On Saturday night, Miami will emerge from the white smoke leading out of its locker room and charge onto the Orange Bowl for one last time. The Orange Bowl — a place where John F. Kennedy spoke, Joe Namath made good on his Super Bowl guarantee and some of the most historic games in college football were played — will have one last glorious moment.
The reality is that the facility — after 70 years — is an eyesore, and Miami's decision to move home games up I-95 to Dolphin Stadium beginning in 2008 was the final blow to the rusty old building. The city has decided to demolish the sports cathedral next spring and sell off pieces — including urinals — as memorabilia.
South Florida papers have been busy churning out copy before the Hurricanes' finale against Virginia. A sampling:
Hal Habib, Palm Beach Post: It opened in 1937 as Burdine Stadium and was later renamed the Orange Bowl. It wasn't always pretty. In the 1940s, teams visiting the facility left black players home because of city and state laws prohibiting interracial athletic competition.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: It's time to say farewell now, free of rancor or regret. Time to pay respects. To see the grand old dame in repose and not notice the lines or cracks, but invite only the sweetest memories.
Randall Mell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: The most gifted architect in the world can't create a great stadium. The greatest stadiums are built of magical moments.
Hal Habib, Palm Beach Post: Who could forget Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan in 1984? Oklahoma's Sooner Schooner being flagged for going onto the field in 1985? Alabama's Lee Roy Jordan trotting off the field with President Kennedy's silver dollar after the coin toss for the 1963 Orange Bowl?
A 30-second tribute to the Orange Bowl by the University of Miami's School of Communication, Department of Athletics, and Frost School of Music: