At the end of February, the Carrier Dome as we know it will just be a distant memory. The inflated roof is being replaced in a renovation project that has actually been ongoing since 2019. We take a look back at where the Carrier Dome started, and where it is going.
Countdown to the Carrier Dome appeared on WIXT, the predecessor of NewsChannel 9, in September of 1980. You can watch Part 1 and Part 2 of that show below.
Top 10 SU sports moments in Carrier Dome History
- September 20, 1980: SU football vs. Miami of OH – This was the first game in the Dome and the largest football crowd of 50,564. SU wins 36-24.
- March 7, 1981: SU basketball vs. Villanova – Leo Rautins’ tip-in as Syracuse wins Big East Tournament, beating Villanova.
- January 21, 1984: SU basketball vs. BC – This game featured Pearl’s half-court shot to win the game, 75-73.
- September 29, 1984: SU football vs. Nebraska – SU beats the #1 ranked team in the country 17-9, despite being a 25-point underdog.
- November 21, 1987: SU football vs. West Virginia – SU scores late and goes for two to wrap up the regular season with a perfect record.
- May 28, 1988: SU lacrosse vs. Penn – Gary Gait unveils “Air Gait” in 11-10 win over Penn in NCAA semifinals.
- March 4, 1990: SU basketball vs. Georgetown – John Thompson picks up three technicals and gets ejected as SU wins in OT and clinches the Big East regular-season title.
- November 14, 1998: SU football vs. Va Tech – Donovan McNabb engineers a game-winning drive in the final seconds and hits Stephen Brominski for a touchdown on the final play of the game to beat #12 Va Tech 28-26.
- February 1, 2014: SU basketball vs. Duke – This was SU’s first game against Duke as an ACC member. SU wins the epic battle, 91-89 in OT.
- October 13, 2017: SU football vs. Clemson – SU upsets #2 team in the country, setting the stage for a 10-3 record the following season.
The data behind the Dome
For 40 years, it was the most recognizable landmark on the Syracuse skyline: The unique white-topped fabric covered sports stadium known as the Carrier Dome. Lou Gulino takes a look at some of the data behind the Dome.
Memorable Dome events
- High school sports championships
- NFL preseason game, featured Dick Vermeil’s Philadelphia Eagles taking on Bum Phillips’ New Orleans Saints
- 1984 Empire State Games, featuring a young Mike Tyson winning gold
- 1981 WBC Welterweight boxing match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Larry Bonds. More than 21,000 were in attendance
- 2014 AHL ice hockey matchup between the Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets where more than 30,000 fans packed the Dome
- 1981 – Santana has the first concert at the Dome, and in November of that year, The Rolling Stones held the first full Dome concert
- Other memorable musical performers include David Bowie, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Willie Nelson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, and Paul McCartney
- Syracuse University commencement speakers, like former U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig, former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo, and then-Vice President Joe Biden, among others
- In January 1989, the Dome was host to a remembrance ceremony for the students who were killed aboard Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland
- Other notable events include the Dali Lama speaking at the Dome, the Moscow Circus performing, the largest Martin Luther King celebration on a college campus
- New York State Field Band Championships, professional wrestling, and even Monster Jam have all held events in the Dome
Stars attend final men’s basketball game inside inflatable Dome
The last men’s basketball game under the famed roof was played on Saturday, February 29 2020. Syracuse was looking to play their way into the NCAA tournament and earn a much needed win against North Carolina. The Orange came up short in the game 92-79, but Late Night Talk Show Host Jimmy Fallon, and New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, were on hand for the historic event.