USA Today’s Gardner & Smith report Saturday’s Northwestern vs. Illinois game at Wrigley Field — the first college football contest at the hallowed venue since 1938 — will be played with only one end zone ; “both team’s offensive possessions will be played in the same direction, toward the stadium’s third-base line.”
Here are the official rule changes, per the Big Ten’s release:
1) All offensive plays will head toward the West end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions.
2) All kickoffs will be kicked toward the East end zone.
3) After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the West end zone.
4) As a result of a coin toss held by the conference office Friday morning, Illinois will occupy the West team bench in the first half and Northwestern will occupy the West team bench in the second half and for all overtime periods.
The problem? There’s not more than 6 feet of distance between the back of the eastern end zone and Wrigley’s ivy-covered brick walls. Given the couldn’t find sufficient padding in the entire city of Chicago, at what point, do you imagine, anyone considered whether or not Wrigley’s configuration was tenable for a normal football game?