Friday, January 11, 2013

A Year as an NFL Season Ticket Holder

The NFL is the dominant sports entertainment product in the United States. Football has surpassed baseball as America's game, and the NFL has surpassed college football for national attention and prestige. Last spring, I saw a billboard advertisement about available Colts season tickets. I called up from work. A day later, I was a season ticket holder. It was a fun batch of games to watch since the home team won 7 of 8 games. It was also a fun season for people watching and providing ammunition for commentary on modern America.
10. Sight lines are fantastic in new, megastadiums but alas, the athletes can't hear you from the upper deck when you shout specifically at them. I'll never get this need to specifically target a player with a taunt as if the player could hear you. It's not like sitting in the 10th row of an NBA or MLB game or right behind the bench on the 50 yard line at football games. These foolish fans are hundreds of feet away in a loud stadium. The shouts seem more for other fans to hear. Once again, let's bring the experience back to focusing on you, the garden variety narcissist in section 645.
9. Women make up more stadium attending fans that I expected. Might be a regional thing as there seemed to be more at Colts games than the many Patriots games I attended. The NFL has made an effort to add female fans in the last decade, and it appears to have worked. The women usually sport a jersey but forget to suck in their gut for all four quarters. What is the sense of buying a tight babydoll jersey if you forget to suck in your gut? The babydoll cut will accentuate your gut. Some of these women are cuties, but a vast majority aren't. There were 4 cute women under age 40 in my section at the 8 games I attended. If women want to know where to find single guys, go to an NFL game. The male-female ratio is positive, and if a girl is cute, she's lightyears ahead of most female fans. A group of 4 single girls should split season tickets and signal as much as possible that they are single. I'd recommend this highly to single women who just hit 30. Don't compete with 21-24 year olds in a night club; compete with chubby or middle aged women at an NFL game.
8. The stadium is always selling you something. Huxley would be nodding his head and saying 'told you so' if he spent an hour at a game. I usually came home with a headache, and after a 1st time fan came to a game with me, she noticed the non-stop ads, loud noise and flashing lights; she thinks that's the reason for my headaches, not the slight strain on my neck to turn my head. Any space that could flash an ad does so, and all stoppages in play are filled with ads on the jumbotrons, small screens and banner screens. This is on top of print ads everywhere for everything from checking accounts to trucks to nachos.
7. Fans are mostly NASCAR whites, middle and upper middle class whites, and then some minorities. Hipsters and SWPLs are virtually nonexistent numbers, but it is Indianapolis. The NFL is +/- 60% black for players but the stadium packing fans are 85% white (low estimate). My section was nearly all white, and that was in a cheaper section to buy tickets. It's easy to see this watching a Detroit Lions home game where the 90% black city isn't 90% black in the stadium. I saw a few Hispanic families and random Asian fans (like a Hollywood show, the only minorities are black). Black fans usually came in duos, and all but one duo were not season ticket holders since I only saw the duos at one game each. The duos, in descending order of incidence, were: 2 black buddies, middle aged black couple on date, black male w/overweight white woman, young black couple on date. I didn't see any wedding bands on the bruthas sitting near me, and virtually no black children at games even if the Jumbotron would find two at the game and put them on the Jumbotron for the 'fan dance' sequences (not to reinforce stereotypes). Paul Kersey might overdo it with focusing on sports at his site, but it's important sadly due to the way sports have become central to many Americans' lives.
6. Cheerleaders are there because we need sex with our violence. We just can't have violence on its own, we need a side dish of sex. They looked better than in past seasons, but these aren't the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. The dancing stinks as they generally repeat the same 4 counts of 8 for a song. I didn't catch that, the lifelong dancer I brought to a game did. I could have done the choreography though as it's basic hip-hop music video choreography. They do have two sponsors which are a tanning lotion and some other beauty product. You are ALWAYS being sold something. As the Colts experienced the emotional "Chuck Strong" campaign, two cheerleaders, one a leukemia survivor herself, had their heads shaved due to a fundraiser that hit targets. Fans went nuts; Colts won the game.
5. TV timeouts are awful. They kill the flow of the game. They are wretched, artificial creations of consumerism. Most fans at home would gladly trade a "first down line is sponsored by" or a small corporate logo in the corner of the TV screen if the games had fewer TV timeouts. This is far worse with the NBA because the NBA has a steady pace of play, but it also sucks at NFL games (especially at outdoor stadiums).
4. ACDC must mint gold from NFL stadium PA use royalties. Those songs are constantly used by NFL teams (Pats overuse "Thunderstruck", Colts overuse "Hells Bells"). The Colts' stadium music director mixed bad hip-hop and rap with bad rock like "Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed. My section laughed at the music most of the time. I do think the proles react to it. They must have some prole focus group to ask what songs go best with specific situations. Kick-offs do not go well with the intro to "Down with the Sickness".
3. Going to a game must destroy a lot of delusional high school jock's egos. Never forget that all of these guys are genetic oddities (even the "hard workers"). These men are 200-300 lbs and run faster than you ever did. Game speed is much more impressive in person than on TV. I respect the linemen in the NFL immensely, and their combination of speed and strength is amazing to watch live. Linemen are also guaranteed to get hit each play. Add in the intelligence of most NFL offensive linemen, and it's quite the genetic freak that makes it to the NFL (even D1 at the NCAA level). It's a shame and kind of sick that their average lifespan is 52.
2. Being sober at a competitive game helps you realize just how easy it must have been for Romans to cheer on the gladiators. Two thousand years of 'civilization' hasn't changed much. People love big hits, and the cries for murder in the 3rd and 4th quarter have a bit more oomf behind them as the booze flows through fans' veins. Between these games and exposure to MMA, Rollerball might just be around the corner.
1. Football fans are much smarter about strategy than in the past. Let's all clap for the Madden video game franchise lifting the Football IQ of fans. A bunch of the fans I would talk to around me actually knew the difference between the Cover 2 run by Dungy + Caldwell for years vs. a Cover 1 or Cover 3. Are many fans still idiotic and low information fans? Yes. There is no limit on human ignorance. I will never understand fans who are buying $100 jerseys, spending thousands of dollars on season tickets and still not knowing basics of the game.

1 comment:

Firepower said...

You have proven that even in Rome, I would've been reading an account of The Game, without ever needing to attend.

Bread n' Circuses, Yo! American Style.

Football has degenerated noticeably even over the past decade. It reflects america: An over-regulated situation requiring more regulation due to the untrustworthy limitations of its increasingly moronic membership.