Friday, November 19, 2010
On October 10, 2010, I attended the NFL game between the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins. My brother-in-law (BIL), his best friend, and another friend all flew in from my hometown Sheboygan, WI, to attend the game. It was quite hilarious that when we were setting this weekend up, my wife decided that she would fly to WI to visit my dad and sister while our BIL and friends came out to Virginia -- they actually passed each other in the airports.
My BIL's best friend is the Anheuser-Busch (AB) distributor back in Sheboygan. When they learned of this impending game, he sent an email to AB asking for tickets. AB sent him 4 "dream seat" tickets, Section 31, Row 3, in the east end zone. Basically, we were field level, 3 rows up. When I learned of what he received and found out that they're only available as a season ticket purchase and cost $5k per ticket per season. I was so concerned about getting hit with an ethics violations at work that I voluntarily spoke with the Ethics Officer before they arrived. She assured me that neither the DHS or OIG has contracts with AB, why I still can't figure out, and that they were given to my BIL's best friend, who would give one to me.
It was a beautiful, early fall day in VA. Not a cloud in the sky nor rain in the forecast. I believe the temperature at game time was in the 70's. We caught the Metro to FedEx Field and it is about a mile hike to the stadium (this Marine doesn't hump anymore), and we found fellow Sheboyganites to tail gate with. If you've seen the NFL commercial where it shows the fans who travel with their teams, look for the 1966 Dodge RV that's painted like a GB helmet. That's who we tailgated with. Every Packer fan knows you got to have brats at a tailgate; and another friend from Sheboygan, Chuck Miesfeld, who owns Miesfeld's Meat Market, was there. Johnsonville Brats are made in Sheboygan, but every Sheboyganite knows Miesfeld's is the best. I remember Redskins fans walking by the RV amazed at it, and owner telling them, "Free self-paced tours, just beware there's a 50 percent chance you'll be converted."
So we get to the seats, and they're just beautiful (I guess I owe AB a shout out for them.) We watch the warm-ups and OMG, these players look like highly trained thoroughbreds; well, except for the D and O linemen who are just incredible bulks. To see Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews, and Jermichael Finley that close; they might have had 10% body fat combined.
In the 1st quarter, a pass is thrown to TE Donald Lee and he gets hit and fumbles the ball. Jermichael Finley tries to tackle whoever recovered the fumble and gets injured and is out, as we learn later for the season. Clay Matthews is living in the backfield of the Redskins and is giving Donovan McNabb hell. If you remember, the Packers scored a TD pass to Donald Lee in the 1st quarter, their only one, right in our end zone. It appears that Donald Lee sees green Packer jerseys and thinks about doing a Lambeau Leap, but changes his mind and gives high-5's instead. That was my BIL and his best friend he jumped to. We got pictures and video of it, there was even a guy from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel taking pics. What was funny is after it happened, they started getting text messages and phone calls from WI asking them, "Was that you?"
Well, as you know, in the 3rd quarter, Clay Matthews goes out with a hammy problem and there's no longer any pressure on McNabb. After leading 13-3 with over 11 minutes to play in the 4th quarter, the Skins come back, tie the game, and win it in OT. (Yeah, I'm the guy in the Packer hat and jersey right under the "Fox" logo.)
I got to say that for the most part the Skins fans were pretty good. For awhile it looked and felt like Lambeau East in the stadium, and most Skins fans didn't heckle us. Of course, after the game there were some assholes who wanted to rub their win in our face; but, overall, it was a polite host. Of course we were warned it wouldn't have been that way if the Skins were playing the Cowgirls or Eagles.
Overall, I rate my game experience as a 9. A 10 would have included a win, but we gave the game away, which some grizzled Skins fans recognized. That's a plus in my book that even die-hard fans recognize a gimme.