The highs and lows of Temple fans

Temple fans came disguised as empty seats last week.
Photo by Matt Breen

Almost two years to the day after giving me my proudest moment as a Temple fan, my fellow Temple fans gave me a not-so-proud moment a week ago tonight.
Not unexpected, just not proud.
First, the good part.
Eagle Bank Bowl, Dec. 29, 2009. Of the 23,000 fans in attendance on a night where wind-chills reached sub-zero temperatures, 20,000 were Temple fans and they were all loud and proud.
Just before Matty Brown scored Temple’s second touchdown of the evening, a familiar “Let’s Go TEM-PLE!” chant started from my section (lower level, 50-yard-line) at RFK Stadium.
It got louder.
“Let’s Go TEM-PLE!”
Then, finally, a rhythmic “LET’S GO TEM-PLE” literally shook RFK from its rickety foundation.
We all looked around.
The lower deck, the upper deck, both sides of the field, everyone was on their feet screaming “Let’s Go TEM-PLE!” from the top of their lungs.
I think the fans willed Matty into the end zone.

It was an imperfect storm that led to the fan apathy. First off, you can’t lose to a gosh-awful team like Bowling Green and let the starting quarterback remain in that game after 135 straight three-and-outs.

I said to my friend, Nick, “buddy, take this in. We may never see something like this again at a Temple game.”
Sadly, we never have.
Sure, there have been other great moments, like when 40K Temple fans sounded like 100K fans to Penn State’s 17K fans, who sounded like 1K fans, this season.
They needed to be rewarded with a victory.
At this year’s Villanova game and Penn State game, the atmosphere was, as Steve Addazio said, electric.
If you are going to be considered for a BCS Conference, that electricity has to stay on all the time.
At the Miami game, the atmosphere was befitting an electrocution.
It’s not like I didn’t see this coming from, oh, about 400 miles away.
It was an imperfect storm that led to the fan apathy.
First off, you can’t lose to a gosh-awful team like Bowling Green and let the starting quarterback remain in that game after 135 straight three-and-outs. There’s got to be more of a sense of urgency to move the ball against a defense ranked No. 10 in a 13-team league.

Perfect football weather forecast for Saturday (1 p.m.)

Then, you can’t lose to an Ohio team that LOST to teams YOU beat by scores of 42-0 and 34-0.
On the heels of both of those laid eggs, you can’t have a home game on TV to give a lazy and fragile fan base an excuse to be lazy and fragile.
All of those factors led to a poor showing at the gate.
Army is an attractive opponent and hopefully the win over Miami has restored some of the fans shaken belief. Keeping the game off TV is just as important.
This is a bowl game for Temple, as is next week’s game versus Kent State because, without wins in both, there will be no bowl.
I said to one of my tailgating buddies a couple of hours before the Miami game: “This is bad. I don’t expect more than 15,000.”
When at least half of my other tailgating buddies, people who show up for every game that’s not on TV, are missing, you know it’s bad.
I expect a good and representative Temple crowd on Saturday, something between 21-27K.
I’m hoping that nobody sits on their hands when someone starts a “Let’s Go TEM-PLE” cheer.
We need to get that electricity turned on again.
Where’s that damn switch?


13 thoughts on “The highs and lows of Temple fans

  1. just as another follow up to the new stadium talk: fan support is like exercising. When you havent been hitting the gym or treadmill for years and years and years its really hard to get yourself into a routine of consistently going to the gym. But ounce uve been going to the gym consistently you find yourself wanting to go to the gym, or atleast find it less hard to push yourself, and find yourself getting better results and wanting to work out longer. Our fan base has little to no momentum after years and years and years of terribleness from the program and apathy from the fans and community. For me, a stadium close to campus is like a brand new gym being built next to your house and surrounding community being like finding a (hopefully 15K) workout buddy(/ies); it will be easier to get people to start working out and from their the momentum will build on itself (and a few more winning seasons and BCS wins and hopefully a win over PSU)

  2. Great analogy.I'm going to the gym now. It's five miles away.I have one on the corner of my house but the one five miles away (LA Fitness) is paid for three years in advance so I'm basically going for gas money.(I go to the gym or run on play hoops about 360 days of the year; don't do it on Christmas or Thanksgiving or New Year's and will miss the gym this Saturday because I have an Army vs. Temple game to go to and a reunion at night. The feeling of guilt those five days is pretty intense. I'm still fatter than I want to be but at least I'm trying.)

  3. will be able to make the game, first since the Maryland game…, hopefully we'll have the same results. if we win out are we really going to the New Mexico Bowl?

  4. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought in the 2 long layoff weeks with Wednesday night games back to back leading to this Saturday. It’s almost like the chicken or the egg debate. Are we not getting good crowds because the lack of an on campus stadium is an issue? Then again how can we support the on campus stadium idea with such a poor attendance for a nationally televised game? I was one who was behind the new stadium idea but thinking more about it, and I hate to say this and sound corporate, but I think it’s now more about branding. To me it’s got to start with creating the Temple major sports brand, nationally recognized football and basketball programs. I think the roots are there, the Temple Tuff show which airs locally and I watch online, and coach Addazio and his tough in your face style. Playing in Lincoln Financial Field, a top notch facility helps the brand. On the Basketball side, they did a great job getting to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year with 2 exciting games and they are in contention every year to win the A-10 conference. Coach Dumphy is a class act all the way and is a great face of the program and they are a solid top 25 team. The 9 million committed to the football practice facility, new basketball practice facilities and the top notch on campus arena. All the pieces are there, with the exception of one, playing in a major exposure conference. The football program is scratching and clawing to make its way up the ladder, but the basketball program is already there. I think what hurt was the missed opportunity at the Big East. Say what you want about it being potentially dieing conference, and the entire expansion plan is being handeled like a goat rodeo, but in my opinion that’s the next step in the branding process. Maybe not the Big East, but maybe the ACC? My point is this, lets be serious, what’s going to bring the marginal fringe fan to the games, a home football schedule this year which included Toledo, Buffalo, Miami of Ohio, and Kent State, or the exsisting Penn State and Army games, accompanied by Rutgers, West Virginia, USF, Syracuse, Pitt, and the list goes on. The average fan has no idea who the hell Miami of Ohio is, let alone motivated to come to a game to watch them. Fans want to see the teams they see and hear about on ESPN Sportscenter! If the name brand opposing team can get the fans in the door that’s fine, its up to the Temple coaching staff to create a product that keeps them coming back. Its my feeling that both football and basketball have that product.Same with Basketball, you want to see Buffalo, Fordham, GW, Dayton, and U Mass at the Liacouras Center this winter? Is that schedule going to do anything to get anyone but the hard core basketball and Temple fan off the couch in January? I doubt it. Or would you rather see the likes of Louisville, ND, G’Town, St Johns, U Conn and the list goes on. The programs are ready, hell Basketball has been ready for a long time, football is right there on the doorstep, the move to a real conference (real meaning exposure) is the next logical step. On campus 35,000 state of the art stadium, its not going to draw people out of their house on a November Wednesday night to watch TU vs. Miami of Ohio, I’m sorry it’s just not, we already have the hard core Temple fans. The brand will start being in the casual fan and that’s what the program needs.

  5. i will be there wearing my Temple game jersey with Papreps as the name on the back and hanging pretty close to the porta potties (although I don't have a bladder problem, that's just where all the cool ex-Temple players like Steve Conjar and Mark Bresani are and I just wish I was good enough to be their teammate).

  6. Please say hello. We only have two games left.

  7. @nyu tu fan ,Genuinely, thank you for your thoughtful input. I kinda adressed some of this stuff in my comment on Mike's previous story (the one below this), but in light of what ur saying, id like to add to it:I absolutely agree with you about the branding, but come to the opposite conclusion: We need the stadium to have a successfull branding effort/ to help our brand.First, again, i absolutely agree with you about swtiching confrences and differnt opponents, but these are not mutually exclusive with building a new stadium. And let me pose another way, would anyone argue building a stadium would HURT in anyway? Be again, your right about branding, we need an ACTUAL branding effort and awerness campagin; we need to educate TU students and the community that we are FBS and make sure everyone, atleast on the temple campus and in the surounding area, if not all of philly, when each of our home games are and when.Building a stadium close to campus would encourage the local community to show up and 10k fans from the local community at the games helps the brand. Playing at the Linc doesnt help when even on good nights it looks empty.Clearly our fans NEED motivating. A close by stadium reguires less motivation and opens usup a whole neighboorhood/ communtity/ section of philly and 30k student to make impulsive/ unplanned decisiosn to come to the games.Also, the games being on ESPN and on ESPN3 make it that much harder to get the lazies there, esp when they need to hop on the subway.BSHOW MANY FREAKING GAMES ARE THE MAC REFS GONNA TRY TO HAND OHIO!?!?! FIRST GIVING THEM THE WIN AGAINST US AND NOW AGAINST BOWLING GREEN WITH THEM CALLING THAT OFFSIDES ON 4 AND 1 WHEN OHIO CLEARLY FLINCHED

  8. keep Pierce on the bench the last two games, and the bowl game…let him come back for his final year…., if not the MAC then where? nobody else wants us…., we have to find a way to win our division and conference. why do we believe we could be competitive for an entire season in another conference if we can't take care of our business now, on the field and in the stands? this should have been the year, next year we'll have a young O'line and all the associated drama…let's face it – we have under-performed the last two years. we are what our record says we are….Ohio is football rich with HS talent, so why didn't we take advantage of being in the MAC and start a recruiting base on Ohio? you must grow where you are planted and we have failed to grow-up to our potential. one day we will collectively look in the mirror and decide to dominate the MAC as our only aspiration. we can offer Ohio HS kids what the rest of the MAC can't – Philly proud. GO TEMPLE, BEAT ARMY…., great game for me…, 27 year Army vet and Temple grad

  9. Seems that CUSA is the only place where I've seen any interest in Temple right now and I'm not sure how much better that would be then the MAC. CUSA does have more bowl affiliations. My bigger concern given the alledged expansion of the BE west and Temple being frozen out, how will that impact recruiting going forward. As for takin care of business in the MAC, I'm torn on the one hand I agree with your position on the other I do think Mike makes sense about getting out. Again my big concern with staying in the MAC is the impact on recruiting.

  10. C-USA and, are u forgetting the Big East has a slot oppened back up for us (assuming WVU can succesfully leave cleanly). I cant imagine BYU going along.Also, this isnt European soccer. There is no promotion or relegation. How many title did CMU win in a row? ECU won C-USA in 08 and 09 and they got froze out. SMU's has never one the C-USA championship game and been their only once and lost got promoted. Syracuse has been terrible and got promoted. Fortunetly or unfortuently on the field success is only a small part of the equation. And besides, confrences arent looking at teams for the most part for what theyve done in the past, but what they can do in the future.I completelyt agree with you on the recruiting front, but i dont think we are what our record says we are: BGSU was a 3 point fluke game, if were honest the ohio game was stolen from us and we still only lost by four, and PSU was 2 1/2 mins away from being a win.

  11. I feel like the BE is Cecily Tynan.I want to marry her, but it's pretty clear she doesn't want to marry me.CUSA is Amy Buckman. She wants to marry me and I think she's pretty hot and she's much prettier than the girl I'm dating (MAC=Cathy Gandolfo).Yes, Amy, I will marry you.I'm tired of waiting for Cecily and I'm pretty horny.

  12. Mike,HAHAHAHAHA! here here! In complete agreement with you, in substance and sentiment. Just to touch on the stadium one more time:Beyond the fact that i think a new stadium would really help and is needed and is important, the main reason im pressing this and going down this route is that I really really wanna help the program but feel helpless. All we can do is go to the games, raise awerness, and try to drag our friends to the games and get them into the team, but this clearly isnt working all that well. What else can we do? None of us can, or should, strap on the pads or grab a clipboard and headset. What else is there that we do? For me, the only way I can directly participate is this stadium drive. I also think such an effort will get more fans involved and excited and make them feel more like stake holders if there is something they could that involves direct participation, since were not succeeding in getting more butts in the seats. I think sustained direct involvement and action is whats needed to galvinize the base, even if some dont think its realistic. (I think its absolutely possible)Hail Hooter!

  13. FUNNY STUFF. I was always an Erin O'Hearn fan

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