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After hearing about the demise of Northeastern’s football program Monday morning, I immediately thought of my good friend Nick, an NU alum. I grabbed my phone and called him.
Nick: What’s up? I’m at work.
Me: Thought you’d want to know.
Nick: Know what?
Me: I hooked up with your sister a couple times this past summer.
Me: Yeah. Actually it was more than a couple. It was kind of a regular thing.
Nick: Are you f—ing serious?
Me: Yes. But that’s not all.
Nick: Well what else is there?!
Me: Your school no longer has a football program.
Nick: Why would I f—ing care about that!
Nick confirmed what I have believed for quite some time: no one cares about Northeastern football. Just to double-check though, I decided to talk to fellow sportsofboston.com writer George, a current NU student who worked the home games for the now defunct program, to see if Nick and my feelings about the Husky football team were common.
“No one really cares football is gone,” George informed me. “Honestly, I don’t really mind it either.”
There you have it. No one really does care about Northeastern football, and judging by the team’s dismal record the past several seasons, I think it’s safe to assume that the players didn’t either.
Can’t say I can blame the them though. When you’re a Division I program and only 1,600 people bother to attend your games (most of whom are family, friends, alums), it’s fairly obvious that your school doesn’t give two craps about you. Apathy of that magnitude is contagious, and it’s only a matter of time until a full-fledged case of the “We don’t give a rat’s ass about this anymore” decimates the entire program.
But what exactly was the cause for this attitude? Why doesn’t anyone seem to mind that a football program that’s been around for nearly three quarters of a century is suddenly no more? Maybe it’s because the team hasn’t been able to string together a winning season for the better part of the decade. Could be that their stadium is a joke. Perhaps the school just didn’t feel like shelling out the cash to keep the team running.
But there are plenty of schools that spend millions on mediocre football teams that play in outdated stadiums, what makes them different from Northeastern? It’s pretty simple really. Those schools aren’t in Boston.
Football programs like UMass, UNH or UMaine will never rival the quality of teams like Texas or Ohio State, but on a fall Saturday in Amherst, Durham or Orono, there’s little else to do but grab your friends, fill up some Coke bottles with cheap whiskey and head down to the stadium to watch the game. Win or lose, those programs serve a purpose: they give students something to do in a place where there is a whole hell of a lot to do.
That’s not the case at Northeastern. If you’re a NU student, living in a major city where there are countless events each weekend, waking up hungover and walking your ass 30-minutes to go watch a crappy football team for three hours doesn’t top your list of fun ways to spend a Saturday.
I should know. I attended Boston University, where we haven’t played a football game since the middle of the Clinton Administration. But not once in my four years on Commonwealth Ave. did I wake up on a Saturday and think, “There isn’t one damn thing to do in the city today, God how I wish my school had an unentertaining football team to rob me of a beautiful fall afternoon.” Even if we did have a team, I doubt I would have ever gone, because like the smart people at Northeastern, I don’t much care for watching a football team suck week in and week out.
That’s the attitude that killed Boston University football, and it’s the same attitude that’s now killed Northeastern football. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. It’s just a fact of life. The world is round, water is wet and Northeastern doesn’t care about football.
Before long, if not already, it will seem as if football never existed at Northeastern, because for most, it never did. Players and coaches will move on to new programs or just quit all together. The money saved on football may be spent to improve the hockey and basketball programs, thus further destroying any memory left of the football programs. In a few years students will walk the campus and speak of their football program as a mythical creature or wear t-shirts that say “Northeastern Football: Undefeated Since 2010!”
That is of course if they even care enough to go through the trouble, which I doubt they even will.
Tags: Northeastern University