We witnessed a couple of great moves this spring. First Lincoln convinces Jalen Hurts to spend his senior year in Norman and then he moves the spring game to Friday night. First things first…only Lincoln and OU football could add a perfect piece to OU’s offensive puzzle in Hurts. Granted the offensive line will be a work in progress, but this team’s skill set is off the chart. By the end of the season, OU’s offense could be unstoppable. This year’s defense has to be better than last year so I am optimistic about 2019.
Now back to the spring game setting. In addition to giving credit to Lincoln for the spring game move I also want to give credit to Mother Time, the Federal Court System, ESPN, and Musco Lighting. Because of these entities the Friday night spring game happened and appears to have been a smashing success.
First, let’s talk about Musco Lighting. There was a time not that long ago when 80% of college stadiums were not equipped with lights. That worked just fine because ABC Sports had a stranglehold on the college game. In those days, college football telecasts were limited to one game a week and for the most part appeared on a Saturday afternoon. Today, we have games every day of the week and 90% of those games are aired at night.
How did this happen? First, the Courts ruled that ABC Sports with its limit of one game per week was in violation of anti-trust laws. In 1984 the Supreme ruled in favor of OU and Georgia and against ABC. This ruling opened the flood gates to college football broadcasts. ESPN and other networks wanted to jump all over this. All they needed was portable lighting.
A small Iowa company stepped in to fill the void by creating a system for transporting field lights from stadium to stadium throughout America. Once at the stadium, the lights were lifted by cranes to the four corners of the stadium and for the first time all of America had access to night football. I remember the day that Musco Lighting provided us with the first night game at OU. It was pretty cool.
Once Musco did their part, the fad and more importantly the money caught on and universities including OU installed permanent lights. Without these historical events, a Friday night spring game would not have been possible. We would have been stuck with a spring game attended by a few hundred fans on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. I love progress…
Speaking of progress…let’s hope that the same guy that moved the spring game can do the something about early morning, August kickoffs. Those games are a recipe for heat strokes and should be replaced with night games.
Okay, I get it…one step at a time. Then again, someone had to take that first step back in the 80’s, not to mention early last week.