|Location||W Stadium Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70893|
|Opened||November 25, 1924|
|Owner||Louisiana State University|
|Operator||Louisiana State University|
|Tenants||LSU Tigers football (NCAA) (1924–present)|
New Orleans Saints (NFL) (2005) (Four games)
Tiger Stadium is an outdoor stadium located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is best known as the home stadium of the LSU Tigers of the Southeastern Conference. It is also well-known by its nickname, Death Valley.
Tiger Stadium opened with a capacity of 12,000 in 1924. Renovations and expansions have brought the stadium's current seating capacity to 92,400, making it the ninth largest stadium in the NCAA today. When filled to capacity, Tiger Stadium ranks as the sixth largest "city" by population in the state of Louisiana.
Testimonials[edit | edit source]
Despite being 14–2 at Tiger Stadium, famed Alabama head coach Bear Bryant once remarked that "Baton Rouge happens to be the worst place in the world for a visiting team. It's like being inside a drum." In 2001, ESPN sideline reporter Adrian Karsten said, "Death Valley in Baton Rouge is the loudest stadium I've ever been in." In 2002, Miami (Ohio) coach Terry Hoeppner said of Tiger Stadium, "That's as exciting an environment as you can have ... we had communication problems we haven't had at Michigan and Ohio State." In 2003, ESPN's Chris Fowler called LSU his favorite game day experience. In 2009 former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee stated on the Fox news with Sean Hannity show, "Unfair is playing LSU on a Saturday night in Baton Rouge."
Survey after survey has concluded that Tiger Stadium is the most difficult place for a visiting team to play, including surveys by the College Football Association in 1987, The Sporting News in 1989, Gannett News Service in 1995, and Sport Magazine in 1998. More recently, in 2007, ESPN named Tiger Stadium "the scariest place to play," saying that "Tiger Stadium is, by far, the loudest stadium in the country."
In 2009, ESPN writer Chris Low listed Tiger Stadium's Saturday night atmosphere as unsurpassed in the country, ranking it No. 1 out of the conference's 12 stadiums.
Construction and seating capacity[edit | edit source]
With an official seating capacity of 92,400, Tiger Stadium is the sixteenth largest stadium in the world by capacity. It is the tenth largest stadium in the NCAA and the fourth largest in the Southeastern Conference, behind Neyland Stadium at Tennessee, Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama, and Sanford Stadium at Georgia.
When the stadium opened in 1924, the seating capacity was 12,000, with grandstands on both sides of the playing field. In 1931, 10,000 seats were added to the existing grandstands.
In 1936 capacity was more than doubled to 46,000 when the north end zone was enclosed with a 24,000-seat addition. Money was not allocated in the state budget for the seating expansion, but money was allocated for dormitories. To bypass the legislature and increase his beloved school's stadium capacity, Governor Huey P. Long ordered that dormitories be built in the stadium, with seating above the student living quarters. Until the early 1990s, the West, North and South Stadium dormitories were featured as part of student housing at LSU. The dormitories were later converted to office space for Athletic Department staff and faculty and studios for the College of Art + Design's Fine Arts graduate students.
The horseshoe was eliminated in 1953 by the addition of the south grandstands. Unlike the existing stadium structure, they were double-decked in order to fit within the space provided. The first of the two upper decks was added to the west side of the stadium in 1978 to bring capacity to approximately 78,000.
The stadium was upgraded multiple times in the 1980s beginning with replacement of bench seats with chair back seats and waterproofing of the east and west stands in 1985. The playing surface was moved eleven feet to the south to center the field in 1986. The north and south ends of the stadium were waterproofed and chair back seats added in 1987 to bring those sections up to date with the 1985 improvements. Also in 1987 the press box was redecorated, a few more seats were installed at the upper portion of the west lower stands, and all seating within the stadium was renumbered using a uniform seat-width. By the end of the 1980s the stadium held 80,150 spectators.
The official capacity of the stadium was lowered to 80,000 in 1994 when a section of seating was removed for renovations to the visiting team locker room. The east upper deck seating 11,600 was completed in 2000 and brought total capacity to 91,600. The west upper deck was torn down at the end of the 2004 season, and construction began on "The Stadium Club." The new suites contain over 3,200 special amenity seats as a well as a state-of-the-art press box. The "Paul Manasseh Press Box" has been named for and dedicated to the memory of the long-time and popular sports information director. Construction on this addition was scheduled to be completed by the beginning of September 2005, but delayed due to Hurricane Katrina. Construction was completed for the 2006 season, bringing the stadium's capacity to its current official capacity of 92,400.
During construction on the west side, a then-record-breaking crowd of 92,664 fans packed Tiger Stadium in a game against Auburn on October 22, 2005, as LSU defeated Auburn in overtime 20-17. On October 6, 2007 a new record was recorded when 92,910 fans watched as the #1 ranked Tigers defeated the #9 Florida Gators 28-24. A record-breaking attendance of 93,039 was again set on November 8, 2008 when #1 Alabama defeated #16 LSU in overtime 27-21. The record was breached yet again on October 10, 2009 when the #1 ranked Florida Gators came in to Tiger Stadium and defeated #4 LSU 13-3. The attendance was 93,129.
Lore[edit | edit source]
Tiger Stadium was the site of the legendary "Earthquake Game" against Auburn in 1988. LSU won the game, 7-6, when quarterback Tommy Hodson completed a game-winning touchdown pass to running back Eddie Fuller in the waning seconds of the game. The crowd reaction registered as a legitimate earthquake on the seismograph in the Louisiana Geological Survey office on campus.
Other famous moments:
- The Billy Cannon touchdown run on Halloween night in 1959 when #1-ranked LSU scored late in the game to win against #3 Ole Miss by a score of 7-3;
- The last-second Bert Jones touchdown pass in 1972 against Ole Miss. LSU was down 16–10 with four seconds left in the game when Jones made an incomplete pass. At the end of the play, fans looked at the clock which surprisingly showed one second remaining. LSU used the last second of the game for a touchdown pass from Bert Jones to Brad Davis. According to Ole Miss lore, a sign was put up at the Louisiana–Mississippi border reading "You are now entering Louisiana. Set your clocks back four seconds."; and
- On October 11, 1997, #14 LSU upset #1 Florida with a 28–21 victory.
Tiger Stadium first opened its gates to fans in the fall of 1924 as LSU hosted Tulane in the season finale. Since the first game in Tiger Stadium, LSU has gone on to post a 354-138-18 (.716) mark in Death Valley. Moreover, Tiger Stadium is also known for night games, an idea that was first introduced in 1931 against Spring Hill (a 35-0 LSU victory). In 2006, LSU celebrated its 75th year of playing night football in Tiger Stadium. LSU has played the majority of its games at night and the Tigers have fared much better under the lights than during the day. Since 1960, LSU is 201–59–3 (.773) at night in Tiger Stadium compared to a 20–22–3 (.476) record during the day over that span. LSU lost its first Saturday night game since 2002 against Florida on Saturday October 10, 2009.
Hurricane Katrina[edit | edit source]
Tiger Stadium at LSU served as a temporary relocation site for the New Orleans Saints for four games of the 2005 NFL season after Hurricane Katrina damaged the Superdome and left much of New Orleans under water. The Saints, however, utilized only 79,000 of Tiger Stadium's seats (the new west side upper deck, which was still undergoing renovation, was closed for Saints games). The Saints' first two games in Baton Rouge came on the Sunday immediately following an LSU home game, meaning field crews had to repaint the field to NFL standards immediately following the completion of the LSU game. Due to the time crunch, the NFL granted LSU's request to start the Saints' games in the late slot (3:05 p.m. CST).
Notable Tiger Stadium games[edit | edit source]
1930s–1960s[edit | edit source]
- October 3, 1931: Tiger Stadium's first night game. LSU defeated Spring Hill 35-0
- October 31, 1959: Billy Cannon returns a punt 89 yards for a touchdown as LSU downed undefeated Ole Miss, 7–3.
1970s[edit | edit source]
- November 20, 1971: LSU avenged a prior year loss by defeating Notre Dame, 28–8, in the Irish' first visit to Baton Rouge.
- November 4, 1972: Bert Jones makes a last-second touchdown pass to Brad Davis, giving LSU a comeback victory against Ole Miss, 17–16.
- September 29 and November 10, 1979: LSU loses two games to top-ranked teams, 17–12 to Southern California and 3–0 to Alabama, in coach Charles McClendon's final season.
1980s–1990s[edit | edit source]
- October 8, 1988: "The Earthquake Game" - LSU beats Auburn 7–6
- October 11, 1997: Unbeaten and ranked #1, Florida loses to LSU 28–21. This is the first time in Tiger Stadium history the goal posts were pulled down.
2000s[edit | edit source]
- September 30, 2000: The goalposts are torn down again after LSU defeats No. 7 Tennessee in overtime, 38–31.
- November 4, 2000: LSU beats Alabama for the first time in Tiger Stadium in 31 years (1969). The goalposts are pulled down again, but have not been touched since this game.
- October 30, 2005: The first NFL game ever in Tiger Stadium takes place as the Miami Dolphins, coached by former LSU football coach Nick Saban defeat the New Orleans Saints, 21–6. The Saints would lose all four Tiger Stadium games, against the Chicago Bears (20–17 on November 2), against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10–3 on December 4), and the Carolina Panthers (27–10 on December 18)
- September 8, 2007: The new record for the largest crowd in Tiger Stadium was set at 92,739 when the No. 2 LSU Tigers beat the No. 9 Virginia Tech Hokies, 48–7.
- October 6, 2007: A raucous crowd of 92,910 saw the No. 1 LSU Tigers beat the defending national champion No. 9 Florida Gators, in a 4th quarter comeback, 28–24.
- October 20, 2007: LSU defeated Auburn, 30–24, when Matt Flynn threw a touchdown pass, through the hands of an Auburn defender in the end zone, to Demetrius Byrd with one second left, giving the home team eight consecutive victories in the LSU–Auburn series.
- August 30, 2008: For the first time ever, the defending champions of both football subdivisions of NCAA Division I played a regular-season game, as the Tigers opened their season against three-time defending FCS champions Appalachian State. Due to logistical issues related to the approach of Hurricane Gustav, the kickoff was moved to 10:06 am local time, the earliest in the history of the stadium. LSU avoided the fate of the 2007 Michigan team, who were victims of one of the biggest upsets in college football history when they opened the season against Appalachian State. The Tigers scored a touchdown on their second play from scrimmage, went out to a 31–0 halftime lead, and cruised to a 41–13 win.
- November 8, 2008: A crowd of 93,039, then the largest crowd in Tiger Stadium history, were on hand to witness the return of former LSU coach Nick Saban to Death Valley as head coach of the #1 ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama. With the score tied, a chip shot field goal that would have given Alabama the win was blocked by LSU lineman Ricky-Jean Francois as time expired and sent the stadium into an absolute frenzy. The game went into overtime where LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee threw his fourth interception of the game. Alabama scored on their ensuing possession to win the game by a score of 27 to 21.
- May 30, 2010: Tiger stadium hosted its first concert series headlining Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney.
Unique features[edit | edit source]
- Unlike most football fields, where only the yard lines ending in "0" are marked, Tiger Stadium also marks the yard lines ending in "5".
- LSU's Tiger Stadium uniquely sports "H" style goal posts, as opposed to the more modern "Y" style used by other schools today, although they are not the true "H" goal posts which were once ubiquitous on American football fields, since the posts are behind the uprights and connected to the uprights by arched bars. This "H" style allows the team to run through the goal post in the north end zone when entering the field. Tiger Stadium is one of only three Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools college stadiums in the nation who still uses the H style goal posts. The only other FBS stadiums that use goalposts with two posts all season are Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State and Martin Stadium at Washington State. Many other schools use the two post goals during rivalry games only to prevent them from being torn down in victory, a real safety concern in recent years. They received special permission from the NCAA prior to the November 20, 1993 game against Tulane in conjunction with LSU's football centennial. These goal posts remained intact for the four New Orleans Saints games held in 2005, with special permission from the NFL. Under NFL rules in place since 1967, goalposts for NFL games must be "slingshot" style with a single post and bright gold in color. Tiger Stadium's goalposts are white with the NFL-standard 30-foot uprights. Many schools' uprights are the NCAA-minimum 20 feet high.
- At the beginning of the 2009 season LSU unveiled a 27 X 80 Daktronics HD video Board. The $3.1-million display is situated in the north end zone.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- No place like home. Rivals.com. Retrieved on 2 October 2007.
- Tiger Stadium
- Death Valley tops list of scary venues for opposing teams. ESPN. Retrieved on 2 October 2007.
- My favorite stadiums in the SEC. ESPN. Retrieved on 3 July 2009.
- http://wc.wustl.edu/Breakfast_Programs_Transcripts/Cook_Transcription.pdf Forces Shaping the Presidential and Congressional Election Campaigns in 2004
- Primetime Drama! Undisputed No. 1 LSU Rallies Past No. 9 Florida. Retrieved on 2007-10-07.
- After 15 Years, LSU-Auburn Game Still An Earthshaking Experience
- Tiger Stadium
- It's title time once again
- LSU Notes: GameDay comes back to Baton Rouge