After 27 years being co-tenants with the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins inside the Hubert. H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minnesota Golden Gophers football returned on-campus; this time, at TCF Bank Stadium, where this Sunday, the biggest event in the State of Hockey will happen as the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild will faceoff in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
Before playing in the Metrodome, Gopher football was played at Memorial Stadium. The 57,000-seat stadium opened in 1924, and in its lifetime, saw the Gophers won six national championships. However, by 1982, Memorial Stadium was in disrepair and a brand new domed stadium in downtown Minneapolis was ready to welcome the Gophers into an NFL-quality venue. The stadium was demolished in 1990, and the McNamara Alumni Center and Freeman Aquatic Center were built on the site. A preserved entryway from Memorial Stadium serves as an entrance to the Heritage Gallery inside the McNamara Alumni Center.
In 2006, Minnesota state legislature approved funding to bring back Gopher football back on campus. TCF Bank Stadium was built very similar to Memorial Stadium, a 52,000-seat horseshoe stadium with the open end giving a view to the Minneapolis skyline. Each of the names of the 87 counties that make up the state of Minnesota is carved in limestone around the stadium. The west end of the stadium, which houses the main scoreboard, has eleven 18-foot tall markers, representing the eleven native tribal nations that call Minnesota home. Where the Minnesota Wild will dress, is the largest dressing room in football. And the best part of the stadium? It was built with expansion in mind. Foundations for a potential third deck are laid, and if Minnesota wants to, the third deck would expand seating capacity from 52,000 to 80,000.
TCF Bank Stadium was built at a cost of $303 Million, and opened on September 12, 2009, when the Gophers christened the stadium with a 23-19 win over the Falcons of the United States Air Force Academy. The Gophers are 23-19 at the Stadium, with its most-attended game happening last season, as 54,147 saw the Gophers kick off the 2015 season with a loss to the #2 ranked Horned Frogs of TCU, 23-17. Originally, TCF Bank Stadium did not sell any beer/alcohol. However, that policy was modified to sell alcohol only in premium seating and the west end of the stadium. It is the only stadium in the Big Ten Conference to sell alcohol. The policy was also approved prior to the Minnesota Vikings calling the Stadium home while the Metrodome site was being transformed into the Vikings’ new home, U.S. Bank Stadium. TCF Bank Stadium’s first Vikings game happened on December 20, 2010, a Monday Night Football game against the NFC North division rival Chicago Bears. the game was the first game outdoors for the Vikings since the last game at Met Stadium held on that day, 29 years prior. That game was historic for a number of reasons: it was the last game Brett Favre played in his 18-year NFL career, Bears kick returner Devin Hester broke the NFL record for most career return touchdowns, and the Bears clinched the NFC North with a 40-14 win over the Vikings. Four years later, the Vikings held temporary residence at TCF Bank Stadium. Overall, the Vikings were 11-6 when playing at TCF Bank Stadium, with their last game, the Vikings’ first outdoor playoff game since the 1976 NFC Championship game, a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, 10-9, when Blair Walsh shanked a 27-yard game-winning field goal wide left.