A brief history of Columbia football at Franklin Field...
Franklin Field is one of the nation’s most historic football stadiums. It became the first two-tiered stadium in the U.S. in 1925 when the venue was expanded to 50,000 seats.
When Franklin Field was the home of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1958-70, seating could be upped to as much as 78,000 but the biggest crowd recorded was for the 1960 NFL championship at 67,325. There are about 52,000 seats now.
It was the home of the Army-Navy football game from 1899-1935.
It’s also where they booed Santa Claus at and Eagles game on December 15, 1968.
It is an excellent venue to watch a football game, with no bad seats. The whole facility is currently undergoing an upgrade that is nearly finished.
Every Ivy football fan should try to see at least one game at Franklin Field in their lifetimes.
Columbia last won at Franklin Field in 1996. That’s also the last time the Lions beat the Quakers at any venure.
The 20-19 overtime win in ’96 stands as the best Columbia game I have ever attended. It wasn’t pretty, there were lots of bad turnovers and penalties, but for sheer excitement it had it all. The Lions came into the game forced to start a 3rd string QB, but battled back from a 10-0 halftime deficit to force OT. A blocked PAT in the extra session gave Columbia a chance and then a miracle 25-yard TD pass from Paris Childress to Dennis Lee won the ball game, (of course, with the Matt Linit extra point).
Before that, the Lions hadn’t won in Philly since 1976.
Recently, Columbia has actually played better against the Quakers at Franklin Field than they have at Wien Stadium. In 2008, the Lions fell in a 15-10 defensive battle. In 2006, Columbia lost 16-0, but the game was much closer than the score would indicate. In 2004, the Lions fell by a 14-3 final in a rain-marred game. By contrast, the Penn-Columbia games in New York in 2005, 2007, and 2009 were not as close.
For the last few decades, the Columbia-Penn games at Franklin Field have either been on the weekend of the fall student break or the weekend immediately after the break. As a result, the home crowds haven’t been too large and there have been years when the Lions fans have been close to matching the Penn faithful.
I’ll also assume that with the NLCS opening at nearby Citizens Bank Park later that evening, the city and even most of the Penn students who happen to be sports fans will be buzzing about Roy Halladay and the Phillies this weekend.
Another factor is a degree of “bad blood” that has been brewing between the two schools for some time.
It’s hard to argue with Penn’s dominance on the field, (13 straight wins in the series is well, 13 straight wins), but are they being “sore winners?” It’s hard to say if you’re not on the field with the players and coaches.
But the losses against the Quakers have somehow stung more than they have against any other Ivy opponent, with the possible exception of Yale, in the Norries Wilson era.
If I did a survey of Lions fans, I would guess Penn is the one team most of them would like to see Columbia defeat the most. Penn fans probably want to beat Harvard the most, (at least since 1982), but they all seem to have a special place in their hearts for defeating the Lions.
But to the Columbia players’ credit, I haven’t sensed any danger of the Lions focusing on this game too much and losing sight of the goals for the entire season. That’s important, because Columbia can’t let one win or loss against Penn define the entire year. Half the season remains after this game.
Somebody Likes Us!
Columbia got a vote this week Nice.
in the FCS Top 25 poll.
As we all continue to discuss the attendance issue, I say it's time for all the readers of "Roar Lions Roar" to do something about it.
So here's my challenge: even if you have all the tickets you need for Homecoming on the 23rd, everyone should buy at least ONE more ticket. And then, make sure you get a real person to fill the seat too!
When your mission is accomplished, tell us about it in the comments section.
I'll start out: I just bought two extra tickets and got my co-workers to use them.
Click here to buy your tickets now.