Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wilbon Rips Snyder, Skins Fans, and the NFL

Well, if you watched this past Monday's game between the Steelers and the Skins, you probably know what I'm gonna write about here. Apparently there were an absurd amount of Steelers fans at the game, sullying the good name of Skins fans for the time being. It has been the talk of the town here since the game.

Offensive players on the team said they had to go to a silent count for much of the game, that's how loud the Steelers fans were. A lot of people thought all the terrible towels in the crowd were actually a Skins promotion, until they looked more closely and saw that every single person waving a towel also had some form of Steeler apparel on.

Personally, I was disgusted by the whole thing but that's because I would never, ever give my ticket to a game to a fan of the opposing team. But I'm guessing I'm in the minority concerning that. Well in the Post today, Wilbon decided to address the matter and he didn't pull any punches. Here are some highlights that were particularly damning:

The Redskins like to say they have the best fans in the league. Please, they're not even in the game for consideration of that distinction. You think Steelers fans, no matter how late the game time or how much they hate the stadium, would sell their tickets and let Redskins fans gobble them up? No chance. You think somewhere between one-third and one-fourth of Eagles, Broncos, Browns, Bears, Giants, Seahawks or Packers fans would sell their seats to brokers, when their team is a serious contender no less? No chance. ...

I don't need an NFL or Redskins report to tell me about the filthy language and nasty behavior in the stands Monday night or what the league is going to do about it, which is nothing. I saw it firsthand and received a couple of dozen e-mails on the subject. It was abominable, and the Steelers fans were just as responsible as Redskins fans. ...

But what is unique and beyond the control of fans is that a 90,000-seat stadium is 25,000 seats too many. There's no team or city in the league that should have a stadium with more than 70,000 seats. Tickets are too easy to come by. And at least one-quarter of the people at FedEx go for the purpose of getting ripped, which, along with the excessive traffic, lack of close parking and inadequate public transportation, makes the Redskins game-day experience probably the most uncomfortable experience in the NFL. I've covered games in all 31 stadiums, many of them 20 times or more. It's an eight-hour day for most Redskins fans and many just don't have that kind of time on a weeknight as well as the tolerance to endure the intoxicated bums who make the game itself completely impossible to enjoy.

Just to add some personal anecdotes to Wilbon's analysis, I was on the Beltway Monday night and had to deal with the traffic associated with that Monday nighter. See, the Beltway is Dc's main highway for commuting and it's also the only way to get to Fedex Field. Monday night was a nightmare on it, just jampacked to the brim. I left for a high school soccer game at 4 pm, thinking even with the excessive traffic, I'd get to the game by the 5:00 start time. Mind you, this game was taking place at a field that would ordinarily take 15 minutes to get to under normal circumstances. Well, when all was said and done on the beautiful highway known as the Capital Beltway, I showed up at the game around 5:40, having missed nearly the entire first half.

Combine all that with an ass kicking from the Steel crew and those awful all-burgundy jerseys the Skins decided to sport and you've got a true disaster of a Monday night. Seriously, the two times the Skins were on national television this season, they decided to throw clunkers up on the board.

Throw in the fact that the Wiz couldn't even sell out their home opener last week, and I've got to say DC sports fans are at a crossroads. What's with the non-support? I guess I shouldn't be so naive considering my middle school years were spent arguing with friends who refused to root for their home team only to come crawling back once Gibbs had his return reign. And don't get me started about those God damn Ravens fans that cropped out of nowhere after they won a Super Bowl.

I will say this, DC fans might be turning fair weather, but at least we're not Philly. Although after watching Pittsburgh take over the stadium Monday, I've got to say I'd rather see a stadium full of DC boo birds than a stadium full of another team's fans. That World Series parade looked pretty sweet, too.

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