Whenever a deal is signed, it’s always advisable to look at the fine print.
To me, what to look for in the most recent Lincoln Financial Field extension Temple signed this week was that option.
A five-year deal with no option probably meant that Temple University was close to putting up a stadium of its own. A five-year deal with a five-year option probably meant not close.
The fine print suggests not close.
In Marc Narducci’s Philly.com article–that somewhat surprisingly made the front page of the Inquirer’s sports section–the key words to me were this: “the deal includes a five-year option for the Owls beyond the first five seasons.”
The architect for the earlier project, Moody Nolan, says it should take no more than three years from the time the first shovel is put into the ground to opening day and noted that the typical stadium construction is usually no more than 12-18 months.
So do the math.
If Temple’s administration thought they needed an additional five years on top of the five years they got, it means they are not even close to a shovel-in-the-ground date. If they were close enough to announce a date in, say, the next couple of years, they would have probably shunned the option.
What’s it all mean?
The good news is that the ugly Moody Nolan concept is probably a thing of the past and that a new stadium in another place on campus gives Temple a chance to go over some more attractive stadium concepts than the glorified high school stadium look Nolan presented.
The bad news probably means there won’t be a stadium on the campus for another decade if that. Temple is no longer in a hurry to get this done.
That’s bad news for those of us who want to live long enough to see a real home-field advantage for Temple. You know, the kind where the opposing quarterback looks over to the sideline and tells his coach “I can’t hear.” I remember that as a young kid at Temple Stadium only on a couple of occasions–the 39-36 win over West Virginia and the 34-7 win over Boston College in the 1970s.
Other than that, Temple’s really never had that kind of home-field advantage and that’s kind of sad.
At the Vet and the Linc, while it could get loud, it wasn’t the same as what the Owls experienced on the road in places like Cincinnati last year and ECU when the Pirates first came into the AAC.
Maybe someday, but a decade is a long time for a lot of us.
As Martin Luther King once said, “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”
Temple might or might not get to the promised land, but the talk of this stadium that began well over a decade ago will continue to be talk for another decade and there are a whole lot of us who might never get to that promised land. It’s a shame because if the stadium had been built where the library is now and the library put at 15th and Norris, the neighbors who have held up this project for so long would have had no say.
That’s what you get when you hire two guys from Bloomington to run a Philadelphia university as CEO and CFO. Hopefully, the university has learned something from that mistake.
Monday: The Ones That Got Away