Notre Dame and Army To Play At Yankee Stadium
Notre Dame and Army will play the first football game at the new Yankee Stadium next year, rekindling a tradition that took off after Knute Rockne’s “Win one for the Gipper” speech more than 80 years ago.
The teams will meet in 2010, across the street from where they played more than 20 times, a person familiar with the arrangement told The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement is next week.
“I think it’d be cool. But the way that park’s playing, I don’t know if it can hold a 100-yard football field,” said Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, a former star wide receiver for the Fighting Irish.
The Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y., reported earlier on the pairing between two of college football’s most storied programs.
The New York Yankees called a news conference for Monday. Army is expected to play more games in the future at the $1.5 billion baseball stadium, with Rutgers and possibly Syracuse involved, another person familiar with the scheduling told the AP on condition of anonymity.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the negotiations were far along, but would not acknowledge a completed deal. He said such a matchup would be a home game for the Fighting Irish, meaning it would be broadcast on NBC.
Added Notre Dame senior associate athletic director John Heisler: “We’ve been talking about playing Army in some way, shape or form, but we just haven’t nailed down all the details. Now we’re trying to figure out where does Yankee Stadium fit in terms of opponents, years, when and how.”
Notre Dame still has two dates not scheduled for next year, including one home game. November would appear to be a prime month to play the game.
“I think it’s great. I’m excited to watch it – as long as they don’t do it in September,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Friday night’s game against Detroit.
The Irish and Army played at the old Yankee Stadium nearly every year from 1925-46, when the two programs were among the best in the nation.
The House that Ruth Built was the site in 1928 when Rockne invoked the memory of the late George Gipp during a rousing halftime speech. The twice-beaten Irish beat undefeated Army 12-6.
The matchup grew so popular that $3.30 tickets for the 1946 showdown were sold for as much as $200, a game that ended in a scoreless tie between No. 1 Army and No. 2 Notre Dame.
Future Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack of Notre Dame made a game-saving open-field tackle of fellow Heisman winner Doc Blanchard. The 0-0 result was considered by many at the time to be the greatest college football game in history.
“I know there’s a big East Coast following for Notre Dame,” Samardzija said before the Cubs’ game at Washington. “I think it’s good for Notre Dame, being countrywide, to play as many different spots as possible. … The more they can travel, the better it is for them.”
“I’d like to see them go overseas like they used to do. They used to go to Dublin and places like that. They used to play at the old Polo Grounds, so I think it’ll be cool. That’s the cool thing about going to Notre Dame – you never know what’ll happen, who or where you’ll play. It’ll be exciting.”
Milwaukee Brewers infielder Craig Counsel, a Notre Dame alum, liked the idea.
“I know that was a tradition, but I don’t really remember it. It’s a long time ago. But I think anytime you go into those venues, it’s kind of cool,” Counsell said. “I thought when they played hockey in Wrigley Field, that was a little different and definitely cool.”