Phillies fans like to make fun of Braves attendance, even though Atlanta is a college football town that's also a decent baseball town. Let's try the shoe on the other foot, just to see how silly this all is -- why can't Philadelphians support college football as well as Atlantans do?
Related: Check out this feature's bonus material, in which we discover Atlanta teams outdraw their Philadelphia counterparts much more often than you'd think.
Temple brought in 100,000 fans in all of 2009. UGA almost hit that number last Saturday alone, while the Dawgs were at the depths of their worst losing streak in decades and hosting a terrible team.
You're better at math than we are, Philly, but we found this formula lying around: Sanford Stadium = Citizens Bank Park x 2. What does it mean?
If you count tailgaters who don't even plan on heading inside, I bet one day of the Dawgs beats Temple's entire annual college football haul. Think about that, trot out a General Sherman joke, and watch Rocky V.
No fair counting Athens, even though it's only an hour away and half the place drives in directly from Atlanta, because then we'd have to include Rutgers' swelling masses even though it's farther away from Philly than Athens is from Atlanta and including it and excluding Athens still wouldn't put Philly above Atlanta?
Fine. Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium more than doubles Temple and Villanova's* combined attendance all by itself. Hell, our brand-new, baby-blue FCS team has outdrawn both. Morehouse and Clark Atlanta both do very well among Division II schools, pulling in about 9,000 and 6,000 respectively. Here's a visual, based on our own tracking of GSU attendance and last year's attendance records:
Temple fans are happy if they break 20,000 in attendance these days, but Georgia Tech was pulling in over 30,000 in the early 1920s! Only 200,000 people lived in Atlanta at the time, and Georgians were all still riding mules back then** as the devil ain't invent steam power yet, so that's a pretty impressive turnout. Temple football was being outdrawn by actual temples at the time, not that records exist.
Why can't 21st century Philly -- the nation's most racially diverse and harmonious metropolis, boasting over 1.5 million educated and mannered millionaires, the world's richest sports history, and the greatest public transit system of all time -- turn out even 25,000 to support its one and only FBS team?
Why did so few Philadelphians bother to buy tickets for Temple football that the Owls got kicked out of the Big East six years ago? When you're too apathetic by Big East standards, you truly do not give a crap about sports.
Maybe our superior friends are having a hard time locating Temple's house of football among Philadelphia's many downtown ziggurats that really need to be torn down by volunteers***. It is small! I think the Temple football stadium is on this map, or that might be an extra-big Citgo, which Philly's sports masses could use to fuel up its thundering caravan to Temple road games:
College football just isn't a big deal around there, you say? This is all overlooking the sports Philly does show up for? Philly just isn't a college football town?
Interesting. Maybe we'll take into consideration the fact that different cities are into different sports.
Or maybe Temple Owls football should pack up and move to a town that will actually leave the house on Saturday and support a college football team. We've got room in our hearts down here, but only if they'll be ok being outdrawn by another Owls team that doesn't even exist yet.
* Including poor Villanova football in all this means we should probably start throwing in Atlanta's bigger high school teams, but let's not pile on. And no, you don't get to claim Penn State, which is over three hours away. If you get Penn State then we get Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina, and UAB and maybe even Vanderbilt if we step on it.
** OK fine, we still ride mules to our jobs at the Airtran peanut farm AHHH DO DECLAYUHH, COUNTRY MUSIC PLANTATION, HOMOPHOBIA HOME DEPOT.
*** I've obviously never been to Philadelphia, but here I am informing it what to do with its free time.