When the Syracuse Orange return to the Carrier Dome/Stadium/Stade de Football de basket-ball et de Jeux de Crosse on Saturday fans will be treated to the renovated football experience for the first time. We know about the new video board and the cashless concessions but what else will fans experience?
If you watched last year’s home games (kudos on your bravery) you might have noticed that when Syracuse scored a touchdown the Dome lights were turned orange in celebration. The lighting and the potential it creates for creating some unique moments are definitely exciting. We don’t yet know what will accompany the mood lighting. Will the band play the fight song immediately? Have we added yet another classic rock song to the playlist or is the program ready to step into 2021 and do something to get the players and students fired up?
SU players getting hyped as Dreams and Nightmares blares through the arena.— Mike Curtis (@MikeACurtis2) September 5, 2021
If you watched any other games last weekend you probably saw two of the better college traditions back in action. Compare this to what emotions are generated as Syracuse takes the field
VIRGINIA TECH.— ACC Network (@accnetwork) September 3, 2021
ABSOLUTE CHILLS. @HokiesFB pic.twitter.com/jRnd97Xs1R
Ask yourself if there’s any moment during the game which tries to engage the student section like this?
The greatest tradition in college football is BACK! #OnWisconsinpic.twitter.com/rcwk0AOVcV— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) September 4, 2021
Train whistles are all well and good but if Syracuse spent $119 million just to show you a player pointing at a camera or raising their arms to encourage noise on an enormous screen it will be a missed opportunity.
Traditions like the above aren’t born in a moment and they take time to catch on but it’s time to look for something unique to Syracuse. Instead of running out through smoke, what if the Orange took the field as the Dome lights dim and fake snow falls over the team entrance area? The rationale for trying something that no one else is doing is to set Syracuse apart to generate something that fans recognize and that people associate with Syracuse.
If you ask a college football fan to name the team that runs through smoke on their way to the field, they’d say Miami. We know Notre Dame taps the “Play like a Champion” sign, that Michigan runs under the “Go Blue” banner and that Colorado enters after Ralphie. It’s about finding a theme and like it or not when you say Syracuse many people think snow right away.
Music is another piece of the experience. There’s no way to please everyone with what you play and frankly the SU Marching Band needs to be prominent, but above all the goal should be to find the best way to get the crowd fired up as the team enters, after scores, and on big plays. Trying to find something original is a challenge but this is where engaging the players would be smart. If you want to create a truly original idea well Syracuse has a pretty famous rapper who is a fan of the program. If the bench is fired up, the fans are going to follow their lead.
Maybe Syracuse will surprise us this Saturday but we’ve laid out some of our ideas now let’s hear from you.