Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Will USF Bulls hit a catwalk during a St. Petersburg Bowl punt? We run a test to see.

Mike Pepper, who was a goalkeeper at USF and a semi-pro kicker, tries to kick a football into the catwalk at Tropicana Field during a test to see if it could happen during this weekend’s St. Petersburg Bowl. It seems unlikely but possible.

LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN | Times

Mike Pepper, who was a goalkeeper at USF and a semi-pro kicker, tries to kick a football into the catwalk at Tropicana Field during a test to see if it could happen during this weekend’s St. Petersburg Bowl. It seems unlikely but possible.

ST. PETERSBURG

Bulls fans, don't worry: There should be no ground-rule doubles Saturday, no foul balls or bad caroms off the catwalks at Tropicana Field.

Rays officials say they don't expect any issues with footballs hitting the four concentric rings above the playing field during the inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl between USF and Memphis.

"We don't think there will be a problem, but we'll let the game officials decide that on their own," said Rick Nafe, Rays vice president for operations and facilities. "And if you can play a baseball game with ground rules, you can play football with ground rules, too."

There is a precedent for a punted ball hitting an obstruction in a domed stadium — Ray Guy had a punt bounce off a large TV screen 90 feet above the field in the Louisiana Superdome during the 1976 Pro Bowl.

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.

FAST FACTS

St. Petersburg Bowl

USF vs. Memphis: 4:30 Saturday, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

TV: ESPN2

Tickets: ticketmaster.com or gousfbulls.com

Will USF Bulls hit a catwalk during a St. Petersburg Bowl punt? We run a test to see. 12/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 5:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays sign first-round pick Brendan McKay to record bonus

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — Determining whether top draft pick Brendan McKay will be more productive as a pitcher or a hitter or can handle the demands of doing both professionally will be a long endeavor that could take years.

    Louisville pitcher Brendan McKay  connects for a grand slam home run during the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament against Notre Dame in May in Louisville, Ky. [Timothy D. Easley/theACC.com via AP]
  2. At College World Series, the save goes to an LSU dad/doctor

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The father of LSU pitcher Jared Poche' helped revive an 87-year-old man who was slumped on the TD Ameritrade Park concourse with no pulse during Game 1 of the College World Series finals.

    UF’s Tyler Dyson delivers against LSU in Tuesday’s late CWS Game 2. Go to tampabay.com/sports.
  3. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December

    Blogs

    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  4. Is Mikhail Sergachev, who debuts with Lightning at Wednesday camp, ready for the NHL?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken ninth overall by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL draft, a horde of Montreal media surrounded him for his first news conference.

    Mikhail Sergachev takes a shot during warmups prior to a game between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes in October in Montreal. [Getty Images]
  5. Top pick Brendan McKay signing with Rays for $7M bonus

    Blogs

    The Rays are set to sign top pick 1B/LHP Brendan McKay for a bonus just over $7-million, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

    The deal is expected to be finalized …

    Brendan McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.