I went to my first NFL game when Harry Truman was president. I recently went to my final one.
It is surely not the greatest generation’s NFL anymore. The game seemed almost an afterthought to the afternoon.
Between the dancing girls and the huge screens updating Fantasy Football scores, or cell phones in everybody’s hands, to interminable time-outs for television commercials, to a screaming Jumbotron urging the crowd to yell their collective heads off, or kiss the person next to them, the screen not showing action on the field until a nano-second before a snap, one of vintage age wears down quickly.
When last I went to a game here, I sat in a luxurious club seat, delivered thereto by elevator, attended to by courteous servers, oblivious to the outside elements, the closest thing to my man cave at home.
It felt good to be the king.
The Buccaneers versus the Giants. There is a very eerie dynamic present when the visiting team is from up North, Florida being the playground for so many fans from there. Some Bucs season ticket holders sell their tickets at twice their price for a few games to those visitors and therefore get to see the remaining five home games for free. This year, the Jets and Patriots will also visit so equal amounts of home and away fans will continue.
It is a dynamic present when the Yankees and Red Sox come to play the Rays as well.
I had never been in a stadium where cheers rang out on every play because there really was no home team as evidenced by equal seas of blue and red.
The weather was horrible, scorchingly hot up until game time and then immediately thereafter, a thunderstorm made the field all but invisible for fifteen minutes.
All those ingredients could have produced a calamitous afternoon, but did not. Relations between conflicting fans sitting together produced no incidents or arguments.
The attitude of the attendants from parking to entering to ushering to police couldn’t have been better. Everybody had fun.
Considering the weather, the game was well played, the Bucs continuing to keep the Giants winless when their kicker finally made a field goal at the gun after having missed three previously.
The Giants, after numerous injuries to wide receivers, have serious problems. After 14 seasons, it is time to begin grooming someone to take over for Eli Manning in a year or two. It’s been a great run for him and the question will always remain as to who was better, he or Peyton.
It was interesting to note the sellout crowd was the first since the Giants were in town in November of 2015. Two factors contribute to that. First, the Bucs are a much improved team and secondly, that Northern weather really drives fans down here to the Sunshine State.
I will leave game attendance to others as I return to in-home viewing from my Lazy Boy with attendant zero noise.