Week 6 of season-specific reminiscing -- 1980 | Syracusefan.com

Week 6 of season-specific reminiscing -- 1980

Eric15

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This was the inaugural season of the Carrier Dome. The season itself wasn't anything special -- we finished 5-6 and didn't go bowling. But I would love to hear about what the experience was like for the people who attended that first home game against Miami-OH.

-Who here attended that first game?
-What was the scene like outside the Dome? Did they have bands playing, a fair-like atmosphere, etc.?
-What were your first impressions upon walking in the Dome?

One thing that is very interesting to me is the bizarre fluctuations in our home crowds that year. We drew 50,564 for the opener, won the game, but only 34,749 wanted to show up the following week? But then we drew 50k crowds at the end of the year again.

Capture2.JPG
 

Cuseregular

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This was the inaugural season of the Carrier Dome. The season itself wasn't anything special -- we finished 5-6 and didn't go bowling. But I would love to hear about what the experience was like for the people who attended that first home game against Miami-OH.

-Who here attended that first game?
-What was the scene like outside the Dome? Did they have bands playing, a fair-like atmosphere, etc.?
-What were your first impressions upon walking in the Dome?

One thing that is very interesting to me is the bizarre fluctuations in our home crowds that year. We drew 50,564 for the opener, won the game, but only 34,749 wanted to show up the following week? But then we drew 50k crowds at the end of the year again.

View attachment 166435
great overwhelming cool experience for this teenager who was mesmerized by how good Joe Morris was. The place was kinda dark, insanely hot with people passing out but it was the most fun you could have with your clothes still on. Kind of like now, when I saw that place (like a pre Field of Dreams "if you build it they will come" vibe), I knew we'd get good again sooner or later but like now didn't realize it would take so long.

Its hard to adequately capture the forward momentum and movement you felt as a program after suffering in my case for 8 years of Archbold stadium. Though its probably why its in the blood and my dna now as a Cuse fan. IMHO aint nothing better and this game brought us into the modern era where you just knew we'd be a player again.
 
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orange79

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I was there. Hottest game I have ever attended in my life.

I don't really remember the atmosphere outside the Dome that day. Just that there were more people than I could imagine.

I think most were in awe of being inside the Dome. I remember not being able to look away from the inflatable roof. Literally awesome.

Other than the heat and humidity, it was a great experience. I think after the novelty began to wear off, the things that could be improved upon became more apparent.
 

adk(roc)CUSE

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Before my time by a bit, I was four. I'm a football geek and like to read through box scores of past seasons and such. I've wondered myself about the crowd fluctuations of this season before as well. Good question
 

Chip

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I've got nothing, but that Navy game seemed like a very exciting one. zzzzzzz.

I turned 7 during that season, and lived 40 minutes away, and blame my parents for not becoming a fan until later.

Interesting schedule. 7 of 11 at home. 7 of first 9 at home.

4 road games looked way more attractive than the home games.
 

OttoMets

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What a time to be alive (for those of you who were actually alive).

Just imagine, squeezing shoulder-to-shoulder with 50,000+ other people to watch a demolition against Pittsburgh, say to yourself "hey, we'll probably score more than 6 points next week and give Navy a game and have a better Dome experience," squeeze back in with 50,000 fellow-masochists...and be wrong on all counts.
 

SUinDC

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I was there on opening night. As a sophomore, it was my first "home" game even though I had attended "home" games in Buffalo and Ithaca in 1979.

It was hot. Damn hot. And humid.

I believe the student section had assigned seats. My roommate and I had seats about 2/3 of the way up on the aisle next to the season ticket holders. I would guess it was about the 25 yard line.

When we got to the seats, there were colored cards underneath to be used as part of a card section. But I don't think they told anyone in the student section that we would be part of a card section. I don't recall anything being in the D.O. or any instructions, etc. that went along with the cards. Someone threw one in the air. Then a couple more got launched. Then everyone started throwing them. I remember looking over at the season ticket holders next to us, shrugging my shoulders, then throwing mine in the air also. It went on for a few minutes, was very colorful, and one of the local news stations had it as part of the intro to their sports segment for a while.

Miami of Ohio was considered a "good" opponent. Someone we should beat to christen the Dome the right way. We did.

Joe Morris was great to watch. Too bad he got injured later in the season.
 

TexanMark

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Ohio State under Earle Bruce was voted #1 preseason that year. No one thought we had a chance but Cuse fans. We were the talk of the day among fans nationwide until we gave up the lead. The 1980 team took a hit when Joe Morris hit the Carrier Dome wall against Northwestern. There was no padding on the walls back then. I brought 2 college friends down to the Kansas game the following week and you could tell the team was not the same without Joe Morris.

If he didn´t get injured we probably go 7-5 and possibly sneak into a small bowl game (Tangerine?) Frank Maloney might not get fired and Dick MacPherson doesn´t arrive.
 
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sutomcat

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This was the inaugural season of the Carrier Dome. The season itself wasn't anything special -- we finished 5-6 and didn't go bowling. But I would love to hear about what the experience was like for the people who attended that first home game against Miami-OH.

-Who here attended that first game?
-What was the scene like outside the Dome? Did they have bands playing, a fair-like atmosphere, etc.?
-What were your first impressions upon walking in the Dome?

One thing that is very interesting to me is the bizarre fluctuations in our home crowds that year. We drew 50,564 for the opener, won the game, but only 34,749 wanted to show up the following week? But then we drew 50k crowds at the end of the year again.

View attachment 166435
I went.

The difference between Archbold, which was (I believe) the second or third oldest college football stadium still in use, to the Carrier Dome, which was spanking new, shiny and state of the art, was amazing.

We struggled to draw 20K for home games towards the end of the Archbold area. It was amazing to be at a home game with a capacity crowd.

The turf was a really vivid green, brand new of course. The roof was bright white. The dirt from hosting many monster truck events was decades away.

I loved how close the stands were to the field. At Archbold, there was a huge, Olympic sized track that surrounded the field (it was the home of the track and field team), so the stands were far from the field. There was a time when there were temporary bleachers installed to help bridge the gap and get more capacity but by the late 1970s, most if not all of those bleachers were gone. The small footprint that led to the curse of the tight concourses also led to a design where the seats on all levels were the closest to the field of any stadium I had been in. This remains the case to this date. The dome is a fantastic place to watch football games because of this and it made it possible for the dome to serve as a very reasonable home for basketball games later in the year.

It was a capacity crowd. This was before ADA and there were hundreds more seats in there back then. When Syracuse made a good play (and Joe Morris in particular made a number of these), the noise was deafening. We had a home field advantage! Of all the changes and all the memories from that game (it was a wide game with lots of big plays on both sides), the thing I remember the most is the noise the crowd made on good plays for Syracuse. I don’t think anyone expected it. After every big play, we students would shout our lungs out, look at each other and smile. Game changer.

There were aluminum benches to sit on. I was a student, sat in the lower level and even had support for my back. This was a lot better than the solid concrete of Archbold. I know there were parts of Archbold that had splinter prone wooden benches but I remember sitting on cold and sometimes soaking wet concrete. When it rained, which of course happened a lot, I always seemed to sit in the path of a temporary stream that whistled between my legs. So this was the height of luxury to me.

The other thing I remember was the heat. It was a hot night, it was really humid and with the place absolutely packed, it was extremely uncomfortable. I was part of the student section and we all wanted to make a statement about supporting the team so we stood all game and screamed our lungs out. I was covered in sweat 5 minutes into the game and stayed that way all game long.

I don’t remember bands or a lot going on outside the dome on opening night. All the news crews were out there making live reports. I turned down a chance to be interviewed a couple of times. They were desperate to talk to someone, even a 19 year old kid.

There is a picture in the south hallway near the southeast corner of the Dome, on the lower level that shows Lee Alexander, Hugh Carey, Melvin Holm and Melvin Eggers (I think this is right; going off my memory). They were the big dignitaries that night. I believe all of them spoke. Lee was the mayor. I don’t think he played any role in the contraction or financing of the Dome but was always glad to make an appearance and give a speech.

Holm was the outgoing CEO of Carrier, which was about to be purchased by UTC. His last major act as the CEO was to promise money for a naming gift, money that was desperately needed to close a big money crunch and make the building of the Dome possible.

Carey was the NYS governor who was up for election the year the dome was proposed and ended up promising big money to help build it to take and get some votes from CNY, which was then a largely conservative area of the state. He kept his promise and got re-elected.

Those two were key figures in making an unlikely idea proposed at the last minute (all proposals up to that point were for locations off campus; at the NYS fair, in Van Buren, I think a location in East Syracuse was also discussed and probably others). They made buried speeches and got some applause.

I was proud for my school and my city. I was excited for the future. We went from the oldest and most unattractive facility for football in the East to most modern (and I think best) over night. Recruiting was going to get better! We were going to become a power in the East again! Hope was restored!

And I was dehydrated. Really dehydrated.
 

sutomcat

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Ohio State under Earle Bruce was voted #1 that year. No one thought we had a chance but Cuse fans. We were the talk of the day among fans nationwide until we gave up the lead. The 1980 team took a hit when Joe Morris hit the Carrier Dome wall against Northwestern. There was no padding on the walls back then. I brought 2 college friends down to the Kansas game the following week and you could tell the team was not the same without Joe Morris.

If he didn´t get injured we probably go 7-5 and possibly sneak into a small bowl game (Tangerine?) Frank Maloney might not get fired and Dick MacPherson doesn´t arrive.
That first year, when the Dome opened, there were no pads on the walls at the field level surrounding the field. On the play where Joe was injured, he went full speed into the unpadded wall and got hurt badly.

They installed pads on the walls pretty quickly after that but like Mark says, the damage had been done. There was no one remotely close to as explosive as Joe on the roster and our running game collapsed without him. It was a shame because he was having a great season. He was still very good when he came back but IMHO, was never quite the same.
 

OburgOrange

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I have nothing. Started attending dome games the following season. And have been ever since
 

CuseGrad94

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Ohio State under Earle Bruce was voted #1 preseason that year. No one thought we had a chance but Cuse fans. We were the talk of the day among fans nationwide until we gave up the lead. The 1980 team took a hit when Joe Morris hit the Carrier Dome wall against Northwestern. There was no padding on the walls back then. I brought 2 college friends down to the Kansas game the following week and you could tell the team was not the same without Joe Morris.

If he didn´t get injured we probably go 7-5 and possibly sneak into a small bowl game (Tangerine?) Frank Maloney might not get fired and Dick MacPherson doesn´t arrive.


Does anyone remember if this was an ABC televised game? I was 9 at the time and if I am thinking of the right game it was the first game I ever saw on TV. I was in heaven. I watched it on a black and white TV with my grandfather. It was the beginning of a long bond football that I had with him. Many days spent around the radio listening to Doug Logan on WSYR. All of the young(er) people on the board couldn't fathom how us old timers consumed our Syracuse Football in "the old days"
 

TexanMark

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Does anyone remember if this was an ABC televised game? I was 9 at the time and if I am thinking of the right game it was the first game I ever saw on TV. I was in heaven. I watched it on a black and white TV with my grandfather. It was the beginning of a long bond football that I had with him. Many days spent around the radio listening to Doug Logan on WSYR. All of the young(er) people on the board couldn't fathom how us old timers consumed our Syracuse Football in "the old days"

I remember listening to the game on WSYR radio. I don´t think it was on TV. Syracuse was lucky to get one game a season on TV back then.
 
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SWC75

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I still have the ticket from the Miami University game. My first impression of the Dome was that it was the largest room I had ever been in, (it seems intimate now). The second thing I noticed was the closeness of the stands to the field and I hoped nobody would get hurt slamming into that wall on an out-of-bounds play. (Joe did vs. Northwestern when the Wildcats parted the waves and watched him run into it: it ruined the season.)

I remember the Redskin's, (as they were called then: now the red Hawks), tailback, (I think his name was Hitchens), went 88 yards for a score as everyone groaned. But then Mighty Joe Morris, (as I like to called him, like "Mighty Joe Young or Mighty Mouse), took the kickoff back 95 yards to negate the score and everyone was cheering. Discounting the conversation, those were the longest back-to-back plays I've ever seen.

It was also the hottest, sweatiest place I'd even been in, just a sauna and people were grumbling that all Carrier did was name the place. But we went home happy.

On Sunday night they showed a replay of the game with Joel Mareiness, who had just lost his job as Voice of the Orange, (on radio), to Doug Logan providing the commentary, wearing a tuxedo, as it was opening night.
 
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hoopsupstate

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It was brutally hot hat night. The Dome looks better today. The walls along the bottom of the Dome were unpadded and painted gray. They added padding later after Morris got hurt. The original padding was also gray. Eventually they added advertising on orange padded walls and started to add banners around the Dome. The place was electric that night. When the Dome was being built the ongoing discussion was that SU could never fill the place. Opening night was over 50,000 fans.
 

Eric15

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Doug Logan providing the commentary, wearing a tuxedo, as it was opening night.

I wonder if he regretted that decision given how hot/humid it was.
 

SWC75

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I wonder if he regretted that decision given how hot/humid it was.

"Joel Mareiness, who had just lost his job as Voice of the Orange, (on radio), to Doug Logan providing the commentary, wearing a tuxedo,."

And, yes, he probably did.
 

Cheriehoop

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Does anyone recall the dancing/singing ushers outside the dome in front of the northeast entrance (near gate E) in the early years of the dome?
 

Roger N

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This was the inaugural season of the Carrier Dome. The season itself wasn't anything special -- we finished 5-6 and didn't go bowling. But I would love to hear about what the experience was like for the people who attended that first home game against Miami-OH.

-Who here attended that first game?
-What was the scene like outside the Dome? Did they have bands playing, a fair-like atmosphere, etc.?
-What were your first impressions upon walking in the Dome?

One thing that is very interesting to me is the bizarre fluctuations in our home crowds that year. We drew 50,564 for the opener, won the game, but only 34,749 wanted to show up the following week? But then we drew 50k crowds at the end of the year again.

View attachment 166435
First game experience. Four couples were SU bb fans. One worked at SU and had parking near the quad. I made a pot of chili and put it in a gallon insulated picnic jug.

Nobody tailgated in those days. I remember a game when we parked at Manley and were lined up waiting for the shuttle. I saw a car parked at the edge of the lot with a banner with a large O on it. Two couples were tailgating. First tailgaiters I had seen. I asked what the O stood for and they said Ohio State

We all had a bowl of chili before the game. I remember walking in the Dome. Real crowded. Then catching a glimpse of the field. Wow, is all I could say. And by the way, I remember Joe Morris got banged up by running into the sidelines. The Dome crew then added pads to the concrete.

I’ll never forget that first glimpse of green.
 

Eric15

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Wow, that would have been epic. On a scale with, or probably even bigger than Nebraska. What's the highest rated team we ever beat in a true road game? Va Tech when they were #4?

I'm pretty sure you're correct. I can't think of a higher ranked true road win.
 

Roger N

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This was the inaugural season of the Carrier Dome. The season itself wasn't anything special -- we finished 5-6 and didn't go bowling. But I would love to hear about what the experience was like for the people who attended that first home game against Miami-OH.

-Who here attended that first game?
-What was the scene like outside the Dome? Did they have bands playing, a fair-like atmosphere, etc.?
-What were your first impressions upon walking in the Dome?

One thing that is very interesting to me is the bizarre fluctuations in our home crowds that year. We drew 50,564 for the opener, won the game, but only 34,749 wanted to show up the following week? But then we drew 50k crowds at the end of the year again.

View attachment 166435
It might have been raining that second game
 

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