Prodigal Son Day Should Answer Some Questions

On Saturday, we will pick up where we left off over a month ago.

If the medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan once wrote, the message about the interest in Temple football right now among its Prodigal Son Alumni has been very telling over the past week.


Homecoming Day is what I’ve always called “Prodigal Son Day” because that is the only game many alumni attend. The regular tailgaters get replaced, and the Prodigal Sons (and Daughters) get all of the good spots along tailgate row. The top bunk, if you will. The next week, we return to our regular tailgate programming with the regulars all back in their customary spots.

The challenge at Temple has always been to get those casual fans, what I would call the “soft core” Owl fans, off their couches and away from the TV remotes and potato chips and joining the “hard core” ones at the stadium. That’s why the media’s message this week, however subtle, is encouraging.

Words of the alma mater. Please memorize. Thanks.

In the above video (3:23) kids do an awesome rendition of the alma mater. Would be great if the crowd would  add their voices.

Two Temple alumni in the media, who have never mentioned Temple football glowingly in the past, banged the drum rather loudly for their Owls using some impressive platforms. First, renowned Philadelphia Eagles’ expert Ray Didinger said that “Temple should be unbeaten” going into the Notre Dame game and that he would not be surprised if P.J. Walker eventually becomes a NFL quarterback.  This is the same Ray Didinger who said two years ago on a Saturday morning program with co-host Glen Macnow that “I kind of wish Temple would drop a level and play Lafayette, Villanova and Delaware.” That was after a caller wanted to talk about Brandon McManus as an NFL kicker and Macnow said sternly, “I’m not talking about Temple football” before hanging up on the guy.

Didinger did not jump to the Owls’ defense then. He is now. Like all Prodigal Sons, he is welcome home. That’s why they call it Homecoming.

Last 4 Homecoming Games for Temple:

Temple, 35-24
Temple, 33-14
Temple, 37-28
South Florida
Temple, 34-0

Beating Penn State and being 4-0 has changed a lot of long-held perceptions. David Murphy, the Channel 6 weather guy, always mentions the Chester pro soccer team, but never mentioned the Temple team that plays American football until Monday of this week and, every day, has talked up the Owls and Homecoming.

Baby steps, but what this media message means is that Homecoming—which never gets a crowd smaller than 25,000—should experience an uptick in attendance. Sources inside the ticket office said 21,000 tickets were sold as of late Thursday afternoon and also added that Homecoming crowds are traditionally the largest “walk-up” crowds of the season—anywhere from 7-10K—depending upon the weather. Murphy supplied the good weather so, conservatively, the estimate of the crowd should be around 31,000.

While we would all like to see more, a cautionary note is to remember what Wayne Hardin said. “We’d have to go unbeaten 10-straight years for us to sell out the stadium every week,” he said in the 1970s. He was right then and he’d probably be right now. To sell out half of it at 4-0 is saying something and that’s probably the most realistic goal.

Anything above that would be a pleasant surprise.

The fun resumes on Saturday ….


6 thoughts on “Prodigal Son Day Should Answer Some Questions

  1. i think a 20% increase over the 2011 figure or right around 31K would be progress the BOT would feel good about. I wonder how many student tickets are included in the 21K sold.

    Houston drew 25K last night in their “new stadium” or about 63% capacity. Considering they were 4-0 as well, I am not terribly impressed.

    • true. this whole notion that temple announces a different number than actual butts in the seats is the biggest fallacy out there. I think there will be 31K announced and there will be 31K butts in seats. the way bill bradshaw explained it is the eagles do the announcing, not Temple. You need to scan your ticket to the eagles’ employee and the number of scanned tickets is the number the eagles report. temple doesn’t really have an incentive nor inclination to change the number. the number the eagles give temple is the number reported to the media. so i’m guessing 31K reported and real and hoping for 35K and 35K.

      • Don’t believe that. Bradshaw himself told me they announced tickets sold. In years past, when they announced 25 k when the bottom tier was only 2/3’s filled, supports what he told me. On some of those days there weren’t 25 k fingers and toes never mind people inside the Linc.

  2. David Murphy lists the Philadelphia Union games on the weather because 6ABC is a sponsor of the Union. Until last fall, Murphy also wrote a blog about the Union.

  3. Just keep winning baby and the bandwagon will grow.

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