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RCA Dome deflated to prepare for demolition

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The RCA Dome is now a bowl.

Sixteen large fans that kept the dome's fabric roof aloft were shut down Wednesday morning, allowing the roof to deflate and fall within about 50 feet of the stadium floor.

The dome had been one of the most famous parts of the city's skyline since it became the Indianapolis Colts' new home in 1984, and some current players and coaches were saddened by the start of the city's demolition project.

"I'll definitely miss the dome," said Peyton Manning, who set numerous records there since joining the Colts in 1998. "It provided a lot of great memories for me and my family."

The dome near downtown Indianapolis is being demolished, now that the Indianapolis Colts have moved to the nearby Lucas Oil Stadium. Once the roof is removed, demolition work will accelerate with an implosion of the dome planned for December.

Former Mayor Bill Hudnut, who helped bring the Colts to Indy by building a stadium before having a commitment from any major professional team to use it, gave the order to shut off the fans. The 8-acre roof took about 35 minutes to deflate.

Yet city officials and Colts officials contend it's all part of a brighter future.

The dome was the smallest NFL stadium for years. The Colts christened the new Lucas Oil Stadium in August. Indy has yet to win a game there, having lost both preseason games and its first two regular-season home games.

But fans witnessed some historic moments in the dome.

Manning broke the league's then single-season record for touchdown passes (49) in 2004, and receiver Marvin Harrison caught his final six passes there in 2002, setting the league's single-season record for receptions (143). In 2006, the Colts celebrated the city's first Super Bowl victory inside the dome, and opposing teams sometimes complained that the Colts had piped in artificial noise to make it more difficult to call plays.

Now that the roof is down, things won't be the same.

"It's different," coach Tony Dungy said. "We'll miss the dome in a lot of ways, but at some point Lucas Oil will feel like it's been there forever, too."



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