Recalling the 1980 incident in which the Raiders’ Ray Guy punted a football off a Superdome scoreboard, the St. Petersburg Times’ Greg Auman asks the question that’s firmly in the minds of thousands awaiting Saturday’s St. Pete aka Magicjack Bowl between Memphis (6-6) and Southern Florida (7-5) ; “could a football hit the catwalks at the Trop?”
The highest catwalks ” the A and B rings ” are at least 142 feet above the field, far too high for any football. The C catwalk, which goes directly over the end zone in rightfield, is 99 feet up, leaving the only reasonably reachable catwalk as the D ring, which never crosses the field of play but sits at 59 feet in centerfield and slightly higher over the stands in rightfield.
The Times sent a reporter to Tropicana Field last week, with former USF goalkeeper and semi-pro kicker Mike Pepper attempting to hit a catwalk from the field of play. Pepper hit the D catwalk, but not in any normal game situation ” he put two balls over the outermost ring, punting out of bounds from the far 20-yard line.
Pepper, the morning-show host and assistant program director at 1010 CBS Sports, also hit the D ring once, with the ball caroming off the restaurant in centerfield and bouncing into the touch tank in right-center where fans can touch live cownose rays.
Putting a 120-yard football field into Tropicana Field is a snug fit. A well-kicked extra point or short field goal through the uprights in rightfield could easily hit the D ring, if not the 64-foot-wide video board behind the stands in right.