So the other day I was looking around the interwebs for some info about the new Wembley Stadium, and I came across something that made me do a double-take. According to Wikipedia:
The pitch size is 105 metres long and 68 metres wide, slightly narrower than the old Wembley.
Really? Isn’t Wembley hosting an NFL game next season? Because last I checked, 105 meters was only about 114 yards. A regulation football field is at least 120 yards long — 100 yards from goal line to goal line, plus ten yards for each end zone. Will the gridiron fit in here?
Of course, then I looked at this photo of the new Wembley:
Looks like there’s about 5 meters of give on either side of that pitch. That makes it about 115 meters across, which is 125 yards — a tight fit, but doable.
Yes, yes, I’m sure everyone thought of this before the NFL agreed to throw the Giants-Dolphins game over the pond and into Wembley next season. Still, when you look at those pitch dimensions, it makes you think a bit. After all, Wembley is going to host a hell of a lot more association football matches than American football games in the next ten years. A stadium like this has to be suited to its primary task first.
In fact, many of the big Premiership stadiums in England couldn’t host an American football game. Emirates Stadium’s field length is only 113 meters long, which is 123 yards, which would offer no give at the end of either end zone. Old Trafford in Manchester is only 116 yards across, and Anfield in Liverpool is only 110 yards from end to end.
Funny how the football games we play shape the stadiums we build for them, isn’t it? Once upon a time, it was the other way around. Our environs shaped the rules of our football games. Let’s make that our theme for this week. We’ll tag this one The Playing Fields, as it’s all about how the fields of play determined the rules of the game being played. It’s just one reason why all our football games have evolved into what we see today…