The end of an era – it’s about time

For 26 seasons, the Minnesota football team has called Metrodome home, but this SaturdayâÄôs game against Iowa marks the end of an era for Minnesota football. No longer will the Gophers march onto the artificial turf under the white bubble downtown and never again will fans leave a regular season Minnesota game with the customary wind-blown kick out the door. The Gophers have a lot of history at the Dome. A lot of it bad, some of it good, but all relevant. ItâÄôs difficult to document the effects of a single building on a football program, but, to the best of our abilities, weâÄôve looked at, researched, analyzed and assessed how the Metrodome has left its mark on Minnesota football. In the three other football stories, youâÄôll find information on how and why the Gophers made the move off-campus, how it has affected MinnesotaâÄôs search for the most talented football players in the nation as well as a sneak peek into the new home of Gophers football âÄî TCF Bank Stadium. My Thoughts The big white bubble located on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis needs to stay inflated to keep the roof from collapsing onto fans below. IâÄôm relatively certain it does so by sucking the life and energy out of those fans as they march into the stands on game day. No collegiate venue is quite as depressing or could sober up the drunkest of college students quite like the Dome. The atmosphere of the Metrodome, both inside and out, is in no way proper representation of a Saturday college football game. To you Metrodome, I bid farewell and good riddance. Fast forward to fall of 2009 and the scene changes a bit. Instead of buses filling up to take the party to the Metrodome, the party will stay on campus. And what a host TCF Bank Stadium will be. I had the opportunity to tour what is soon to be the new home for Minnesota football and it is exactly what the football team, student body and University have been in need of since the day the Gophers set foot in the Dome. Say what you want about how Athletics Director Joel Maturi has handled his tenure at the University of Minnesota, but this stadium is a winner for the University, the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota. It is foolish to ignore the importance of a gameday atmosphere when building a fan base and competitive football team and the palace on University Avenue is a step in the right direction for both missions. Growing up attending Nebraska football games in Lincoln, I remember thinking that it wasnâÄôt just about football âÄî it was about an experience. TCF Bank Stadium will finally give Minnesota football fans the experience they have waited for so patiently.