Football fans use U.S. flag to rescue falling cat at the University of Miami-Appalachian State University game

Cat clings on to a wire below the 300 level seats during the first half of the University of Miami game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021 — Courtesy: Image by Jared Lennon

The best play at the ACC University of Miami-Appalachian State University football game Saturday night happened within the stands, where several spectators joined together to save a struggling feline fan. 

Early in the second quarter of No. 22 Miami’s home-opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a loud murmur arose from the student section at Hard Rock Stadium. The excited students, many of which were attending their first-ever home game, noticed a small animal hanging from the upper deck. Some fans thought it was a dog, while others nearby thought it was someone’s child.

Video from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens showed a black and white cat dangling from the stadium’s upper deck. The kitten clung by its claws to a piece of fabric on the railing. Fans reached down to help, but the cat ultimately came crashing down towards the seats below.

Thankfully, the kitty was caught by game attendees who held a U.S. flag as a rescue tarp. 

Craig Cromer and his wife, Kimberly Cromer, were the heroes of the game. Craig is a facilities manager at the University of Miami and has had Miami Hurricanes season tickets with his wife for almost seven years. Every game, the couple hangs an American flag over the railing right in front of their seats. 

Kimberly stated that their mission to save a stray cat as it fell from the stadium’s upper deck is “probably the strangest thing that’s happened.”

Once the Cromers realized what was going on, they jumped into action. Craig removed the zip-ties on the flag and he and his wife stretched it open to create a landing pad for the scared cat. 

The couple stood there and waited for about two to three minutes while the cat peed on some unlucky fans below.

“It seemed like it took forever,” Craig said.

At last, the cat lost its grip and came crashing down toward the suite level. The Craigs’ flag broke the cat’s fall and a group of students in the bottom section grabbed it as it fell to the ground. 

The entire corner of the Miami Gardens stadium, right by Miami’s tunnel, jumped for joy and cheered as one student lifted the cat in the air — just like Simba from “The Lion King.” Joe Zagacki, whose booth was right next to the commotion, provided play-by-play for South Florida on WQAM.

“This,” Craig said, “is my first catch.”

The University of Miami football team ended up winning 25-23 for its first victory of the season, though coach Manny Diaz was not pleased with his red-zone offense. 

“I don’t know anything about that or what was going on,” he said, “but I’ll tell you if the cat can help our red-zone offense, I’ll see if we can get it a scholarship.”

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