against the Tennessee Titans.

Usage following the opening of the Louisiana Superdome

In 1975, the day the new Louisiana Superdome was opened, Tulane Stadium was condemned. Upon appeal by the University, the older concrete and brick section was deemed fit to use, but not the newer metal seating section, which had rusted badly due to New Orleans' humid climate. The stadium then continued in more limited use for five years with the smaller seating area, used for football practice, high-school games, and other smaller events.

ZZ Top played Tulane Stadium during its Worldwide Texas Tour July 17, 1976. Fans rioted and threw objects at police officers, prompting Tulane to ban any future concerts on campus.

The Denver Broncos used Tulane Stadium as its practice facility prior to Super Bowl XII, the first Super Bowl played in the Superdome.

Tulane Stadium's final game

The last game played in the stadium was a game between New Orleans Catholic League teams Chalmette High School and Jesuit High School on November 3, 1979. The final touchdown was on a 9-yard pass from Keith Mason to Craig Stieber with 4:08 remaining, helping Chalmette win by 23-9.

Demolition

On November 2, 1979, Tulane President Sheldon Hackney announced that the stadium would be demolished. The demolition started on November 18, 1979 and ended in June 1980. While the storage areas underneath the seating in the stadium were being emptied prior to demolition, various neglected University possessions were rediscovered, including an Ancient Egyptian mummy couple.

The site is currently home to the Aron and Willow student housing complexes, the Diboll parking structure, the Reily Student Fitness Center and Brown Quad.

Tulane Stadium is one of five stadiums that had hosted a Super Bowl game that are no longer standing. Tampa Stadium, which hosted two Super Bowls, was demolished in April 1999; Stanford Stadium, which hosted one Super Bowl, was demolished and redeveloped in 2005-2006; the Orange Bowl, which hosted five Super Bowls, was demolished in May 2008; and the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which also hosted one Super Bowl, was demolished in March 2014.

References

Tulane Stadium Wikipedia


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