As the Yankees and their fans get ready to say goodbye to the "House that Ruth Built", and move across the street to "Yankee Stadium II" (or "Yankee Stadium III" depending on how you feel about the renovations in 1974 and 1975), it should also be noted that Yankee Stadium has been the site of some memorable football moments. As we prepare for tomorrow's game against the Bengals, lets take a look back as some of the great football moments at Yankee Stadium:
In 1926, after negotiations failed with the fledgling NFL and the Chicago Bears, Red Grange and his agent C.C. Pyle formed the first American Football League and fielded a team called the New York Yankees based in Yankee Stadium. The league failed after just one year.
A second New York Yankees football team, not related to the first, split its home games between Yankee Stadium and Downing Stadium as it competed in the second AFL in 1936 and 1937.
A third AFL New York Yankees took the field in 1940 and became the New York Americans in 1941. As you may or may not know, it was common practice in those days for professional football teams to attempt to capatilize on the popularity of the local baseball team by taking the same name. This was why the early days of pro football saw teams named the Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, and yes, our beloved New York Giants.
The New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) played their home games at Yankee Stadium from 1946 to 1949.
The New York Giants began playing their home games at Yankee Stadium in 1956. In 1957, they won the NFL Championship game there against the Bears, 47-7.
In 1958, in a late season game played during a blinding snowstorm at Yankee Stadium, Pat Summerall kicked a "rumored" 49 yard field goal to beat the Browns 13-10 and force a one game playoff against the Browns for the division title. The playoff game was also played at Yankee Stadium, and also won by the Giants, 10-0. This set the stage for the "Greatest Game Ever Played", the NFL Championship played between the Colts and Giants at Yankee Stadium, and won by the Colts in overtime, 23-17.
In 1962, Yankee Stadium would play host to its final NFL Championship game, with the Packers defeating the Giants 16-7.
Due to the renovations of Yankee Stadium, the Giants were forced to move to the Yale Bowl for the 1973 and 1974 seasons. The Giants than played at Shea Stadium for one year before moving to the "Swamps of Jersey" in 1976.
One final thought on Yankee Stadium; as most of you know I am a Met fan, but like my father before me, I was a Yankee fan in my youth. I remember showing off the Lou Piniella bat I got on "Bat Day" to my friends, and wearing those cheap garbage bag "English Leather" jackets they gave away on "Jacket Day". Yankee Stadium to me always seemed like a living organism. The crowd "buzz" inside the Stadium always sounds different than anyplace else, as if the ghosts of Ruth, Gehrig, and Joe D were somehow creating a bombilation all their own. As crazy as it sounds, I came to hate that sound as much as the team itself. It remains to be seen if that sound can be duplicated across the street.