Let’s play the hypothetical game.
Say the Terps score a monumental win at Byrd Stadium. Say you, overcome with emotion, feel the sudden urge to rush the turf. You want to climb the goal posts, shimmying across the uprights until you can reach down and slap hands.
But by the time you reach the end zone, the goalposts will have long since been taken down. And even if you manage to climb aboard, you’ll be in for a soft, 15-second drop back to earth. Maryland recently installed hydraulic goalposts, the same ones used at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, Aloha Stadium in Hawaii and at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona.
Developed by Sportsfield Specialities, an Upstate New York company, the goal posts are built on hydraulic hinges, so they can be lowered to the ground mechanically, rather than manually like in other stadiums that maintain bolt system goalposts.
“We have about 40 sets in the ground at every level of competition,” Director of Sales David Moxley said. “I think it’s going to become the standard goal post in the next three to five years.”
For high-profile teams, the main benefit is safety and crowd control. In 2011, when Oklahoma State upset Oklahoma and Cowboys fans rushed the field, 13 people were injured. At high schools, removing the posts can help with dual field use for, say, soccer matches. Moxley anticipates use for concerts and graduations at bigger stadiums too.
It won’t exactly stop fans from climbing on the actual goal posts, because they don’t disappear into the ground. But it should help prevent people from falling off them from tall heights, if it ever comes to that. Of course, a race-against-the-clock scenario is interesting to imagine, with fans flooding the field, dashing to the end zone while the yellow aluminum meanders to the turf.