Most of you know by now that I try as hard as I can to balance the overall message we put out from Hogs Haven. I think there has to be as much yin as yang, and as fans, I think it is important that we balance our emotions. A good example of this philosophy is when we discuss lists on this site. I am all for raging when a list (Top 100 Players, for instance) is missing something I/we think should be there--but if you are going to add something, than you have to make an equally compelling argument about that which would have to be subtracted.
Yesterday, we vented about the issues--or one major issue in particular (commercials)--that seems to be plaguing the stadium experience at FedEx Field. Today, I thought it would be constructive to offer some more ideas about things we could be doing to not only enhance the experience for the fans, but also to enhance home field advantage. After all, the two really do go hand-in-hand.
One carryover point from yesterday that feeds into this is the timing and placement of advertisements and scheduled announcements over the PA system. On Sunday against Detroit, both Kevin and I went berserk when--on multiple occasions--the airing of horrendous commercials succeeded in pacifying a home crowd prior to the opponent's offense snapping the ball deep in their own territory. This is simply unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE! We watched as fans who were on their feet and getting pumped up, returned to a rested, seated position while some advertisement was blasted on the loudspeakers. This allowed Detroit to huddle with less crowd noise and approach the line of scrimmage with less influence from the fans. This is just a ridiculously stupid way to minimize home field advantage.
I can hear someone in the back suggesting that those commercials help keep our ticket prices down, and help pay for players. Well, I just saw that Forbes ranked Washington Redskins #8 in the world for most valuable professional sports teams...yeah, IN THE WORLD. You'll NEVER convince me that the ticket price would go up if they couldn't squeeze that extra Eureka spot in the middle of or directly before crucial defensive stands. This also raises the question: What is more important: winning or profits? (Let's not tug at that thread today.) Because the practice of playing commercials at the dumbest possible moment of the game certainly offers one potential answer to that question.
But we're being positive today!
How about we get the band more involved? They are all dressed up. Their instruments are all shined up. Yet, after the Redskins score a touchdown, it is the CD track of our fight song that I hear on the loudspeaker, even if the band does play at the same time. Kevin and I were able to confirm that the microphones in the band section are not even turned on, despite what you may hear to the contrary. You know what you can't fit in your basement or mancave? A huge freaking brass band!! Let's use them at the stadium to enhance the experience. How about a "Name that Song" game where the band plays 10-15 seconds of a song and the crowd has to guess it? Or maybe you pit a few pre-selected fans to play the game on behalf of different sections or groups? What about a karaoke bit where the crowd sings along to a classic played by the band? It wouldn't take long for the right song to take off, and maybe even become a part of the stadium experience that...wait for it...fans look forward to each week! Crazy, I know. (Don't pretend like you don't sing along to A-ha at Nats Park.)
Yesterday, we suggested ways to have corporate sponsors put their name on video bits like NFL RedZone cutaways, fantasy football contests and more. How about instead of putting John Riggins in a stupid Papa John's commercial, have Papa John's sponsor a short video segment where Riggo pumps up the home fans in the way only #44 knows how to do? You could play it before big 3rd downs, late in the game when the outcome is in the balance, etc. Seems like kind of a no-brainer.
There is a direct correlation between the experience the fans are having at the game and the degree of home field advantage the Redskins enjoy. In my opinion, these are easy, quick fixes that would increase both in the right direction.
FedEx Field has something the other local venues do not have: about 40,000-60,000 more people. It is high time that the folks in charge took a few more minutes to think through the way this crowd is managed. With only a few extra minutes of thinking, an entire day would be changed for these fans.
Perhaps...PERHAPS...the Win-Loss record would also be impacted. Perhaps.
We'll keep the pressure on this issue. More than just bitching and moaning (which we do well), our goal is to positively impact the gameday experience as well as increase our home field advantage. Let's all pray that we aren't the only ones thinking about this.