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Experiencing a football game

Groningen, The...
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Experiencing a football game

As part of a 4 week trip through northeastern US this fall (leefpeeping is the primary goal of the trip) we also want to visit an American football game in the weekend of 13-14 october, which fits best in our itinerary. We've narrowed it down to three options, 1 college game and 2 NFL games:

Pittsburgh Panthers vs Louisville Cardinals

Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals

Philadelphia Eagles vs Detroit Lions

As outsiders to the game we are looking for a typical 'American' sports experience. For us that would be with cheerleaders and marching band. The fineese of the game itself is of less importance. I understand Cleveland Browns has neither of them. Philadelphia Eagles has cheerleaders, Pittsburgh Panthers has both, so we are leaning toward the latter.

What kind of experience could we expect at a college football game compared to a NFL game (besides the tickets being much cheaper at a college game LOL)?

Columbia, Maryland
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1. Re: Experiencing a football game

Based on the experience you are looking for, I recommend to go with the college game. Not only will it be cheaper, but it is a much different atmosphere than a pro game.

You won't find bands at pro games except for a select few teams that have their own. Pro football crowds can be brutal (not physically brutal except for the rare exception). The pro crowd tends to have more drinking, loud, foul mouthed, and verbally abusive fans. The pro cheeleaders are there more as eye candy and not to amp up the crowd.

The college game has the student sections (yes, there is quite a bit of drinking there), but the non student sections tend to be much calmer. A full college stadium creates more overall excitement and enthusiasm as everyone is there for the school, not just the team. The bands perform on the field at halftime and the cheerleaders are there to amp up the crowd, not just look good. That being said, if a college game is only half full, it can make for a dull experience. Not sure what kind of crowd there will be for a Pittsburgh/Louisville football game.

Edited: 20 April 2012, 15:26
Groningen, The...
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2. Re: Experiencing a football game

Thanks for the respons DavefromColMD. Does anyone know if this particular game Pittsburgh Panthers - Louisville Cardinals will attract a big crowd and how difficult it will be to obtain tickets?

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: Experiencing a football game

I know you said those are your three options...

If you are going to a college game... Check out Penn State's schedule.

One of the biggest stadiums in all of the USA.

A fun crowd with a great band.

And the tailgating is beyond belief. The October 8th game versus Northwestern is Homecoming meaning tickets might be tougher to get or a bit expensive, but no harm in looking into it.

There is no experience like a packed Beaver Stadium and the tailgating around it.

Columbia, Maryland
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4. Re: Experiencing a football game

Penn State is in State College, PA, located about in the middle of Pennsylvania.

As a Penn State alumni, I can guarantee you there will be a full crowd at any Penn State game no matter what. The atmosphere is always electric. Tickets will be hard to come by, but can be available. There is always Stub Hub or if you are adventurous, show up on game day and stroll through the parking lot amongst the tailgate parties and let folks know you are looking for tickets and you'll probably be able to find tickets available. Since you are from out of country, you may even be invited to join someone's tailgate party. Look for alumni parties and not student parties. You don't want tickets in the student section.

Bangor, Pennsylvania
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5. Re: Experiencing a football game

One thing, if you go to a Penn State game, book your hotel well in advance.

Groningen, The...
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6. Re: Experiencing a football game

Hi, thanks again for the input.

Yeah, I knew about Penn State, but since our primary goal for visiting the northeast was to do some serious leefpeeping, our travelling schedule is geared to that. So the weekend of October 8th we'll be in New Hampshire/Vermont. The Penn State schedule mentions 'open date' for the weekend we're looking for a football game. Any chance a Penn State home game can still be scheduled or is it just a weekend the team won't play?

Bangor, Pennsylvania
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7. Re: Experiencing a football game

The schedule was fixed years ago, so 'OPEN DATE" means there will be no game.

Cleveland
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8. Re: Experiencing a football game

Roelgoes,

If you want a perspective on the Pittsburgh/Louisville game, I suggest you post on the Pittsburgh forum. A lot of posters on that forum don't read the Pennsylvania forum, which is a more bipolar state (East -- Philadelphia vs. West -- Pittsburgh) than many of the states on whose forums you've been posting.

BTW, many universities now ban drinking in their stadiums. E.g., Ohio State. American universities have really cracked down on student drinking and other substance abuse. Drinking at tailgating parties also often is banned, but many alums play games to get around the ban. You definitely don't want to be caught intoxicated on most American university campuses in 2012, especially on a game day.

Re: Cleveland. If you want to experience exuberant fans, consider the renown Cleveland Dawg Pound, although it's not what it used to be....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawg_Pound

Pro games definitely have more alcohol-infused tailgating and partying than the college game.

Good planning!

Columbia, Maryland
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9. Re: Experiencing a football game

I've been doing some research for you on University of Pittsburgh football. They play their games off campus in Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburg Steelers - capacity 62, 000.

They have averaged around 50, 000 per game.

In 2010 when Louisville played U of Pitt in Pittsburgh, the attendance was 48, 500.

The downside - the games are not on campus, so you lose that aspect of the atmosphere.

The upside - there is still tailgating in the parking lots around the stadium. There will be seats avaiable. The band will play on the field at halftime (barring a downpiur), the cheerleaders will cheer (mainly in front of the student sections).

Bottom line - I would recommend you go to the Pitt game. You will get most of what you want to experience and it will be an easy ticket - you will be able to walk up and buy tickets at the gate.

In regards to drinking in the staduim at college games - yes, no alcohol is SOLD in the stadium during college games, however, the students tend to do their drinking prior to the game and use creative ways to sneak alcohol into the game. One of the most creative - injecting vodka into oranges. Peel and have a screwdriver!

Groningen, The...
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10. Re: Experiencing a football game

TE, thanks for the tip, but I see DaveformColMD has done some groundwork for me already. Very much appreciated. All things considered I think the Panthers game is our best (and most affordable) bet. Sorry TE, I know how keen you are to get people to see your hometown Cleveland.... :-)