Field finally ready for title game, no thanks to Cards' fans
Posted: Monday January 04, 1999 05:13 PM
CNN/SI senior writer John Donovan will file reports every half- hour until the Fiesta Bowl kickoff at 8 p.m. ET. And log on to CNNSI.com immediately after the game for up-to-the-minute news, stats and analysis of the game.
TEMPE, Ariz. (CNN/SI) -- Here on the field at Sun Devil Stadium, some three hours before kickoff of the first unified college football national championship game, you’d never known that, barely eight days ago, this place looked like your neighbor’s yard.
The bad neighbor.
After the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals kicked their way into the playoffs with a dramatic last-second win over the San Diego Chargers on Dec. 27, long-suffering Cardinals fans stormed the field, ripping up huge chunks of sod as souvenirs.
(A short break: What do you do with huge pieces of grass? Put it in your scrapbook? Take it around to show your pals? Re-seed your front lawn? Give it to your bad neighbor so he can re-seed his?)
Luckily, the good folks who take care of the stadium -- mostly Arizona State University employees -- immediately got to work at fixing the damage to the point where, at least on television, you won’t be able to see any difference at all.
That, of course, is thanks to some cosmetic fixing as well as the simple resodding.
The good caretakers of the field bought some 440 gallons of paint ($7,000 worth) to pretty up both end zones, the sidelines and the huge Tostitos logos on the field’s 20-yard lines. The field, home to the Cardinals and the Arizona State University Sun Devils, looks almost unreal in its pristine-ness.
The south end zone is now the orange-and-white checkerboard so familiar to Tennessee fans, while the north end zone -- the more enclosed one you’ll see on television -- is the garnet and gold of Florida State.
Why all the effort? Well, to the sponsors and TV folks, a good image means everything. Tostitos, a Frito-Lay brand, is in its fourth year of sponsoring the Fiesta Bowl, has literally draped the stadium with its name, from the south end zone luxury boxes and the back of the scoreboard to the outside of the north end zone of the stadium, which is sandwiched between two buttes on the north end of the ASU campus.
The sponsor even draped its banner on the north side of one of the buttes facing the Salt River, so all the visitors coming in over the bridge from Scottsdale and other points north can get a good feeling for the game, even if they’re not going.
Too much? Oh yeah.
But, it’s the national championship, a game that will deliver huge number of viewers to ABC -- and to its advertisers.
And somebody has to pay for the $11-13 million each team gets for playing.
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