I’m not a fan of the trend to name NFL football stadiums after commercial donors like banks, huge corporations or other moniker that doesn’t really reflect what I feel football should be about. We’ve gotten away from our roots. There are 21 stadiums named as such out of 32. Before you get your ledgers out and tell me how they can’t make it without the support of such entities, I’d like to point out Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, is still going strong since 1957. It’s the NFL’s most historic stadium, had four Super Bowl Champion teams and now seats 80,735 after several expansions. It was named after Packers’ founder E. L. Lambeau and has such a rich history I can’t begin to cover now. My point being they didn’t rename it Milwaukee’s Best Beer stadium or anything along the way and still seem to make ends meet.
Like Green Bay, the city of Philadelphia used to have a historically named stadium in Veterans Stadium. Both cities are basically blue collar working folks who have been and continue to be football's greatest fans. I have some personal background here having gone to high school in Philadelphia from 1976-1980 and still have an affinity for the Philadelphia Eagles. Sports trivia fans will recognize this time frame as head coach Dick Vermeil’s tenure with the Eagles. The Eagles were 11-year losers when Vermeil took over and did something unprecedented in today’s modern age. He actually had open tryouts for area football wannabes. Enter a 30-year-old Eagles fan, teacher and coach by the name of Vince Papale. Papale never really played college ball not having great size in his earlier years, lettering in track instead. Papale was a ten-year season ticket holder when they announced the open tryouts, he went and the rest, as they say, is history. Coaches noted his speed and athleticism and Papale earned a spot on his beloved Philadelphia Eagles on special teams. The story galvanized fans who wanted a reason to believe and he won over teammates as well as eventually being voted special teams captain by his peers. His story was made into a major motion picture, "Invincible," starring Mark Wahlberg as Vince and Greg Kinnear as coach Vermeil. Papale continues to hold the record for oldest rookie – not counting kickers – in the NFL.
Those were the days. Vince, of course, played in a stadium with a name fans could be proud of too. Now the Eagles play in Lincoln Financial Field, not very inspiring, maybe you can take out a loan at the same time you go to a game. Why don’t they just add a couple of car dealers there as well for halftime and a mortgage window in the back?
Of course once all the stadiums become banks, they’ll be closed on Sunday.