Thursday, September 30, 2010

My gameday experience at FedEx Field

After going to FedEx Field to watch the Redskins 2 Sundays ago, I have to say I don't know what all the fuss is about with the gameday experience at FedEx Field. Every year, Sports Illustrated ranks FedEx Field amongst the bottom in terms of gameday experience. And anecdotal evidence, from radio talk shows, seems to suggest that going to watch a game at FedEx Field is akin to sadomasochism. And even I have wondered about the sanity of the 90,000 fans that pack the stadium every Sunday. So this Sunday, I decided to try it for myself. See how bad it is. Worst case scenario, I'll have 1 more reason to hate Dan Snyder.

So first things first, knowing that I hate traffic, we decided to take the Metro. I figured that'll be better than paying $30-40 to park and sitting in traffic after the game. Unfortunately, even though the stadium is only 12 miles away from my house, it takes 1 hour by Metro on a Sunday afternoon. Can't really blame that on Snyder but will it kill Metro to run more trains on game days?

After getting to the destination metro, there was a dedicated walkway right into the stadium, with police directing traffic and guiding pedestrians. I wondered who pay for the cops' overtime. Redskins? County? Whatever, give FedEx Field an A in terms of getting to the stadium by Metro. I did notice that there were a lot of stadium employees directing parking lot traffic once we got closer to the stadium. And with kickoff 2 hours away, there was surprising not much traffic. So far, not so bad. Oh I also noticed lots of portable toilets even before getting into the parking lots (where people were tailgating). Again, I wondered who pays for those toilets.

Upon getting to the stadium proper, getting in was a breeze. A quick pat down and an electronic scan of our tickets and we were in the belly of the beast. We walked around for a bit, took pictures with Captain Morgan, saw the Redskins Cheerleaders performing on a stage. Finally, we decided to go find our seats. We were allowed to get really really close to the field to take pictures (and we took full advantage of it).

Now onto the food. Well they were seriously overpriced. Chicken tenders and fries: $10. Cup of soda: $5. But what else do you expect at a stadium. So still not too bad. Lines at the restroom? Before the game, none. At halftime, never seen such long lines for men's urinals. But again, I think that's par for the course.

Now for the negatives:
  • Sure the giant HD scoreboards are great but will it kill Snyder to replace all the smaller TVs with HD TVs? I mean come on!
  • Can you please refill the paper towels in the restrooms or install air dryers? In fact, all public restrooms should just do away with paper towels and go to air dryers. 
  • Why can't the PA guy inform us of injured players? I swear, there was no announcement of injured players throughout the game.
  • In fact, would it have killed the PA guy to "announce" the game? Instead of just announcing all the product placements. If I had to hear that $1000 is donated for every touchdown by the Redskins...