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Rice Stadium
Rice Stadium 2006.jpg
Former names Houston Stadium
Location 2176 University Blvd, Houston, TX 77251
Coordinates 29°42′59″N 95°24′33″W / 29.71639°N 95.40917°W / 29.71639; -95.40917Coordinates: 29°42′59″N 95°24′33″W / 29.71639°N 95.40917°W / 29.71639; -95.40917
Broke ground February 1950
Opened September 30, 1950
Owner Rice University
Operator Rice University
Surface FieldTurf
Architect Brown & Root Constructors
Capacity 47,000 (expandable to 70,000) [1]
Tenants
Rice Owls (NCAA) (1950-present)
Houston Cougars (NCAA) (1951-1964)
Houston Oilers (AFL) (1965-1967)
Bluebonnet Bowl (NCAA) (1959-1967, 1985-1986)
Team Texas (AAFL) (2008-present)
Super Bowl VIII (NFL) (1974)

Rice Stadium is a football stadium located on the Rice University campus in Houston, Texas. It has been the home of the Rice University football team since its completion in 1950.

Architecturally, Rice Stadium is an excellent example of modernism, with simple lines and an unadorned, functional design. The entire lower seating bowl is located below the surrounding ground level. Built solely for football, the stadium has excellent sightlines from almost every seat.

In 2006, Rice University upgraded the facility by switching from AstroTurf to FieldTurf and adding a modern scoreboard above the north concourse.[2] Seating in the upper deck is in poor condition, which led the university to move home games for which large crowds were expected to nearby Reliant Stadium.

High school football games, especially neutral-site playoff games, are frequently played at Rice Stadium. It can also be used as a concert venue.

Contents

History and trivia

Rice Stadium from the air

The current Rice Stadium replaced Rice Field (now Rice Track/Soccer Stadium)[3]. The older stadium seated fewer than 37,000 fans.

Rice Stadium was subsidized by the City of Houston and built by Brown and Root. The stadium was originally simply called Houston Stadium and was intended to be shared by Rice and the University of Houston.

In addition to Rice, the University of Houston football team played at Rice Stadium from 1951 to 1965, and the Bluebonnet Bowl was played there from 1959 to 1967 and again in 1985 and 1986.

As originally built, it seated 70,000 fans — more than the total number of Rice's living and deceased alumni. Rice Stadium was built before professional football came to Houston, and 70,000 fans might be expected to attend a college football game there. But the Houston Oilers arrived in 1960 (they themselves played in the stadium from 1965 to 1967) and Rice football stopped being competitive in the Southwest Conference after 1961.

In 1974, Rice Stadium hosted Super Bowl VIII, in which the Miami Dolphins beat the Minnesota Vikings 24–7. If was the first Super Bowl to be played in Houston and it would be 30 years later that the Super Bowl would return to Houston, which was played at Reliant Stadium.

In 2006, the end zones seats were covered with tarps, reducing seating capacity to 47,000, in part because the stadium had not sold out for a college football game since the early 1960s (the average attendance for Rice football games in Rice Stadium in 2007 was 13,353[4] and was 20,179 in 2008[5] with the team's strong play that year). However, it can easily be reconfigured to its original capacity.

Although the stadium has hosted a number of bowl games, promoters have resisted the temptation to call any of them "The Rice Bowl".

On April 5, 1994, Pink Floyd had to cancel a show half way through the second set due to heavy rainfall and a bad thunderstorm that night.

John F. Kennedy speech

President John F. Kennedy delivers his speech at Rice University on the subject of the American space program, September 12, 1962.

On September 12, 1962, Rice Stadium hosted the speech in which President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade. In the speech, he used a reference to Rice University football to help frame his rhetoric:

But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Notes

Rice Stadium in 2005, before its 2006 renovations

See also

External links

Preceded by
Rice Field
Home of the
Rice Owls

1950 – present
Succeeded by
Current
Preceded by
Robertson Stadium
Home of the
Houston Cougars

1951 – 1964
Succeeded by
Astrodome
Preceded by

first stadium
Astrodome
Home of the
Bluebonnet Bowl

1959 – 1967
1985 – 1986
Succeeded by
Astrodome
Preceded by
Jeppesen Stadium
Home of the
Houston Oilers

1965 – 1967
Succeeded by
Astrodome
Preceded by
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Host of Super Bowl VIII
1974
Succeeded by
Tulane Stadium
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