As you may have heard, I spent this Sunday night watching the Packers not from the couch, but from Section 112 of the HHH Metrodome, taking in the Packers' last trip to the stadium in person. It was quite an experience, and I'll hopefully relay most of what I saw throughout the next couple days. General impressions: the Metrodome is advertised as a dump, and a dump it is.
The Metrodome is advertised as being loud, and loud it is.
The Vikings are advertised as being bad, and bad they are.
Now that the general thoughts are out of the way, here's a more in depth rundown with exclusive pictures courtesy of my trusty point-and-shoot.
We got our first view of the Metrodome from a couple blocks over, and it was a little underwhelming. I did my collegiate studies in Minnesota, so I'd seen the stadium plenty of times before, but this was the first time I'd seen it as a fan, and I was a little disappointed that I didn't get the same rush that I usually get as I head into Lambeau Field.
That lack of a rush may have had something to do with the atmosphere outside the stadium. While Lambeau is surrounded by something of an impromptu mini-festival, the streets around the Metrodome were littered with characters like this guy, who was selling a shirt emblazoned with the words "MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, BITCH." Classy. There was lots of this.
This, however, made me laugh.
We finally got through the crowds and to our seats about a 40 minutes before kickoff. The sight lines were pretty great in the stadium. Not a lot of obstructed views, and certainly nothing to complain about where we were sitting in the lower bowl.
Whenever I visit a stadium, I like to take a few minutes and see the sights. I like to see what the stadium is like and what the people are doing and just see what's going on, but unfortunately that's not even remotely a possibility at the Metrodome. As you can see, the corridors are just too narrow and too packed with people to have any chance of getting around. This is one of the main reasons people complain about the 'Dome being a dump.
So instead of walking around the stadium, we decided to head down to the field level and get a look at what the players were doing during warm-ups. They don't do a whole lot late in pre-game stuff, but we did get a good look at what the Vikings looked like in their ridiculous purple-over-purple costumes. The answer, of course, is that they looked ridiculous.
I also noticed something sort of cool on one of NBC's field-level cameras: the camera operator's cheat sheet! I love all the neat little details about what he was looking at, like the row of head shots of players he was going to be tracking. And also at the bottom left, you can see the all-important kicker/punter designations, which come in really handy during kicking plays, obviously. SO COOL.
Like fans of the Packers, Vikings fans do a great job of dressing up for game day. This young man chose to dress up as everybody's favorite Zabrak Sith Lord, Darth Maul, except purple. When I asked if I could snap his picture he said "a picture of me or with me?" I was afraid to be near him, so this picture had to suffice.
Of course, there were jerseys aplenty as well, but a surprising amount of them were autographed. This puzzles me. I am a jersey collector, but none of them are autographed. If any of them were, though, I can assure you that none of them would ever leave the house.
The Packers didn't escape the autographed jersey bad idea disease, unfortunately.
And while this wasn't an autographed jersey, I couldn't pass up including it in the post. Clearly, his favorite player comes in a fancy bottle with its own bag.
Of course, the Packers came away with a win, which was awesome, and Gary (the fellow who got me the ticket) and I had to commemorate the experience with what I'm sure will be our Christmas card picture or something. What a fun night!
Here are some more pictures for your enjoyment. We'll have more about the Metrodome and my visit there in tomorrow's podcast.