It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, I mean football season. With the preseason officially ending on Thursday on a bon voyage thrashing by the Bengals, the Colts begin what should be, at a minimum, another playoff year. In a league built for competitive parity, we have been good for an awfully long time. Our stadium is excellent. It’s location is awesome. What could the Contrarian possibly complain about? Well here you go.
For a person that really wants the best possible view and information about the game, while watching the game, actually going to the game is the last thing one would want to do. The stadium experience is no longer a match for TV. Oh sure, there are exceptions when the “atmosphere” trumps the home experience (like last year’s win over Denver), but that is the rare exception any more. The sad thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s break it down.
The football viewing public wants to see a meaningful replay whenever possible. Two minute drills and no huddle offenses screw this up admittedly. However, at Lucas Oil Stadium, you have won the lottery if you EVER see a replay that matters. I watch and listen to fans in other NFL stadiums groan about where a ball gets spotted after watching a replay. Think about the last time we even had that chance here. When the stadium runs a replay, it is almost always from the worst possible angle, like they are connected to one of the visiting player’s mom’s iPhone video feed. This is intolerable. And here’s the solution: connect the enormous jumbotrons to CBS and give the video guy in the booth a permanent day off.
Connection to the League
Most fans want to know what is happening in other games. Now, we have been a little spoiled over the past 15 years in that we play an awful lot of prime time games when this situation doesn’t matter. However, at 1:00 on Sunday, we want to know what is going on everywhere. Keep a ticker running, use every timeout for league updates and replays and have an honest conversation about the true value vs. revenue of the God awful commercials that are being run in the stadium during the TV timeout. Watching those ads literally feels like punishment. Again, running CBS or Fox in this case would be an upgrade, although I would prefer you run NFL Network’s Red Zone.
Has our culture not grown out of this yet? The Colts Cheerleaders, and the whole “Sweethearts of the Horseshoe” thing is just not entertaining. It’s embarrassing. The NFL has done a good job in recent years of attracting women as fans to the game. As a result, the best looking women to gawk at on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium paid to get in there and are sitting among us. I hope someone reads this and adamantly insists that the cheerleaders and their act are vital to the show. I don’t know who that person might be, but I anxiously await to hear from them. What would happen if we showed up one Sunday and they just weren’t there? I am betting the answer to that is pretty close to “nothing.” Shut this down and let’s move on to something new, creative and worth watching. If everyone had a remote control in the stadium, who among us would leave it untouched during their bit? Again, winner goes to TV.
Plinko? Since they opened the new stadium, some sucker gets picked to play one large game of Lucas Oil Plinko each week. They should replace this with 30 seconds of artificial grass growing. I mean seriously, who initially thought, and continues to think, that 65,000 people will be amused by a one time drop of a Plinko puck? Let’s try this: make the prize worth $5000 instead of $500, make the pluck explode into giant flames if it doesn’t win, and make the contestant wear a giant Lucas Oil Can and suspenders (with nothing underneath) for his chance to play. Giggles every time.
What is the trademark food item at our stadium? Reds have Skyline chili dogs. Saints have gumbo and jambalaya. I had a great Cuban sandwich at the Dolphins stadium. Shouldn’t we have a trademark food item that makes us different than every other stadium? An Indiana tenderloin? The State Fair championship stupid food item of the year? The Trash Burger comes to mind. Come on people, this is important.
We have had a full stadium for so long, we have forgotten what it is really like to have to work at filling it. Over time, the stadium experience has honestly started to suck. I have sat everywhere in that stadium and there isn’t a seat in the building as good as my couch at home. The food is better at my house, the replays are limitless, and I haven’t even talked about the price. The Colts need to go to a Pacers game or even an Indians game and learn how to put on a show. Because when we return to a few cellar dwelling years which is inevitable in the NFL, it will be too late.
I hope we keep winning a little while longer to give the Colts more time to learn how to throw a great party when our team can’t win. Don’t misunderstand me. I love the Colts. I love them almost too much to miss the game by GOING to the game.