Can We Finally Put This Emphasis on Attendance to Rest?

Mike Gibson@paprepsCorrespondent INovember 25, 2009

If you haven't seen it, I direct your attention to Mike Jensen's fabulous piece in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer on Temple's wonderful long-time football fans.
You can find it by going to Philly.com and doing a search for Temple.

I've said this for years and not just because he's a colleague of mine and a good guy, Mike Jensen is the best college writer in Philadelphia.

He's really really a terrific wordsmith, a craftsman whose effort is to be admired the way you'd look at a beautiful painting.

After reading "Temple of Boom"—a terrific headline, by the way, played off a quote in the story about the bemoaning of 'Temple of Doom' headlines—I looked at Jensen's Mona Lisa and saw a scratch mark.

This line bothered me, Jensen talking about Temple's crowd of 21,046 at the Kent State home finale, a 47-13 win for the Owls:

"The announced attendance of 21,046 seemed slightly highmaybe old habits die hard."

Geez, I thought, when will this stuff ever end?

First of all, Temple hasn't "made up" attendance figures since the old Al Shrier days at Temple Stadium when Al was the sports information director.

A writer would eyeball the crowd, and turn to look at Shrier, who was always standing with his briefcase in hand, behind the back of the press box.

"How many would you say are here, Al?" the guy would ask.

"Ten thousand," Shrier would say.

Then that figure would appear next at the bottom of the box score.

A-10,000.

The next week the same routine would happen and the same figure would appear under the boxscore.

It hasn't been that way since the day of the scanner and they've had them since the stadium was opened in 2003.

My ticket is scanned, your ticket is scanned and that goes into a computer.

The figure generated by the computer, not the Temple AD or SID, is used at the bottom of the boxscore.

Nobody's hacking into the computer.

There's no conspiracy theory.

Current Temple AD Bill Bradshaw isn't running up to the press box and making his guy change the numbers.

It's just not happening.

I asked Bradshaw how this figure was generated yesterday and his response generally was that it's the total number of people who have their ticket scanned coming through the door.

That seemed more than reasonable. There is a terrific photo accompanying this story by Ryan Porter that shows the Temple side of the field. It's packed. It was that way from end zone to end zone at Lincoln Financial Field.

I ran into a few folks in the parking lot postgame and I mentioned I thought the crowd was "about 25,000." One guy said 27,000. Another guy said 26,000. Another guy said 23,000. My friend, Mark, said he didn't know what the crowd was but it "wasn't (as high as) 25,000."

Nobody said as low as 21,046 and none of them were named Al Shrier.

To me, after 30 years of losing, eight straight games isn't going to fill the house.

That's just not realistic to expect.

But Saturday was a HUGE step in the right direction and I was very impressed with Temple's fans and it only bodes well for future attendance.

It takes time to lose a fan base, but judging from Saturday, Temple is on the fast track to rebuilding one.

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