The Loop

The Loop

How to enjoy yourself in the NFL’s rapidly emptying stadiums

September 21, 2017

Michael Zagaris

Generally speaking, you can expect stadiums to be jam-packed full of teeming and gross humanity: Cheering, screaming, singing throngs of people who have gathered together to pay $75 for parking and sit in four hours of endless postgame gridlock to enjoy the communal experience of things like rooting for the Cleveland Browns, I guess.

But what happens when the stadiums don’t cooperate? What happens when you find yourself in a stadium that’s mostly empty, because the team is hot garbage, because they got bounced out of the playoff race, because they play football in Los Angeles, because you elected to buy Indiana football season tickets for some reason? It’s an eerie feeling, sitting in a place designed for tens of thousands and being surrounded by a couple hundreds, with every whistle, boo and call echoing off the empty seats. It sucks, but it doesn’t have to be hopeless. We here at The Loop have some ways you can pass the time at an empty stadium before your surprisingly convenient drive home:

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Sample the Fancypants Rockefeller Seats: Do this: Crane your middle-class head down from the crappy upper-deck terrace tickets your cheap ass picked up on StubHub for $12 and look at all the EMPTY SPACE down there! It’s calling your name, quietly begging you, Kyle, Kyle, come and taste what life is like for people who like sports but also have dollar sign-shaped swimming pools. Sure, you may bump into trouble with “security” or whatever, but after midway through a game you can generally sneak through by sliding them a hot pretzel.

Try Out Every Available Section: We live in a time where the Marlboro pack-sized computer in our pants can afford us a view from every seat in every stadium and arena in North America, but there’s nothing like the real thing. You can kill a good 30 minutes of shitty football by comparing the viewing angles in 210 with the comparative angles in 211. It can make a big difference, when watching whoever the hell those people are on the field.

Get a Leg Up on the Guess-the-Attendance Game: By actually counting.

Rest Your Weary Feet on the Chair Before You Like Some Baron From Olde England: And the chair before that. And the chair before that! The world is your oyster! And by world I mean Rows R-V.

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Get Your Entire Section to Rise as One and Run Over to the Next Section: Think of as a real-life wave! Plus, there will only be like 6 people in your section, so it won’t be that hard. Be careful not to accidentally slide on any drink trays.

March to the Tippy Toppy Top of the Stadium: Find the worst seats in the house. It’s a fun challenge and physical activity, plus it keeps you from having to figure out who any of the Cincinnati Bengals are. (Be diligent: You may be in the last row of the upper upper deck, but they may have put folding chairs in the concourse.)

Insult Players to Their Faces, Pretty Much! You know those clever vulgar quips and pointed insults you hurl at your TV every Sunday, making everyone else hustle the kids outstide to play? Now you can pretty much yell at Philip Rivers in person! It’s like tweeting, but in real life to a very big man, so you probably won’t do it.

Find the Cheapest Available Seats on StubHub: For instance, you could get into the Sept. 17 Colts vs. Cardinals game at Lucas Oil Stadium for $10. I’ve ordered more expensive Chipotle than that.

Sean M. Haffey

Bring Crafting Materials to Create On-the-Fly TV Signs: You’re going to have tons of time and space to yourself, well enough to set up some poster boards and magic markers. Use them to invent timely insulting slogans right there live, reflecting whatever godawful nightmare is happening on the field! TV cameraman love those, especially when they’re trying to not show how few people give a shit about the game their network scheduled.

Quietly Sit in Your Chair Marveling at the Sheer Amount of People, Energy, Money and Manpower Went Into Conceiving and Constructing This Enormous Building in Which Grown Men Play Games for More Money a Day Than Teachers Will Make in a Year and Ruminate on the Meaning of it All: Also, there’s probably a killer sale in the gift shop.