Long time reader Bobman chips in this review of what preseason games are like in other places.
Last weekend I went to the Vikings Seahawks game.
While the product on the field might be seen as fraudulent, it worked fine for me who is a fan of neither the Seahawks or Vikings. I went on my sister-in-laws' tickets, so it was nominally free. Okay, parking and food for me and three 10 year-old football players topped $100. But, for the real fans, it seems to have been a pretty good night at the stadium. (My sister-in-law hated missing it, but her husband was out of town and she was home solo with two young daughters she didn't feel like ditching.).
The regulars around us were in much the same state as they'd be for a reg season game--everybody in their jerseys (including one guy whose name was unaccountably "Beerslut"), took great pride in being monstrously loud on third downs and "forcing" a false start. Many were face-painted, including a kid of about seven years old who I saw sleepily heading down the steps at the end, after 10 pm. (The three boys I had played in pads for two hours in brutal sun earlier that afternoon, so were pretty spent. We were ready for bed by the end but a surprising number of regulars stayed will the last second of a 20-7 game.) I don't think you face paint your tot (the dad was painted too) or stay until 00:00 for something you consider a fraud. (Face painting's reflection of a person's mental state to be addressed in my upcoming book from the American Psychological Press, entitled "What're You, Freakin' Nuts, Picasso?")
The stadium was much fuller than I expected (80 degree Saturdays in Seattle tend to do that, I guess). I suppose my take-away from the fans was that it was almost business as usual. It surprised me in it's almost regular season atmosphere. We were yelling to each other just 2-3 seats away and I couldn't hear those kids for beans. The place was loud.
Now for the product on the field, I cannot say much. I am a Polian die-hard in most things, pre-season included, so I expect and WANT to see all the stuff that is iffy. Leave the stuff you KNOW works well on the sideline and see who works best where from the guys on the bubble. In that regard, I felt the game was interesting to watch and more or less successful. Different line and backfield packages, etc. I'd probably feel the same about a FREE Colts game. I would have been more emotionally invested in a Colts game, which might have made it better or worse--I can't say.
Had I spent $320 for the tickets PLUS the $100 for parking and food, well, I would have had a different experience, as I am pretty cheap. For loyal fans for whom the tickets represent a pretty big hit, I guess they have some choices as to how they can approach it. The one that seemed most prominent to me was that they were determined to enjoy it. They may not have been too happy with a 20-7 loss (though we outgained them on the ground and in the air, and if one 4th and goal from the 1 was a TD for the Hawks, it would have resulted in a 17-14 score--much more indicative of how close it was), but most seemed satisfied with the night's entertainment experience. A pleasant surprise. And the fact that it took us a half hour to get the one mile to the Interstate is another indicator of how packed the place was late.
But nobody ever accused Seattleites of being representative of the population in general.