Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Professor Peter Moller
Professor Richard Breyer
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Film and Media Studies | Other Film and Media Studies | Radio | Television
Archbold Stadium, The Story of ’78, was inspired by an exhibit at the Syracuse University Admissions Office. The exhibit was a number of old postcards, and one of these was of Archbold Stadium. The stadium was home to Syracuse football from 1907 to 1978, and was home to such greats as Ernie Davis, Jim Brown, Floyd Little, and many others. The 1959 team that played there won Syracuse’s only national football championship, and was home to its only Heisman winner. When it was built in 1907 by John D. Archbold, it was the largest concrete stadium in the world, costing over $600,000 in 1907 money.
The documentary of the stadium is a historical piece that retells the stadium’s past, and of the final season played there. The 1978 team was special for several reasons. One, for the number of great players who went on to the NFL, secondly they were the last team to ever play in Archbold, and lastly they won the last game ever, preserving forever a winning tradition at the stadium. The documentary is a story of people as much as it is a story of a building.
The goal behind the documentary was to make current students aware of the stadium and its great history, while brining back to life for alumni and fans of Syracuse, a place that was home to many memories. It was the centerpiece of campus, and few realize that the Carrier Dome now sits where Archbold once stood.
The documentary is constructed with nine interviews shot over four months on a high definition camera. Each interview brings a different perspective from fans, to historians, to players themselves. All of the players played in the NFL, two have won super bowls, and another is in NFL hall of fame. The interviews are woven together to re-tell the story of the last game at Archbold against the U.S. Naval Academy.
Going into the Navy game, the 1978 team had not yet won a home game, and for all of Archbold’s 71 years, every team before had won at least won home game. Navy was ranked top ten in the country, and Syracuse was without star quarterback Bill Hurley. Somehow, the football gods smiled on Syracuse that day, and the one and seven Syracuse Orangemen upset the midshipmen in a contest for the ages. As time expired, fans rushed the field to tear the stadium apart, literally carrying pieces home with them.
This a documentary that is preserving a part of Syracuse history, and reminding a new generation of the greatness that once played here.
Brookes, Gordon Christopher, "Archbold Stadium The Story of ‘78" (2009). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 425.
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