Minneapolis — Turning southwest on New Brighton Boulevard on a recent spring Sunday, I suddenly was astonished by the unmitigated view of the new Vikings stadium, which despite being miles away still managed to fill the windshield and lacerate the eye.
There it was, claiming its spot on the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis, ignorantly conspicuous, like a colossal toad sunning itself in the mud.
Virtually complete and three days from a Friday ribbon-cutting ceremony, U.S. Bank Stadium is, as they say, what it is. It will not grow beautiful with age. But a long walk through its innards Tuesday revealed ingenuity, creativity and a lot of money spent to make the Metrodome’s successor the finest, if not largest, in the NFL.
I cannot attest to whether this has been achieved but can assure the interested that as a football venue, U.S. Bank Stadium is awesome.
It’s an awesome football stadium, with wide concourses opening to the field, an 8,100-square-foot video board and an impressive transparent roof — the largest of its kind in North or South America — that will give fans the feeling of being outdoors without the hassle of being rained or snowed upon.
Further, we’re assured, it’s a marvel of green design.
The ethylene tetraflouroethylene (ETFE) roof reduces energy used on heating and lighting; it was built with 80,000 tons of recycled concrete; and it is on a public transit hub that will, the team says, bring one-third of its 66,200 capacity to games.
And the building’s sharp angles and black zinc façade will shed and disperse the heavy winter snows the way its predecessor could not, saving energy and the need to build yet another stadium. It is “The Force Awakens” to the Metrodome’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”
Already, the stadium has attracted the 2018 Super Bowl and 2019 Final Four to the Twin Cities, and Minnesota’s baseball team has a place to play indoors again. This fall, high school football and soccer teams will get to experience playing in a state-of-the-art indoor facility.
Unfortunately, we still have to look at it. In fact, anyone passing within U.S. Bank Stadium’s broad orbit can’t help but look at it. With an astonishing 1.75 million square feet and sharp, 95-foot peak, it’s immune to indifference.
The new development surrounding it — including five apartment buildings and five office buildings worth an estimated $1 billion combined — must stare at U.S. Bank Stadium the way mourners stare at a casket being lowered into the earth. But it will never disappear, perpetually stuck in transit.
We have only ourselves to blame. Presented with professional color renderings of the project, we shrugged and said, “Yes, looks good. When can you start playing?”
Already, the Wilfs and minority owners are reaping an estimated $220 million in naming rights over the next 25 years, and a chunk of their funding was generated by personal seat licenses purchased by season-ticket holders that, the team said, are nearly exhausted — only 700 left among 49,000.
In “Chinatown,” John Huston tells Jack Nicholson that only two things become respectable with age; one of them is buildings. Maybe U.S. Bank Stadium will last long enough to become a respectable member of the Minneapolis skyline.
Crowell fulfills promise
Making good on his promise to “be part of the solution,” Browns running back Isaiah Crowell attended the weekend funeral of one of the five Dallas police officers slain in a recent attack by a gunman.
Crowell had come under heavy criticism for posting a gruesome illustration on social media of an officer being killed following the shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota by police. While he expressed regret and offered to donate one game check of $35,000 to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, Crowell wanted to do more and accepted an invitation to go to the funeral for officer Patrick Zamarripa last Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Crowell was invited by the foundation’s president, Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, who chronicled his interactions at the service with Crowell on a lengthy Facebook posting.
He also made a personal apology to Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.
While expressing their disappointment, the Browns have said they’ll support Crowell as long as he continues to “take steps to make a positive difference after a very negative and impactful post.”
Giants will induct Coughlin
Coach Tom Coughlin, former general manager Ernie Accorsi and recently retired defensive end Justin Tuck are being inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor this season.
Giants officials announced Tuesday the trio will be honored Nov. 14 at a halftime ceremony.
The honor for Coughlin comes less than a year after the man who led the Giants to two Super Bowls agreed to leave the team after missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Accorsi acquired the majority of the players on the team that won the Super Bowl in February 2008, 15 of whom were on the team that won another title four years later.
The Raiders signed cornerback David Amerson to a four-year extension.
In 14 games last season, he set a season franchise record with 26 passes defensed to go with career highs in tackles (62) and interceptions (four).
... The Cardinals added experienced depth to their secondary by signing eight-year veteran cornerback Mike Jenkins to a one-year contract. Jenkins, a first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys out of South Florida in 2008, played the past two seasons for the Buccaneers.
News wire services contributed.