display | more...
AKA "The Vet"

Vitals:

Location:
Philadelphia,PA
Street Address:
3501 Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148-5201
Facillities Provided:
Sports Arena for Baseball, American Football
Current Tennants:
Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Eagles
Temple University Football
Capacity:
62,382 for baseball
65,356 for football
89 Luxury Suites
Opened on:
April 4, 1971
Demolished on:
March 21, 2004
Architect:
Hugh Stubbins & Associates
Facility Owners:
City of Philadelphia
Original Cost of Construction:
$50 Million
Surface:
NeXturf

The Vet was a multipurpose stadium that is described by some Philadelphians as a house of worship... Yeah... right. Most people think of the Vet as the sports world's toilet. It was voted by the athletes of both Major League Baseball and the National Football League as the worst facility in their respective sports. The stadium was similar in appearance to Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium and Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium.

The Vet's food concessions were known for having the smallest hot dogs in the league, serving $5.00 12oz beer that were up to 30% head. The more unusual snacks available included scrapple, cheesesteaks, and italian water-ice.

The Vet was known for being a very "rugged" building. This statement is true in several ways:

  • The Vet had some of the loudest, rudest, most opinionated fans in the country.
  • The Vet had a very firm and non-forgiving surface that has destroyed several athletes' careers, usually via their knee ligaments. The former surface, Astroturf, was very thin and many players referred to it as simply a "carpet".
  • The Vet didn't have a glamorous architecture like other facilities in use today.

Some of the events that have been held at the Vet include:

  • Phillies baseball, from 1971 to 2003
  • Eagles football, from 1971 to 2003
  • Major League Baseball All Star games in 1976 and 1996
  • World Series hosts in 1980, 1983 and 1993
  • Home to the USFL Stars 1983 and 1984
  • Many of the Army/Navy college football games throughout the stadium's lifetime

Some of the more "infamous" events that have occurred at the Vet include:

  • Phillies opening day ball deliveries to home plate. The ball has been delivered by kite, helicopter, parachute, and cannon just to name a few.
  • The Bounty Bowl... a football game in which the Eagles were supposedly paid to injure the other team's (Dallas Cowboys) players.
  • The body-bag game... a football game (on Monday Night Football) in which the Eagles injured all three quarterbacks from the Washington Redskins.
  • An incident on national television during an Army/Navy game where students leaning on a rail fell almost 20 feet onto the surface after the rail (held together by Duct Tape) snapped under their weight.
  • Battery/snowball throwing incidents (at the athletes) too numerous to count.
  • More antics can be found under Philly Fan.

On March 21, 2004, the stadium was imploded to make room for new parking in the Philadelphia Sports Complex. The parking lot will feature granite markers where the bases were for the original baseball diamond, and an outline of the field will be painted on the lot.

No word on when the first wiffle-ball or kickball tournament will be held.

This Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the Buccaneers and Eagles will be the last football game played in the NFL's most notorious stadium, The Vet. Why is it notorious? Here's some prime examples (in addition to the ones jtfritz listed above):

  1. Just last Sunday, during the second quarter of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons, a fan somehow made it onto the field completely unnoticed. He strolled over to the Eagles' sideline, picked up a cup of Gatorade, then sat down next to quarterback Donovan McNabb and tried to chitchat by asking

    "You from Jersey? I'm from Jersey."

    The question, which McNabb was too surprised to answer, cost him $230 in fines and free ride in a paddywagon. I'm sure he thinks it was worth every penny.
  2. As mentioned above, The Vet's structure is known for its leaky pipes, unreliable heat, and porous concrete (which is why they're closing it down). It's so bad that one morning a mouse-chasing cat actually fell out of a hole in the ceiling and landed on a coach's desk.

    Correction, 1-20-2003: Peter King of Sports Illustrated has a much better scoop on this story:
    A cat once used the drop-ceiling above offensive line coach Juan Castillo's stadium office as a litter box -- until the sodden tiles gave way and the feline fell through the ceiling and onto Castillo's desk. The coach used the resulting fouled playbook all season because he thought it was irreplaceable, grossing out his colleagues and players with the stench.
  3. The cheerleaders' changing room is located next to the players' locker room. During the late 80s and 90s players were known to spy on the lovely ladies through several holes in the dilapidated doors and walls. The secret came out when a group of cheerleaders later filed suit against several players, the Eagles organization, and the NFL. One anonymous player from a visiting team admitted that it was the reason why some guys looked forward to playing at The Vet. Several teams actually circled the trip on their calendar in anticipation.
  4. A group of season ticket holders in the infamous 700 level section were known to smuggle a keg in for each game in the 80s. They hid it in a wheelchair. That they got shitfaced drunk and contributed to the 700 level's raucous reputation is a given.
  5. In the early 80s a group of fans attacked and hospitalized the Washington Redskins mascot.
  6. In 1999, 60,000+ fans cheered audibly when Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin lay prone on the turf, temporally paralyzed. The injury ended his career. In all fairness, Irvin was a loud-mouthed, coke-snorting adulterer, but that's no excuse.
  7. In 1989 fans bombarded the entire Dallas Cowboys team, including then coach Jimmy Johnson, with an arsenal of snowballs. The new Governor of Pennsylvania, Edward G. Rendell, openly admitted to being there and taking part in the foray. It hasn't hurt his political career in the slightest.
  8. In November of 1997, after a San Francisco 49ers game in which over 60 fights broke out and a flare was shot off into an empty seating area, the local authorities actually set up a municipal court in the stadium exclusively for Eagles fans. It was aptly called "Eagles Court," and was later moved to a local precinct, where it's still held each and every Sunday, during football season.

Source:
Football's Looniest Stadium Has Its Last Rowdy Hurrah, Jere Longman. New York Times, January 16, 2003

Just to correct a couple of things in DoubleD's entry above, it was not 60,000+ fans cheering when Michael Irvin was lying on the turf. There were sparse cheers (audible on television, but by no means a roar.) This is not to excuse those cheers, merely to set the record straight.

A couple more infamous events in the history of the Vet: in 1993, Wendell Davis, receiver for the Chicago Bears, did the impossible by blowing out both of his knees on the same play on the Vet turf. In 2001, a preseason game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles at the Vet was cancelled due to the unplayable condition of the field's newly-installed NeXturf.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.