I have had the absolute luxury of attending four home games this year, in our inaugural season in the new, breathtaking stadium. I also attended the Big 12 Championship game between Texas and Nebraska, but that being said let me start from the beginning.
The first game I went to was Monday Night Football against the Panthers. I was so dang excited and in awe of the stadium that I am thankful I went in several hours early to take it all in.The fans were pretty lively as the minutes ticked away to the kickoff, as a matter of fact I specifically remember getting the chills when they played the intro to MNF on the big screen and when we all heard the anthem to MNF everyone was going crazy …and then we watched a half that ended with Carolina up 3-0. That does sort of take the wind out of your sails.
I sat in the upper level for this game and there were several groups trying to start chants and even the dreaded wave, and it was a decent atmosphere. There were a lot of cheers during the defensive series.
The second game I attended was a 3 o’clock kickoff vs Atlanta. I was very lucky to get free lower level tickets on the 15th row. This is where I saw a marked difference. There was little to zero passion down there. As a matter of fact, there were at least 10 empty seats on our row! The face value of these tickets were $375.00 each, so I seriously doubt that someone would pay that and just decide not to go, so they must have belonged to some gigantoid corporation.
I remember early on in that game texting my friend who was in the 200 level and telling him that there was no hype, no excitement. This was during one of our best wins of the season. Sam Hurd was dancing and waving his arms before every kickoff to get the fans into it, and this would work to an extent. I almost felt bad once, because I stood up on a 3rd down to cheer and looked around and I was the only one.
So, on that occasion it was NOT a great atmosphere. I loved the view, but not the vibe.
My third game was Thanksgiving and again, I was in the upper level. This game was sort of a tweener, sometimes really good, sometimes very quiet. Miles Austin brought the biggest cheer of the day when he was doing a little celebrating on the bench and it was shown on the big screen. He was smiling and holding his arms up and the place went nuts.
Overall, this being a holiday game and a very lackluster opponent, I was a little disappointed in the atmosphere.
Now, about last week’s game against the Chargers. I was shocked to see so many San Diego fans! This must have just not translated to the TV because this was a loud game. The fans knew how important this game was, and if not, then the loud, obnoxious Chargers fans put a little life into them. The 4th and goal debacle and lack of points took some steam of off things, but I really enjoyed Sunday’s game from an atmosphere standpoint.
I have some theories to why things seem to be the way you wrote… but first, let me just say that the most insane, intense game was without question the Big 12 Championship.
With the crowd split about 65/35, there was never a quiet moment, the marching bands in the stands filled every break with fight songs and such, and the colors were vibrant… it seems that every person in the building was wearing red or burnt orange. It was an amazing experience.
Now, my theories on why the stadium is or can be quiet.
First theory: the product on the field. Let’s be real and honest with ourselves as die-hard fans. We are disappointed right now, we have no consistency, we can’t seem to make the defensive stops we need so badly, cheering or not! The offense racks up yards but can’t put points on the board and we are very unsure about our head coach. Just because we don’t boo doesn’t mean we are not concerned.
If we as knowledgeable fans feel this way, imagine the schmucks and trophy wives that sit down along the first level, they don’t know anything but when the Cowboys score it’s good and when they don’t it’s bad. While this may be a reflection on ticket prices, I believe it’s more of a reflection on casual fans.
Secondly, the aforementioned ticket prices. When you out-price the average joe, then you lose your most passionate fans. If there is one thing I walk aways from thinking after each game, is that this is NO Texas Stadium, in both good and bad ways; I remember being at many games there and while you would freeze your you-know-what off trying to walk to a 30-year old bathroom. You had an awesome time screaming and yelling and cheering.
I recall a Sunday night game four years ago, the first home game against the Redskins and it was electric. When Romo hit Terry Glenn in the endzone for a TD, my friends and I went crazy, jumping and chest bumping and so was everyone else. You just don’t see that now at the new place. There is no community of fans, no tradition yet.
And my last theory: the big TV. It is amazing, the most awe inspiring thing you could imagine but it draws people in like a tractor beam. You just sit there and stare at it. I have weened myself off of it to an extent this year and now am able to actually watch the live game below, but look around and everyone is sitting back, eating their popcorn watching the game on TV. It almost brainwashes people into forgetting they are AT A GAME!
Who knows, maybe these could all have a little truth to them, or maybe none at all. I am with you and with Roy, and I try to do my little part. I know that winning and consistency cure all. The fans, for the most part, start off with good intentions. It’s those 7-6 games against the Redskins that seem to turn even the best intentions, into disappointing actions.
I want to give it time, let the stadium grow it’s own traditions. Let’s get some landmark victories in there and let’s let the corporate suits give their tickets away to clients for now, and as time goes by we can hope that the stadium becomes more accessible to the true fans! Go COWBOYS!
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