Look, I like the idea of honoring the greats of Syracuse past. It’s cool to see the pictures of iconic Orange moments on the walls of the Dome’s concourse. It’s a good thing to have the banners hanging in the rafters. And both Donovan McNabb and Don McPherson deserve a permanent place somewhere inside the building they helped fill.
No one likes to tip the cap to SU’s past more than me. I own a Sherman Douglas throwback. I still rock the ’88 Sugar Bowl t-shirt. I get a kick out of the black-and-white pics at the Varsity. But doesn’t it feel a little forced to have both a McNabb AND McPherson day inside the Dome this season? From SUathletics.com:
McPherson will return to campus on October 5 to be recognized when the Orange hosts Clemson and McNabb will take center stage on November 2 when Syracuse faces Wake Forest.
“It is our pleasure to honor Donovan McNabb and Don McPherson and recognize their importance to the history of Syracuse football. We want to recognize these extraordinary men during our inaugural season in the ACC as we look to establish new success,” said Syracuse Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross.
It would seem to make more sense to have celebrated their importance during the final season of Big East football… ya know, the conference where they both played. It just feels like an overt attempt by Gross to push tickets to a luke warm fan base. While Orange Nation is certainly excited about the ACC future, a new coaching staff and first-year starting quarterback has expectations fairly low.
“We truly hope all SU fans will join us during the season to salute the jersey retirement of these two tremendous individuals and their families as we look to compete at the highest level in the ACC as New York’s College Team.”
And there it is. The request for fans to show up at the Dome. Attendance was mediocre last season, and the numbers at the Spring Game fell below SU’s hopes (George McDonald wanted 20,000).
All fans are invited to join ‘Orangenation Rising,’ a state of mind where passion, tradition and die-hard loyalty intersect, by renewing their season tickets or purchasing new 2013 season tickets. Individual game tickets go on sale August 1. Fans can use the internet (SUAthletics.com), telephone (888-DOME-TIX), or visit the Carrier Dome Box Office (Gate B). Season tickets start at just $99 each.
Orangenation Rising is a state of mind, huh? Seems pretty forced, but this is what Gross does. He can be heavy-handed in his promotion and salesmanship. Understandably, you have to try to sell the product. You need revenue to compete in the ACC, and the athletic department is looking to raise funding for the new football facility. Maybe Gross is looking for a deeper financial commitment from these two living legends, so to bring them into the family and retire their jerseys is a way to embrace them. But it comes off as a transparent attempt to get people to the Dome. Do we really need TWO jersey ceremonies in one season? Can’t SU make it a pseudo-annual affair, and do McPherson this fall, and McNabb in ’14?
Sometimes honoring the past means not cramming it into a 6 game schedule in a blatant attempt at selling tickets.