In the bag for the NFL
Full disclosure: I’ve not attended many NFL games. I’ve been to maybe three Bears games at the old Soldier Field. (Not Soldiers!!!!!) It was pretty much a horrible experience. You had to walk for miles. And the stadium was built like in the 1920s, so it was low to the ground and went back instead of up. So if you didn’t have great seats, it felt like you were a half-mile from the action on the field. No video scoreboard. You really had to bring a radio to know what was going on.
That’s for real, ladies and gents. And in the Loop, a few blocks away, it was clear and sunny. People at that game said you could hear various sections cheering as players zipped by them. Other than that, nobody knew what was going on for much of the game, which was never halted.
Besides that, I’ve been to an Arizona Cardinals game in old Sun Devil Stadium. The only thing I remember was some pre-game filming of a guy in a Cardinals uniform lying down in the end zone. The crowd was told to remain silent. Then he got up and started doing gyrations while they told the crowd to cheer. Came to find out later that it was Cuba Gooding Jr. doing a scene for Jerry Maguire.
The last NFL game I attended was a Bengals-Saints game at the Superdome. One of my best friends from high school was doing play-by-play for Bengals’ radio broadcasts and he set me up with tickets. Once again, I was in the nose bleeds and the game was more like a rumor. At least we had video screens with replays there.
So I’ll admit that I’ve never had really good seats to an NFL game in a nice stadium. Still, let’s face it. NFL games are much better to watch at home, where you can see all the replays, hear the commentary, see what’s going on elsewhere, enjoy some lovely game day snacks, and not sit in traffic for two hours on your way home. Pittsburgh seems a bit different. There’s ample parking a short walk from the stadium, and a college-like atmosphere, from tailgating to the towels to “Renegade.” But in my almost eight years in Pittsburgh, I’ve never been to a Stiller game, so I can’t really speak to that.
But I was rather shocked to hear of the rather draconian bag policy the NFL is instituting this year. No fanny packs, which really should be a rule everywhere and at all times. I have no problems with that. But ladies…. no purses. What the wha!?!?!?!? That’s right, ladies. You have two choices in accessories for your next Steeler game. One is a clutch purse that will fit in your hand…
Or you can swallow your pride and carry all your lady belongings for all the world to see in vinyl or PVC bags that do not exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12″…
The league says this is “to improve public safety.” I may have missed it, but has there been a rash of incidents in which people were killed or maimed at NFL games because of items hidden in purses? There must have been, because how else would this “improve” public safety? Improve on what?
Another line of reasoning from the league is an effort to get people into the stadium faster by speeding up bag checks, They’d rather have people buying expensive stadium beer than the cheap ones they consume in the parking lot.
Of course, the cynical part of me thinks they also want to sell a crapload of those plastic bags with team logos on them. Imagine the fulfillment company that inked that deal with the NFL. Cha-ching!
I’ve also been rather surprised that there hasn’t been an explosion of outrage about this. Oh, I’ve seen a couple of articles about it. But so far, no huge backlash. Are most fans still unaware? Or are they willing to do about anything to avoid that Heinz Field terrorism disaster we had during the Batman movie? Perhaps this is a small price to pay to ensure that something like that never happens again. Never forget.