LFF Deal kills the on-campus buzz

Screenshot 2020-02-13 at 2.41.44 PM

If Temple built the stadium here (enough room if the Maxi’s row and Sullivan Hall behind it were knocked down), the entire stadium would have been inside Temple’s footprint and the neighbors would not have been affected.

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?

Screenshot 2020-02-13 at 2.48.15 PM

A future stadium that looks like this with the fans right on top of the field would be more of a home-field advantage than the original concept of Moody Nolan.

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.

Screenshot 2020-02-13 at 2.53.18 PM

The original glorified high school stadium design

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



The Dotted Line=No Stadium (Yet)


This could be your urinal at Franklin Field next year if Temple does not reach an agreement with the Eagles.

One of the topics often talked about among Temple fans in the parking lot last year was the stadium issue.

Make no mistake, a major college football team without a stadium is an issue in the nation’s fourth-largest market.

Then it was 12 months, then 11, then 10 and then nine until Temple needed a place to play and did not have one, at least officially.

We’re about at the eighth-month mark and there is still no signature on the dotted line.

Soon enough, we will be at one. You’ve got to think this is a pretty big story on the Philadelphia sports scene but you are much more likely to read speculative pieces in the offseason on who the Eagles’ right backup guard will be then how the negotiations with Temple and Jeffrey Lurie are going.

Screenshot 2020-01-23 at 9.42.25 AM

Hat tip to one of the greatest cornerbacks in Temple history, Joe Greenwood, for this graphic.

That’s where the Temple News comes into play. Somebody in the media now cares about an issue a lot of us care about and The Temple News, not the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News or Philadelphia Magazine, finally wrote something about it.

Basically, the bottom line is nothing has been done about a contract and there is no signature ceremony planned and we are running out of time. Urinals at Franklin Field could be the least of the Owls’ problems. The AAC might be forced to keep Temple off the home TV schedule due to Penn having control of Saturdays and that could affect Temple’s road game exposure as well.

Is this a concern?

It should be because the requests for season tickets have gone out and I’m not 100 percent sure I will be sitting in my comfortable Section 121 end-of-the-row seat or on a wooden bench getting splinters and ducking the pigeons at Franklin Field. Ninety percent, but not 100 percent.


Since the last time Temple played a home game at Franklin Field, Penn has moved the tailgating area from the Palestra parking lot to Shoemaker Green here.

I guess Temple and the Eagles will work out a deal because really there is no other option. The university completely botched the stadium. To me, it was a no-brainer to build where the library is now, knocking down Maxi’s, the Conwell Inn and that entire Liacouras Walk and putting the Library in that big empty spot at 15th and Norris. That way, no neighbors to deal with unless the protest is against a library. That would not go over well even in neighbor-friendly Philadelphia City Council. This is what happens when you hire people from Indiana to run a Philadelphia university. The damage has already been done.

That’s a Humpty Dumpty that cannot be put together again. (Of course, there is a fix but it will be a costly one: Knock down the trade union building and put it at 15th and Norris and squeeze the Olympic sports there and put the football stadium at Broad and Master. That’s probably never going to happen.)

The irony of all this is that the entire impetus for the on-campus stadium was that the Eagles were holding Temple hostage and the university wanted to get a cost-effective way to spend their stadium money. The boomerang effect of the mishandling of the on-campus stadium issue is that they gave the Eagles even more leverage.

So whatever advantage Temple might have had bringing this whole thing up turns out to be the Owls shooting themselves in the foot. The fact that they are waiting to pull the trigger won’t make the pain go away.

Monday: A Plea to Coach Carey