Dating all the way back to 1962, Nebraska fans have sold out Memorial Stadium for 347 consecutive home football games.
Photo by Nate Olsen/Nebraska Communications

Passionate Parrella Proud Voice for Record Sellout Streak

By NU Athletic Communications

“I think coming to a home football game at Nebraska should be on almost everyone’s bucket list. If you see one game at Nebraska, you’re going to want to come back, especially with this team going forward and this staff’s vision to take a steady rise to greatness again.”    John Parrella, Nebraska Defensive Line Coach

Randy York N-Sider

Official Blog of the Huskers

Fifty-four years ago, the Nebraska Cornhuskers launched a college football home sellout streak that continues inside hallowed Memorial Stadium, which greets its loyal fan base with this definitive declaration in the East Stadium’s original entrance – Through these gates pass the Greatest Fans in College Football.

That proud, friendly sign reminds everyone that Nebraska has reached the nation's No. 1 all-time attendance milestone, based on 347 consecutive home sellouts dating back to 1962. Regardless of wind, rain, sleet, snow or anything else, Husker fans stick together in all kinds of weather.

The legendary Bob Devaney started that incredible streak in his first year as Nebraska’s head coach. For the next quarter century, Tom Osborne teams protected the sanctity of that sellout streak. Fortunately, that streak continues and beginning on June 1, all remaining Nebraska season football tickets will go on sale at Huskers.com/tickets.

I predict that Nebraska will sell out once again because Big Red fans embrace buying stock in something they love, cherish and believe in. The Huskers' 95-percent season ticket renewal rate always ranks among the nation's highest, simply because natural attrition affects every football program in terms of people moving, passing away or facing life changes.

Why Am I So Bullish on Nebraska Selling Out More than Half a Century Later?  

Having interviewed Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella (pictured above) I have a logical answer to my own question. The sellout streak is one B1G darn deal because it helps Husker fans embrace the same truth and light that Parrella feels in his head and heart.

“We have the greatest football fans in the world…we really do,” Parrella said. “Whether you’re a player or a coach at Nebraska, everybody always wants to talk about how great our fans are. Even coaches at other schools talk about our fans. They don’t like playing here because they know it’s going to be another sellout crowd, and they know that our fans are the most passionate people in the world. There’s absolutely no question that Husker fans give us a great advantage.”

Sharing passion requires trust. “I know our coaches and our players will never take our fans for granted,” Parrella said. “We love our fan base here because they’re best in the history of college football. As coaches and players, we can’t say enough about them. They’re the ones who fuel our fire and our passion. There isn’t a coach on this staff or a player on this team who doesn’t want to represent this state and all of our fans in every way possible.

“There’s no question our fans fire up our entire coaching staff, and gosh, everyone can tell how much the crowd fuels our players,” Parrella said. “Our kids are feeling it. When our coaches can’t even hear their own voices on the headsets, that tells you how passionate this fan base is. We want that stadium to be full and sold out every game.”

Parrella Made His Mark as a Daydream Believer Willing to Outwork Anyone

Parrella’s bio is straight out of central casting, even in Nebraska’s rich football folklore. A gifted Grand Island (Neb.) native, Parrella walked on as a daydream believer with a willingness to outwork anyone. Small wonder he has spent a good chunk of his life reinforcing the importance of the fuel and fire necessary to compete at Nebraska.

An All-Big Eight defensive tackle and 1992 team captain, Parrella finished his last season as Nebraska’s second-leading tackler with 77, including 11.5 sacks. The 1992 Nebraska Lifter of the Year was a crucial contributor to three Nebraska Big Eight championship teams while earning a niche in the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.

No one has to remind John Parrella about how crucial Husker fans are and why it’s important to extend Nebraska’s national record home football sellout streak. “You don’t have to play the game to really get into it,” Parrella said. “When someone tells me I was really fired up I tell them: ‘How can you not be fired up to play football for the best fans in the world?’ I mean, we’re in Lincoln, Nebraska! History surrounds this entire place!!”

That history and Nebraska’s full-fledged fan base win recruits and influence decisions. “Some of our recruits have a hard time imagining a fan base like ours and believing how passionate they are,” Parrella said. “They hear it but they don’t feel it until they get here. Once they see our fans live, they’re all in. They realize how huge that advantage is for us and they start telling everyone else why it’s important. They can’t believe we’ve sold out every seat for more than 50 years, and that’s not going to change.”

Attending Nebraska Home Game Should Be on Almost Everyone’s Bucket List

“Our fan base is just so incredible,” Parrella said. “Everybody in the stadium knows what it’s like to watch a football game at Memorial Stadium. They know how we treat people and respect the overall experience. I think coming to a home football game at Nebraska should be on almost everyone’s bucket list. Our place is different. If you see one game here, you’re going to want to come back, especially with this team going forward and this staff’s vision to take a steady rise to greatness again.”

Like Mike Riley, the head coach who hired him, Parrella knows what it takes to compete in the NFL. He was a second-round draft choice who earned the right to experience three Super Bowls, including one each at Buffalo, San Diego and Oakland. He played for Riley at San Diego in an NFL career that spanned 12 years and produced more than 400 tackles and 26½ sacks.

Parrella’s passion covers the weight room, the training table and the film room as well as what happens on the field in practice and on game day. His passion is a standard for all Huskers to reconnect with historical roots and re-emerge as a Big Ten Conference and national championship contender.

Parrella is confident that Nebraska will quickly sell the remaining season tickets in Memorial Stadium’s 86,047-seat capacity.

Fan Advice: Don’t Wait Too Long to Pull the Trigger on Buying Season Tickets

The accuracy of that statement deserves a recommendation – don’t wait too long to pull the trigger because once you own your own season tickets, you get the first right of refusal for seasons that follow.

Last year, Nebraska sold its last 1,500 season tickets in about 30 hours. “I would not wait to buy,” Parrella said. “I’m sure Nebraska fans will jump at the chance to have their own seats.”

Bottom line, “Coach Riley has been there and done everything in football,” Parrella said. “There isn’t anything in football he can’t accomplish. He’s done it all. For him to come here and lead this program from good back to greatness is an incredible journey.

“Coach Riley loves this place and he feels it,” Parrella said. “He’s excited to be the leader here. Fans who step up and continue to fill up Memorial Stadium will be very happy to get on board with us and help us take this program where we all want it to go.”

Send a comment to ryork@huskers.com (Please include city, state)

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