A few months ago I wrote this post about a baseball tournament that has zero chance of happening because of logistics, finances, and all the other boring stuff that keeps awesome stuff from happening. I have another idea. This idea has zero chance of happening because of those same reasons.
Most Mondays I read Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback. If you consider yourself a fan of the NFL and you don’t already read this column you need to start. Over the course of this season I have noticed King uses the phrase “..if these two teams played on a neutral field in Wichita..”. This Week’s MMQB prognosticates that the Eagles would be a 7 point favorite against the Giants if the two teams met on a neutral field in Wichita. You get the idea. Home stadiums provide an advantage to the point that lesser teams can beat better teams on their home field. A neutral site would theoretically eliminate this advantage. Looking through the MMQB Archives I discovered that King has used this phrase for several years, and I’ve seen it used on Pro Football Talk. Some how, I just now noticed.
Full disclosure. I do not live within Wichita proper, but I do consider myself a Wichita Metro Area Nationalist. I grew up here and consider it my home. I’ll put up with my fellow residents talking bad about the city, and each other’s neighborhoods. However, the minute an outsider disparages the area I’ll give them an earful even though I might agree with them. That being said, I guess I’m honored that Peter King picked Wichita for the site of his mythical neutral field. There are millions of other anonymous towns anchored on the prairie’s of the central United States that he could have chosen. Peter King probably doesn’t even know why he picked Wichita. But he did, so I’m running with it.
When I see the phrase “a neutral field in Wichita” I think of a random open field that would host a junior varsity football game. Of course, that would never work for two NFL teams. That leaves Cessna Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University. It can hold 30,000 people. Wichita State has not had a home football game since 1986. But the facility does get used for football. A local high school, Kapaun Mount Carmel plays their home games there. There is the occasional community college game, and the occasional Shrine Bowl, a Kansas high school all-star game. Those games are nice and all, but
I don’t think anyone can remember the last time Cessna Stadium was filled to capacity. (Reader Jason Ault, and WSU Employee, points out the last time there were 30,000 people at Cessna Stadium was Oct 2nd 2006. When the Rolling Stones played there) Not only that, I’m not sure the facilities are up to NFL standards.
Since I’m going to fiat the details of stadium finance, and population logistics I say we just build a new 50,000 seat, state-of-the-art football stadium some where in the Wichita area. Not for the purpose of attracting an NFL franchise. But for the purpose of supplying a random neutral field for the rest of the football world. We’ll simply call it “The Neutral Field”.
During the NFL Preseason The Neutral Field could host one game each week. If a current NFL stadium becomes damaged or unusable they would play the game at The Neutral Field. (Like the SuperDome in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) It could host random college games. A Bowl Game! It could make a pitch to the Kansas High School Activities Association to host every state championship game over a three day event. Maybe even try and steal a Chiefs home game like Toronto does with the Buffalo Bills. Since we’re already off reality reservation The Neutral Field could host something called “Football Round The Clock” where there would be a game going for 72 hours straight. (Think about the TV rights on that?) We might even allow soccer on it, but I’m not sure.
Why do all this? Because having more access to top tier live football is awesome. Peter King mentioned it, and I have a wild imagination. At very least I think we as a community should lobby for an NFL game at Cessna Stadium.