Mike Haywood being hired as the new Pitt coach has taken a backseat in the headlines to the Metrodome collapse that caused the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears to be postponed for a day and moved to Ford Field in Detroit, which has had many interesting ripple effects, aside from the very obvious matter of the Vikings losing their home field advantage for that game and the next week's game which ended up being played at the home of the University of Minnesota, TCF Bank Stadium.
Football Stadium Debate in Minnesota
The Metrodome is 29 years old and the Minnesota Twins have already moved out of it into a new park that was partially publicly funded. Now the Vikings want the same done for them. According to multiple reports, the team has been lobbying state lawmakers for over a decade now for a new stadium funded by the public. They say that the design of the Metrodome is outdated and that it does not generate enough revenue for the team to compete, the same things that the Twins said about it. In fact, on the heels of moving into their new stadium, the Twins have become big spenders, even managing to keep catcher Joe Mauer and signing him to a huge extension rather than let him go elsewhere.
But this kind of financial leverage doesn't happen without the revenue to support it. The question is whether a cash strapped state wants to move to do something like that for their football team. The Metrodome collapse is also another reminder that the Vikings' lease in the Metrodome is over in 2011, and after this collapse they have once again indicated that they are not planning on renewing it at that point. There has been extensive talk of the team relocating, but nothing solid has come around because the team still has at least a year to go.
Football and Financial Collapse
Minnesota has been one of the states hardest hit by the recession, which is officially over nationwide but still producing high unemployment figures here and in some other Midwestern states as well. The Metrodome collapse certainly shows that the stadium has seen better days. But the collapse is not inconclusive evidence that it is time to implode the building, not when there are other factors involved. In a tough economy, it is something to see when a sports franchise run by billionaires and employing millionaires tries to get the normal people in the state who have to worry about their bills like the car insurance dealer and rent to pay for it all so they can get even richer.
The Metrodome collapse was actually not the first time it had happened either, although it had been many years since an event like that had impacted a sports game. The collapse of the stadium's roof does spark an ongoing debate that at least one state senator has said she is going to bring to the state capital in January to try to get the legislature to pass something to get a new stadium financed for the football team.
The Metrodome collapse is just the latest part in this ongoing saga. It apparently is only going to end in one of two ways. Either the state is going to find the dollars to build a fancy new football field to replace the Metrodome, or the Vikings are apparently going to leave town. This Metrodome collapse was a big story for the impact it had on the team's schedule and the dramatic way it was caught on video. But it might get bigger as it leads to some tough choices being made in the state.