Pictures of Michigan Stadium, early 2000s-ish

Submitted by Sgt. Wolverine on September 21st, 2018 at 2:50 PM

The other day I started looking through my old rolls of film from back when I shot film, and on the tail end of one roll I found a set of photos of Michigan Stadium on what seems to be just a random spring afternoon with people running around on the grass. I don't know the exact date because I didn't keep detailed records, but I'm pretty sure it's early 2000s.



Bando Calrissian

September 21st, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

Yep, this. The new-look stadium just doesn't feel like, well, the stadium.

I'll also admit a bit of a laugh this week when I got hit with an ad for a contest to win a flag football game for you and your friends at the stadium. That's basically what people did on the real grass surface for years, without having to do anything else but walk in the gate. What a time to be alive.


September 21st, 2018 at 7:43 PM ^

I remember back in '97, on the day that Charles Woodson won the Heisman, Michigan Basketball also happened to upset top-ranked Duke at Crisler. My buddy and I went to that game, and after we rushed the court, we went over to the stadium and ran around on the field. We threw around a football we found and made snow angels. There were no locked gates and no security guards. Good times. 


September 21st, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

Well, they installed FieldTurf in 2003, replacing the natural grass. And since there are people allowed into the stadium and the gates are open, I would guess this is pre-9/11. I think it was after 9/11 that they pretty much closed it off to visitors outside of events. 

The upgraded scoreboards and additional rows of seating at the top were installed for the 1998 season. Based on these I would say these were taken between '99 and '01 (pre-9/11).

I also have a bunch of photos of Michigan Stadium from the time when it was pretty much open for anyone to come in and walk around. I miss those days. 


September 21st, 2018 at 3:42 PM ^

The rest of the year, they always kept one gate open.  

In summer of 2003, I went inside the stadium and the only other people inside was a father playing catch with his 5 year old son.  They left after 10 minutes and I had the entire stadium to myself, which was so awesome.  

The field turf had just been installed but the end zone letters had not been sewn in yet.  This was when the stadium cam was popular on, and the athletic department got about a hundred phone calls from fans saying the N was backwards in the south end zone and they had to keep telling the fans the letters weren't sewn yet.  

I'm very much a traditionalist but I've grown to kind of like the boxes.  And I kind of thought the old press box was an eye sore.  Plus, they blocked the sight lines of half the field for the poor souls sitting on either side.  

Bando Calrissian

September 21st, 2018 at 3:33 PM ^

This sounds right. I seem to remember the Friday lockdowns started right around 2004-5, definitely wasn't immediately after 9/11. I know they definitely started locking the gates overnight, too, had friends who sometimes beat the security guard there early in the morning and got in some trouble for jumping the fence instead of waiting like 10 minutes.

Wolverine Devotee

September 21st, 2018 at 3:10 PM ^

The good old days. 

The place felt much bigger back then. I dunno, those boxes have made things feel boxed in and smaller. Louder but I miss the old stadium that I walked into as a kid.

This picture was taken sometime between 2000-2002. Grass field was removed in 2003 and the halo was removed after the 1999 season.

On second look it kind of looks like the halo is still there. So sometime between 1998-2002.


September 21st, 2018 at 3:55 PM ^

Actually, if you ask me, it feels a lot bigger now in some respects than it did before, especially from the outside. Being mostly below grade, it actually used to not look like quite so much from the street, and you were immediately struck by its size when you entered. Now, I think the outside matches the inside in terms of scale, if that makes sense. 


September 21st, 2018 at 3:12 PM ^

Great pics... thanks for sharing them. I made a lot of visits to The Big House prior to that time and have been making more now again with my grandkids. It’s a magical place for sure - back then & now! Go Blue!

The Mad Hatter

September 21st, 2018 at 3:25 PM ^

Those are great pictures OP.  I've been thinking of switching back to a 35mm camera for special occasions.

And I agree with WD, the stadium did used to feel bigger.  I was completely awestruck the first time I walked in.  I don't think my son felt the same way.

Bando Calrissian

September 21st, 2018 at 3:36 PM ^

I'll never forget one day, early '00s, I was in there running the steps. On the way out, I ran into some folks in OSU gear who wanted to see the stadium. I hung back a bit to see how they reacted. Walking through the tunnel into the bowl, you could see their jaw drop when they realized how big it looked. They were blown away. That would happen just about every time I was in there.

I know it's a little and inconsequential thing, but that element of surprise, that difference between just seeing the top of the bowl and seeing the whole vista of the place once you got inside, was one of the really special things about the stadium.

Kilgore Trout

September 21st, 2018 at 3:39 PM ^

I took my 10 year old daughter to her first game last week and she couldn't stop talking about how huge it was and how awesome and fun the game was (and she has no interest in sports generally). I get that it seemed bigger and more fun when the stadium was simple and things were less jaded, but I think a lot of that (Brian's SMU game column included) is more of a reflection of us getting older and jaded. It's still pretty bad ass to a kid. 


September 21st, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

Stadium is badass now, but in a different way. There was something really awe inspiring when you walked through the section tunnels for the first time. From the street the stadium didn’t look like much, then it opened into something jaw dropping. 

Now you can see the scoreboards from M-14. So, it is big and imposing, but you don’t get that shock when you first walk in.