When are you going to leave?
The question posed by many in the Red Zone Saturday night perplexed me. They began at the half–with Stanford only up 17-7–and continued throughout the game. By the fourth quarter, the Red Zone had thinned considerably, and the upper levels looked like a Marlins-Reds game.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…why would you want to stay and watch a top-five team with the best quarterback in the country calling his own plays in the no-huddle offense in the first home game since classes started?
I realize that this is Stanford and everyone is incredibly busy. But the game was on a Saturday night. I seriously doubt many of the early-leavers hit the books hard afterwards.
I would almost understand people leaving early if the game was in the bag–but the score was 17-7 at the half! Maybe the third quarter Red Zone exodus can become our new Stanford football tradition, like the Ohio State band’s script, the Penn State white-out or Notre Dame’s Touchdown Jesus.
Now, I know we’re not a “football school.” I’m glad we aren’t. I’m glad our quarterback values his education more than tattoos. I’m glad his father supports him getting a diploma, not a paycheck that he might not but probably does know about. I’m glad our coach isn’t Pete Carroll (no veil there). But for God’s sake, can we please watch the team?
And it’s not just the students who suck as fans. It appears as though the good people of Palo Alto and the surrounding Valley were very recently informed of the existence of Stanford football. No word yet on whether they know it will exist beyond this season when [insert your own Luck-runs-out pun here].
So the question becomes, who should have the privilege of watching the Cardinal? My economics professor would probably urge me that whoever is willing to pay the most would receive the most enjoyment. My brother would argue that it should be whoever cares the most (by which we Philadelphians of course mean whoever is willing to wait in the snow for days for tickets to a game that our team will inevitably lose.) My friends would all say to let the students in. But the Red Zone was already expanded this offseason.
Additionally, revenue from a profitable football team can help offset costs of other varsity teams, so we need as many ticket sales as possible.
If I were Director of Athletics Bob Bowlsby, I’d have great seats to every game. And I’d also charge non-student “fans” much higher prices for this season. Or make them lock into a multi-year commitment for tickets. Or I’d pull what Kansas’ athletic department did and require a “gift pledge” for the privilege of buying tickets.
Personally, I would favor a Card literacy test for entrance to games. It would be very short:
1. Which one is not like the others? A. Plunkett B. Elway C. Rodgers D. Luck
2. What is a Toilolo and how do you use it?
3. Name one player not named Luck on the Cardinal who will (most likely) be drafted in the first round this year? (Hint: he guards Luck)
4. What’s your deal?
But I dream.
By now, you’ve probably either stopped reading this or you’re wondering what the point is.
It’s simple: Once you get through the incredibly convenient, never-failing, quick-loading Red Zone ticket process and get to the stadium on game day, please stay. I don’t particularly care whether the game is all you have to live for, you don’t know what a first down is or you fall somewhere in between. Just stay and watch. Because not that many people in the country have the opportunity to watch a team this good. Because I want to stop hearing ESPN talk about how bad Cardinal fans are. But most of all, because these players deserve to play to a packed house every single week.
Not a half empty stadium in the fourth quarter.
Billy Gallagher is somewhat of a hypocrite, because he did in fact leave the stadium at halftime of the Eagles-Niners game on Sunday. Laugh at him for not thinking Alex Smith could make Philly fans wish it was 1980 again at wmg2014 “at” Stanford.edu.