Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

T-U 2

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

T-U 2

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits



The violence at a preseason game between the 49ers and Raiders last week underscores, in a brutal way, a belief that I've had that the NFL has gone overboard in emphasizing the at-home experience vs. attending a game.

How often have you heard a friend say that the best seat in the house is your couch? The astronomical NFL TV contracts have resulted in very good products at home or in a sports bar, with replays and splashy graphics. High-def and high-tech TVs, DVRs and other electronic baubles embellish the games even more.

But actually going to a game? Fans spend hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, on tickets. Parking is costly. Traffic is often a nightmare in every NFL city. Unless your team plays in a dome, the weather in the South is too hot early in the season and the weather in the North and Midwest is too cold late in the season.

And you could feed a family of four at a fancy steakhouse for less than you could at a concession stand.

As we learned last week with the frightening videos from San Francisco, your personal safety also could be at stake. Nothing to that extent has been reported at Jaguars games but many fans tell me of drunken fans spilling drinks, getting surly with other fans and stadium workers and cursing enough to make a sailor turn red.

Why in the world would you want to subject your family to that? And why won't teams imploring the public to buy tickets address these issues adequately? They haven't. If they think they have, they're wrong. I would invite any NFL owner to get out of their luxury box and sit in an end-zone section of a stadium during one of their games and witness this behavior for themselves.

Nothing beats the thrill of seeing a game in person, but not at the expense of a huge chunk of the average family's disposable income - or their safety.


The baseball world was stunned late Wednesday with the news that former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan was found dead at his home in Maryland. …

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