The Metrodome: A Building Collapse That Was Fun To Watch

Another football season is upon us, and that can only mean one thing: this writer losing himself in the wilderness for a week or so.
Nah, mostly just kidding. I am headed for the great American pacific northwest wilderness, or a reasonable facsimile, for the next week, but I will be back in time for the start of real (not placebo) football on Sunday, Sept. 11. As much as I would like to avoid TV on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and not have to listen to all the "God Bless America" crap that is sure to fill the airwaves, missing the opening week of  the NFL regular season would simply be out of character.
But I will be away for a few days, and unlike many in the 21st century, I will take neither laptop nor smartphone on a camping trip.
So here is a football related article, previously published at Cracked.com, to feast on while I'm away.  This piece looks at Minneapolis' own Metrodome, the roof of which collapsed last December (it was recently re-inflated and should be ready for the Vikings' home opener on Sept. 18). Also, for your pleasure, at the end of the piece is the video of the collapse; it's guaranteed to be much more enjoyable than those 9/11 replays, and you never have to deal with idiots claiming it was a government conspiracy. 

Just The Facts
1. The Metrodome, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was erected in 1981 and has only failed to maintain that erection four times in the years since then.
2. The Metrodome was the seat of national government in post-apocalyptic America during the presidency of Richard Starkey (a.k.a. Ringo Starr).  Source:  Kevin Costner, The Postman
3. The collapse of the roof on Dec. 12, 2010, the result of heavy snows, injured no one and damaged neither the field nor the seats.  As disasters go, it was “Minnesota Nice.”

Construction on a new multi-purpose stadium in Minneapolis began in 1979 when it became clear that the old Metropolitan Stadium in nearby Bloomington no longer met the standards required by professional sports teams in the United States.

There weren’t enough luxury boxes, and the concession stand only sold grapes.

Because Minnesota receives a lot of snow in the wintertime during football season, and occasionally even in spring or fall during baseball season, it was thought the new stadium should have a roof.   Because architects apparently don’t go outside much, it was thought that an inflatable fabric roof would do the trick.
And because it was the second stadium ever built with such a roof, it was named after a native son who once held the second-highest office in the land, the cartoonishly-monikered former Vice-President Hubert Horatio Humphrey.

 “No, I’m not one of the Oompah-Loompahs.  I presided over the Senate, dammit!”

Thus was born the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

The stadium cost $68 million to build, coming in $2 million under budget.  For a landmark building with enough staying power to be the butt of jokes for nearly 30 years, this was indeed a bargain for the taxpayers.

What’s With The Roof, Anyway?
The roof was designed to be “air supported,” a fancy way of saying “it’s a fucking balloon.”  The pressure holding the roof up is provided by 20 fans, each 90 horsepower.  The roof design necessitated the use of revolving doors throughout the building, since leaving a door open too long could result in lowered air pressure inside.  Load-bearing cheerleaders add additional support [citation needed].
The roof actually consists of two layers, with warm air being pumped between them to melt the snow collecting on top of the structure.  There is a control center within the building, which monitors conditions outside and adjusts the air accordingly.  The most recent collapse was the fourth time since 1982 that this system has failed, resulting in tears to the fabric and deflation of the structure.

The pitifully deflated structure was documented on camera and images were circulated on the internet.  Wait, is that the right picture?

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