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Michigan Stadium's history marked by great games

Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 4:28 PM / 2014 NHL Winter Classic Home
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Michigan Stadium\'s history marked by great games
Red Wings, Maple Leafs will add to rich history of Michigan Stadium.

It houses more people than any other stadium in the country, and it is home to the most successful college football program as well.

Michigan Stadium, built 85 years ago and expanded on multiple occasions since, is one of this country's signature sporting arenas, and it will be the site of the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the League announced Thursday. College football's most famous announcer, the legendary Keith Jackson, is credited with nicknaming Michigan Stadium as "The Big House" and it has lived up to that moniker.

The official capacity is 109,901 after the most recent renovation, but the large bowl in Ann Arbor routinely fits more than 111,000 people on Saturdays in the fall. Michigan played a night game at the venerable stadium for the first time in 2011, and an NCAA-record 114,804 saw the Wolverines defeat rival Notre Dame in one of the most entertaining contests of the college football season.

This will be the second hockey game at "The Big House." Michigan defeated rival Michigan State there in December 2010, and the official attendance of 104,073 is the most to ever see a game in the sport -- breaking the old record by more than 35,000.

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"The Big Chill was great. We set an [attendance] record and every time you think about it, it sends chills down your spine," Michigan forward and New Jersey Devils prospect David Wohlberg said. "It was one of those things that is only going to happen once and it was a lot of fun.

"I've been to football games. I went to the Notre Dame game this year and it was awesome. But it was the flyover that we had, the fireworks, the way everything came together, the weather -- it all just worked out perfectly."

Michigan Stadium has led the NCAA in attendance for 35 of the past 36 college football seasons. There have been more than 200 consecutive home games where over 100,000 people showed up to see the Wolverines.

There is plenty of reason for that beyond just the size of the stadium. Michigan holds the NCAA Division I-A record for victories with 895, and the Wolverines have won the Big Ten conference a record 42 times. There have been 124 players who have earned All-America status, and the Wolverines claim 11 national championships.

There have been three Heisman Trophy winners to call Michigan Stadium home. Tom Harmon was the first Michigan man to earn the award for college football's top player in 1940. Desmond Howard won in 1991, and popularized the idea of striking the Heisman pose. Charles Woodson won in 1997, becoming the first primarily defensive player to capture the trophy. 

Seven Michigan players have gone on to earn enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Woodson and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady are sure to join them someday.

There is no question about who the most famous Michigan football player of all-time is. He played on national champion squads in 1932 and 1933, and was voted Team MVP as a senior in 1934.

He is Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr., and he became the 38th President of the United States.

 

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