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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

Live At Lambeau

Friday August 19th, 2011 - Green Bay, WI

   My friend Steve DeClark had an extra ticket for tonight’s Packers pre season game with the Arizona Cardinals and asked if I wanted to tag along. Even though the ticket cost way too much, I had to say yes. It wasn’t Steve’s fault as he didn’t set the price - the team did.

   They can pretty much charge what they want, even in a bad economy. The Packers are a drug, and the NFL dispenses 32 different varieties. Baskin-Robbins only has 31 flavors of ice cream. For those of us that are hooked on pigskin, we’ll do what it takes to get a fix.

   I don’t attend all that many games in person, but when I do it’s an experience that runs a gamut of emotions. It takes me right back to being a kid with my grandfather and actually caring about the game. I loved it. Now, my main focus is studying how it’s all marketed.

   What a money machine the NFL is. I guess I realized that as a kid, but I was a lot more naïve then. I thought the players really did play for the love of the game, and cared about who won or lost as much as I did. They may have cared a little, but it’s all about business.

   The crowd at an NFL football game is basically a giant studio audience for a TV show. I’ve been to TV tapings before, and they’ve always been free to get in. Not here. Even for a game that everyone knows beforehand doesn’t count, they’ll still rape us in our wallet.

   And we pay up without even questioning it. Plus, we pay another $20 to park our car on some stranger’s front lawn. That person could have our cars stripped and sold by the time the game is half over, but we blindly trust and hand over the dough anyway. We’re sheep.

   I’m embarrassed to admit I’m one of them, but I totally am. Once in a while I’ll feel the need to sit in the stands with the tens of thousands of other Packerholics and soak it all in for the three hours. That’s how long the buzz lasts, and then it’s over - until the next time.

   Steve is also a comedian, and we figured out that it would take us 360 shows averaging 200 people to entertain as many bodies as were at the game tonight. That’s discouraging, but also fascinating. And not only did all they have to buy a ticket, most of them had on at least one article of clothing with the familiar Packer ‘G’. I know I did, and so did Steve.

   I only had a t-shirt, and Steve wore a short sleeve polo shirt. We walked through the gift shop beforehand and saw t-shirts were $20 and polo shirts were $60. And that didn’t even count the THOUSANDS of player jerseys. The top quality replicas went for almost $300.

   That’s insane, but we all went willingly. I noticed mostly jerseys of #12 Aaron Rodgers and #52 Clay Matthews. What I didn’t see was even ONE #4 Brett Favre jersey, and that was the biggest selling one by far for many years running. The NFL is raking in the loot.

   Still, the experience was nothing but fun and even though it didn’t mean a damn thing the Packers won, it still made us giddy like little kids. I’m ashamed, but I’d do it again.

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