Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tips From Orchard park
As expected, there was a ton of belly aching after the football extravaganza recently in Toronto at the Rogers Centre.
The Toronto media beat up the organizers quite fiercely following the event. The criticism was about everything.
They went after the Toronto brass about the tailgating concept. They were unhappy with Ontario’s stringent alcohol laws. The VIP tailgate party left a little to be desired. No one could have predicted that it was going to be the coldest day of the winter up to that point. No one informed the caterers that corn on the cob should be served hot. It was fun to watch the Flutie Brothers Band. It would have been more fun for Argo fans to see both of them doing their football thing on the field wearing double blue about a month ago.
The game itself was a bit of a bust. The Bills could not muster enough offence to squish the fish, and the Dolphins continued their reasonably successful season, after a horrible year last year. (One win in 16 games!)
Even the GO train hit a snag on the way home, and we were held up for an hour and a half. We also discovered that tailgating is not permitted in the GO station parking lot, but that was after the fine wings and bubbly had been consumed.
Overall, the NFL experience in Toronto did not go as well as the organizers had hoped. But they now have one year under their belts, and four more to go. Hopefully, they will heed much of the whining that took place after the game, and will make adjustments.
Former Bills’ great Jim Kelly spent some time in Toronto promoting the event. He spent a few moments near some of his memorabilia at the NFL Hall of Fame exhibit in the VIP area. I overheard a couple of fans stating that they were in that area because it was the warmest spot in the tented area. Kelly went on record as a supporter of NFL football in Toronto. He also indicated that the Buffalo franchise was not the one that should go to Toronto. He is working with a group in Buffalo to keep the team in the Queen City of the Great Lakes.
It is indeed unfortunate, and probably impossible, to get all of the Buffalo fans to sit in a Bills’ area. The Bills’ fans were scattered throughout the Rogers Centre, mixed with a large number of Dolphin supporters. (Some observers thought the Miami fans may have outnumbered the Bills’ supporters.)
Bills’ fans need to work together as a unit. When the opposition begins a series of downs, home town fans are required to make a lot of noise so that the opposing quarterback cannot shout audible plays to his players. On second down, home fans are required to scream even louder to disrupt the offence. On third down, Bills’ fans are required to scream so loudly that they should not be able to converse for at least two days afterwards. Each and every time the opposition has the ball.
Unfortunately at the Rogers Centre, fans were not used to the offence-defence noise concept. It was really the same whether or not the Bills or the Dolphins had the ball---and pretty quiet at that. I do hope it will not be necessary for the authorities to post the “Noise” signs on the screen to encourage cheering. Save that silliness for other sports franchises which rely on such encouragement to get the fans into the game.
Allow the fans onto the field after the game to meet the players. It will result in the same kind of friendly banter as takes place following a CFL game. There is never really a crowd, and the superstars do not wait around for anyone.
Invite Kenny to the area outside the stadium to show the fans some of the finer arts of preparing a tailgate meal. Keep the party area closer to the stadium. It was almost half a mile to the game from the approved tailgate area.
Allow motion in the backfield. Run back missed field goals. Give up the free catch. Count a point on a missed field goal. Widen the field. Lengthen the field. Expand the end zone. Count the completion if only ONE foot hits inbounds.
Above all, enjoy the game. No matter where it is played.