was enough not to return with children again. From the parking lots to the causeways to the stands and back, the most inappropriate, vulgar, and disgusting fans I've run into in a football stadium environment.
Full contact fandom - what it's like to go to a football game in Ohio
Let me start this by stating I was born and raised in Michigan, graduated from U of M in 1981 and have lived in Northern Ohio since 1987. In the 25 years here I have become a Cleveland sports fan and recently (thanks to my wife's father giving us his PSL as a wedding gift) became a Browns season ticket holder. Because he first got his tickets in 1954 these are fantastic seats - 3rd deck but row 1 (on the rail) and on the 50 yard line. The Browns suck but I love football so I've enjoyed going to the games and taking my family with me.
This past Sunday my wife and I took our 8 year old son to the game and for the first quarter things were pretty uneventful. The Browns were playing relatively well (for the Browns) and everyone in our section seemed pretty happy. I must add here that because of the quality of these seats everyone around us are season ticket holders and most attend every game. You get to know your neighbors so to speak. But with about 10 minutes to go in the second quarter all Hell broke loose It started with smell of cigarette smoke flowing down upon us and went quickly downhill from there.
For those of you who've been to my wife's website (inshapemom.com) you know she is more than a bit of a health nut so the smell of cigarette smoke drives her insane. And when you couple that personal bias with our 8 year's presence and add in big "no smoking" signs everywhere you get her yelling out "please put out your cigarette - no smoking" loudly. Twice. Now obviously this was a mistake - what should have happened was a simple non-confrontational walk to an usher to inform them of the offense but this didn't happen. So after the second "No smoking" yell from my wife "F-You" was the response. Here is where I made my first tactical error - I turned and looked in the direction of the yell.
At that point I made eye contact with the cause of the smoke and the F-You - two guys in their late 50's about 6 rows up and on the isle. Both started yelling F-You at me now but I wasn't too worried as I'm 6'4", about 245 and work out daily. These guys combined were about my size, very drunk and looked like they had not seen a gym in 40 years. In the words of Mark Dantonio - where's the threat?. I sat back down and went back to watching the game.
With about about 4 minutes to go in the half I made my second tactical error - I went to the bathroom. Upon returning to my section I had to wait for a second to get back into my row (something was happening on the field) when all of sudden one of the guys came running down the steps and started screaming F-You about an inch off my face. Once the shock of what was happening wore off I realized that if I hit this guy I would: 1 - get arrested, 2- spend the night in jail, 3 - probably get sued so I stood my ground and just kept telling him to sit back down. Meanwhile my wife is frantically gesturing to the female security guard one row over who is simply watching all this unfold and not moving an inch. I must add that I'm NOT wearing any Michigan gear I've got all my Browns stuff on so that wasn't causing any provocation.
Anyways after a minute or so of this back and forth exchange between me and drunk angry guy I see his friend stand up and start moving down the steps towards me. At this point I've got a decision to make cause it sure seems like I'm going to be fighting both of them at once in about five seconds. Security guard still hasn't budged and screaming angry guy seems to be getting madder. I notice that the guy coming down the steps is picking up speed and I as I watch him literally start to run down the steps I realize he has lost control and isn't going to stop. I move to my right and he passes both me and his angry friend, almost at full speed, and slams into the back of the head of the guy sitting at the end of our row (sort of a reverse tea bag) at which point he does a slow-motion cartwheel over the rail and onto the mezzanine seats about 10 feet below us. He lands on top of a group of fans who all start yelling obviously and that excitement finally gets the security guard to move. The guy screaming at me sees his friend, forgets about me and runs over to see if his even more drunken buddy is ok. Security arrives, escorts both out of the stadium and I return to my seat hoping my 8 year old somehow missed all this while watching the game.
Can't wait for Sunday against the Redskins. This week I'm taking my 26 year old son instead of the 8 year old.
Edit: If you scroll down a bit you can see a picture of where all magic happened. I just found it on my phone and posted it
I'm not sure if you're saying you took your children to an OSU game or a Browns/Bengals game. I'm assuming an OSU game...
One time I was going to an airport to rent a car when I saw a guy with his family getting one since he flew in for the OSU game vs. Miami (OH). We talked for a bit but one of the things he said that was good advice was that he rather take his family to games like this versus when we play competition that will make the fan base go crazy (i.e. Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan, good OOC opponent). I think as a fan that goes to both home and away games, its our responsibility to exercise judgement to know the type of fanbase one is taking their children to and what is likely to occur.
Edit: I'm sure you can apply this to other sports as well (i.e. Red Wings vs. Predators road game).
Although I hate Ohio fans (and having experienced a Michigan game in Columbus there is an extra layer to my hatred), I have to say your story would be just as applicable to Ford Field.
Or just about any other sporting stadium in the world.
But in 40 years of Michigan games I've seen it very rarely at M stadium. Comerica is very family friendly as was Tiger Stadium outside the bleachers. Can't say it doesn't happen in these places, but it seems rare.
On the other hand you can see it every weekend at Ford or JLA (when there's hockey).
Michigan Stadium doesn't simultaneously operate 70 fully-stocked bars around the stadium, and doesn't have people carrying beers to your seats.
Perhaps that's a distinction?
cost of the tix, demographics of the fan base, any number of things go into the likelyhood of the event the OP described happening in a given venue. I jsut pointed out that it's a hell of lot more likely in some than others.
I have no experience with what happens at Raider games, when the Giants and Dodgers play, or at English soccer games, but I would reiterate the worst demographics I've seen are when 10,000 students are seated beside 80,000 truck drivers in Columbus.
Back in the early 90s, UM played at BC for a night game. As I lived in the Boston area at the time I went, and knowing how obnoxious most Boston fans are, ALL their teams mind you, I decided to keep a low profile and not drink at all. I was mid 20s at this point in my life, so that was a tough choice to make.
I got a lot of verbal grief from the BC fans around me, but the capper was after one particularly nice UM play, I simply applauded. Not loudly, not softly, not yelling, just....applauding. Within a few seconds, I got the sensation of a beer can hitting the back of my head. And I might add, it was about 3/4 full at the time.
Stay classy, Boston.
You got to see Desmond's breaking out party for your grief in person.
First, kudos to the other Giants fan for intervening. Part of why I wasn't really involved in the fight I mentioned below is my friend (whos girlfriend was spat on) hit the spitter once, he went down, and his friends kept him down. When security rushed over they made sure that they took their friend out, and totally de-escalated the situation. Had they been able to control him before he spat, no fight at all. But they were able to shut it down quickly. (Which was good, it could have turned into about a 40 person fight quickly).
Also, for the OP, probably the closest I've been to a real fight was my girlfriend's fault, involving me throwing someone off her porch during the Greenwood Block Party, him hanging out within view of the porch, yelling at me, and her not ignoring him like I did. I finally got her to ignore him, and he left, but until someone has been in escalating situations like that, they may not know how to react. I agree with other fans, security needs to intervene. If they wont, get a manager or call/text the hotline. Very few positive things come out of direct confrontation.
Very judo-esque. Use the force generated by your opponent to defeat him.
We are practically twins expect he's 7 years older than me and I'm much more handsome.
Thanks for writing up and posting this story. I've been offered tickets to Bears games, but hearing a scenario like this doesn't make me want to go. I've been in a situation where I wrongly and mistakenly touched a teenage boy on the arm (as I came upon him riffling through pockets of my shorts in a locker room, when I came back from the pool.) I could have been charged with a felony, a mistake I'll never make again. Needless to say, in this litigious culture and society, direct confrontation has become very challenging. Yes, it would have been best to simply take a discreet walk to the security guards, and request that they have the offenders put out the cigarettes.
However, I definitely don't get the non-involvement of the guards when the situation was escalating. It sounds like you handled this in the best way possible.
Talking about sons, it was challenging explaining to my boy why his football coach was suspended for yelling at the ref and going on the field regarding a missed call. It just doesn't reflect well to lose your temper and go postal on anyone at any time.
And I'm glad that the fan who fell off a balcony is OK. But I agree with Shoe that there is a lot of problematic drinking at sporting events.
I was pseudo involved (it was over very quickly) in a fight in the student section of the Big House when another Michigan fan spat on the girlfriend of one of the (27) guys I had tickets with. I've had a few other almost-fights and in every single one alcohol played a big role. Personally, I've never really enjoyed going to sporting events tanked. I want to watch and enjoy the game. I'll (and I have) pregame some, but never to the point where I wasn't there to watch the sport. (Not to say that I won't get drunk, I do. But for me, getting really drunk and going to sporting events are mutually exclusive. If I'm spending that much on a ticket, I'm not going spend half the game walking back and forth to the bathroom)
I don't know what the solution is, besides cutting people off or bolstering security, both of which cost money (lower beer sales, or higher security bills). But the extreme happened last night where 2 fans were shot.
It's definitely a problem.
Cutting beer off may cost money but when die-hard sports fans start deciding they don't want their kids to experience the kind of idiocy that seems to be on the rise at pro football games you are about to lose a lot more money.
My Dad took me to Lions games for years, and we saw some people behave very badly (just as likely to be opposing fans as home fans), but he used it as a teaching tool. We were never in danger of actually getting caught up in it, though.
I agree with you there, but the answer is already in play. "Family Friendly Sections" of the stadium. Wrigley Field has this now. There are no beer vendors in the area, and it's a marketed section of the stadium for families to use. Down the left field line into the corner, from about the bullpen to the bleachers.
I think more stadiums will do this in the future.
Lots of baseball parks have such sections and, while in worse than average seats, I think they work well there. Baseball has far more seat availability and the "feel" of the game is different. And for virtually any team an interested Dad or Mom can find a game that's easy to get a family ticket for.
It's not quite so easy for football, which has a small schedule and a more intense spectator experience. An NFL team would only find a family section useful if that section were otherwise not selling well. Sellouts are less frequent than they used to be, but games are still popular enough that few teams would ever want to sacrifice a section for a group of people that won't buy either season tickets or beer.
And as a consequence children won't learn to love football in person. And in 10-20 years that may be a serious problem for the NFL.
First, I enjoy drinking a few before the game as much as anyone, but the amount of alcohol consumed by NFL fans is a problem.
My mother-in-law is a huge Redskins fan (I sadly, yet proudly, am a Lions fan). Last year, I my wife and I bought her two tickets to a game at FedEx on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, I drew the short straw and had to go to the game. There were drunken idiots all around us who were drunk when they arrived and proceeded to drink beer after beer after beer and were also spilling it everywhere (and these were not the cheapest seats). Eventually the two morons in front of us got in a shouting match with two morons behind us and it nearly became a racially charged drunken brawl right next to my mother-in-law (who is a small woman in her 60s).
We eventually just moved seats because the place was empty, but security was nearby and did absolutely nothing to calm the tensions between these idiots. If I remember correctly, eventually another fan intervened and talked both sides down.
My brother has stopped going to Lions game at Ford Field because he says there always are drunken idiots ruining the game for him and his son.
I have been to hundreds of UofM games, and just don't see the level of drunken stupidity and combativeness that I have seen at NFL games. And it seems whenever there is a drunken idiot at Michigan Stadium, the ushers and AAPD seem to descend pretty quickly to take care of the situation.
The NFL is not going to cut beer sales, but they need to police their stadiums better.
I've lived in NE Ohio all of my life outside of my years at OSU and have never been to a Browns game (not a NFL fan) but your story does not come to a shock to me base on others I've heard. I know this isn't helping the cause any more or less but your story reminds me of the 8 year old Jets fan that got tackled. However, fans attacking/provoking fans is new.
OP. NO /s. On a side note, it seems that security for the Browns, and therefore the Browns themselves, could find them in a litigous situation. If the secutity guard did nothing as you say and the situation was allowed to escalate to where a guy fell over a guard rail on to fans below, it wouldn't be a stretch for someone to see some culpability there amirite?
Maybe. But remember what was happening. The guy who tumbled over the railing was coming down to assist his buddy (presumably in fighting me) when the combination of steep steps + beer - hand to eye coordination = hitting the rail hard and flipping over the top. I doubt they would have much of a case given that I didnt start anything physical so I don't what their damages would be.
Take a look at this picture. I took it of my wife and son before kickoff and before all hell broke loose - you can see the rail he ultimately went over and how far down it was. You can also see how steep those steps are he was coming down. You can also see an empty area in front of the glass barrier where security is SUPPOSE to be standing. He bounced off of and over the guy to the immediate right of the glass.
I've always wondered about that issue. I alomst fell down the stairs at Riverfront in Cincinnatti when I was a kid. I would have gone right over.
I only remember one incident growing up as a kid. A guy fell into the netting at Yankee. In the past year alone there have been incidents of falling at the Ballpark in Arlington, the Georgia Bulldogs game, Yankee Stadium, and your story. In each case, alcohol was involved.
I'm glad the guy didn't die. To bad this fall wasn't on video. He deserves to be shamed publicly for a while for being an idiot.
I've also abandoned the idea of being able to have an enjoyable time with my son at Ford Field. We have season tickets to UM football and basketball...and we go to quite a few Pistons/Tigers/Red Wings games.
While I've certainly seen unruly behavior at each of the other venues, the crowd at Ford Field is - by far - the most consistently obnoxious.
I don't mind the atmosphere at Ford Field so much if I'm just with my buddies, but it's so reliably unruly that I'm not sure why anyone would take their kids to a Lions game. I've watched games in suites and from the club seats, and it's still pretty bad even in these higher-rent areas of Ford Field.
was the "So?" reaction mentioned a few posts above. I've been drinking to excess at many sports venues, and got rowdy, but when someone says to me to "watch your language" when kids are around, then guess what? I watched my language! Nowadays I get the feeling that people are less concerned about playing nice with perfect strangers, thinking that the stadium is their own personal playground.
Growing up in Ohio when the Brown's had the original DawgPound nothing surprises me about their fans.
But the ultimate fan expereince is to attend a minor league hockey game in Texas on 50 cent beer night. I have been involved in a fight between the opposing players and the fans when they knocked down the glass between us at the end of the game when a water bottle/beer can throwing fight ensued. But best of all was the night we were walking out after the game and one drunk dumbass took on two drunk dumbasses. It started in the second period with jawing during the game. The two shoved the one as they were walking out. The one called the two a bunch of redneck bitches. They jawed back and forth until the one told his wife/girlfriend/whatever "Baaaaby, hold my glasses". At which point the two "redneck bitches" bum rushed him and started beating the crap out of him. The whole time his boy was yelling "don't beat my daaaaddy". Then the wives/girlfriends/whatever got into it and went to the ground. After a minute or so, a couple of us broke it up. No, I did not go to the women, I pulled the guys apart. God Bless Texas!!!
I went to the OSU game this year and had zero problems. Everyone, except one dude, was friendly. This was in an entirely OSU section of the stadium. Also, I was wearing Michigan gear and being very open about it. The tailgating wasn't bad either.
I feel like your title is trying to make a derogatory point about Ohio. I don't see where "Ohio" works in here. You encountered some really drunk assholes. Those are at every NFL stadium.
True, but I feel like every time an obnoxious football fan story comes up its about Browns fans. 60% of the time its every time. I find that very curious. (But your point about the title is true.)
Maybe you're reading provincial accounts. I went to virtually every New York Giants home game for a 12 year period, and I can assure you, things like this happen. My experience at the Vet, RFK, and Soldier Fields don't lead me to believe they're much different.
I've only been to a handful (3) NFL games so I actually have no idea what I'm talking about. Serving alcohol at sporting events where testosterone is flowing can never be a good thing. And I sure as hell won't be taking my little one anytime soon (unless its to a Panthers game where no one goes anyway. LOL.)
I have not been to every NFL stadium so I can only base my experiences on the stadium I do attend and that is here in Cleveland, Ohio hence my thread title.
But let's be honest here Chitown. If my thread title was "I've discovered the cure for cancer and I'm on my way to the CDC to help save humanity" your response would probably be "what took you so long?"
Well, you shouldn't be holding out on that shit.
My impression is that the frequency with which opposing fans have cups of urine poured on them at the Shoe is much greater than it is most places. I've never been to a game in Philly, NYC, Oakland, and a number of other places, though, so I don't know...A tangential thought: The best fans I've been around are KC Chiefs fans, who (at least in the '90s) were really loud but not rude to opposing fans.
Going to a Buckeyes game is like going to a bad professional game. And they don't even serve in the stadium. You're not comparing Ohio to Michigan or USC or Texas...you're comparing to the Raiders fans, or Eagles fans, etc. THAT'S the difference.
I've been to MSU. They're assholes. They're obnoxious. But I've never felt physically threatened. At OSU I've seen things far beyond 6 year old girls giving you the finger and old ladies mooning you. People throwing bottles and stuff at buses and cars. Had a wasted guy run up to me and my sister in law and get in my face and grab me by my coat and tell me he was going to shit in it....till I cocked back to knock him out and he flinched backed the f up. Having to walk on the edge of the lot just to avoid people. Danger in the stands from students.
It can happen anywhere, sure. One time I remember some probably not students anywhere in the student section who tried to put out a cigarette on a guy when they got in a fight and had to have him arm put in an uncomfortable position. But I've been to what, hundreds of games? And I can't think of very many of those. At a pro or Ohio State game you can't go without having stories like that.
Though I can say, to their credit, it sounds like from people who have gone on recent trips they've cleaned up the atmosphere down there quite a bit, which is a good thing.
I agree with you. In fact, if you read my post you'll see I say the first tactical error was my wife yelling out "stop smoking" and NOT getting an usher. But to be clear - short of her yelling that there was no direct confrontation on these guys. I was coming back from taking a leak and got basically ambushed in the isle. My "error" was simply making eye contact - that was what I did to provoke them.
Why is it that drinking makes some men laugh a lot and for others it makes them angry and violent. If drinking makes you angry and violent than you should join AA.
And then there is this explanation:
"After male fruit flies are spurned by females not interested in mating, they drink twice as much alcohol as those who just had sex with a receptive female. They may compensate by drinking to normalize their sort of reward system.
In humans and fruit flies, rejection reduced the levels of neuropeptide F, and mating increased the levels. And we were able to show that reducing the levels of neuropeptide F leads to enhanced drinking. The converse, elevating levels of NPF, led to reduced drinking.”
So they have determined that if your getting laid you're less likely to become an alcoholic and if not your more likely.
MGrowOld, I guess we know who’s been getting some between you and your opponents.
My wife collaborates with the CDC to administer a large scale survey to determine what influences the decision to begin smoking. She is second author on recent research that showed a large drop in heart attack admission at the local hospital after a smoking ban went into effect; work that has been replicated internationally. She now studies third hand smoke (the brown grimy residue let on surfaces after people smoke). (Spoiler alert) It, too, is harmful.
As a result I have had many similar confrontations. Unfortunately, I am 5' 10", 200 pounds, and in the worst shape of my life. You couldn't have handled the situation much better. Keep not fighting the good fight and know you are not alone.
Sound like a few games I've been to at the Joe to watch the Wings in the 1980's. Fights on the ice and in the stands at the same time!
Yea if you are going to get drunk just know how to handle yourself.
Drunk people that aren't having a good time are just brutal.
My family and I were at the Frozen Diamond hockey game at Cleveland Indians Stadium this past January (Michigan a 4-1 winner over tO$U) when some young 20's tO$U fans above us start throwing snowballs at the Michigan fans, two 40's women) below us.
So I turn and stare - they won't look my way. I turn back around and within a few minutes they are throwing snowballs at me. I turn around and they won't make eye contact. Again the snowballs start. I stand up and turn around - there are about 4 or 5 of them - and the yelling match starts.
Eventually they start moving over to the asile, I assume to visit me. Sure enough four of them are coming my way. I'm 58 years ond and workout daily, but the odds are not good. After an extended shouting match, they back down and leave. I see why - there are about 5 or 6 Michigan guys coming out of the stands standing behind me and coming down the asile towards me. We're all older, but the odds are with me. Not one Michigan guy says a word to them, but most ask me what happened.
5 minutes later one of our guys sends the beer vendor down with a free beer.
The Team. The Team. The Team.
That's a great story. Unfortunately in my situation we were both wearing Browns gear. I was on HIS team (so to speak). He wanted to fight cause my wife told him to put out his cigerette and I made eye contact with him. Nothing more.
I commend you on keeping your cool with an angry drunk yelling at you face-to-face. That is a no-win situation, especially when your family is around. I personally can't imagine taking the family to a football game. I have never been to a pro game, but every college game I've been to there has been multiple incidents close by and it's just not worth the risk. I never go to a game unless I am a) with the home crowd or b) with someone that is with the home crowd and knows the ropes so to speak. I've always only gone with male buddies in our 20's & 30's...never with women, the elderly, or children. I just don't trust other people. I hope that your wife has learned the lesson of how bad of a situation her comment put you into. Her comment really forced you to have to deal with the consequences of her behavior. I totally understand her frustration, I'm sure she'd agree it wasn't worth it.
My aunt is a season ticket holder for the Colts since they arrived in Indy. Her group often travels to games if not west of the rockies. The one place her group will no longer go is Cleveland. Every time their group goes there is at least one major altercation. What is interesting is the complete lack of intervention by the security guards. Her description was very similiar in that security was either not interested or would blame them if a member of the group reported a problem. They will travel anywhere else without too much issue as they are mostly older middle aged ladies who enjoy watching football.
Been to many Browns games. Imagine Ohio fans, just more drunk.
I was last at the M/Ohio game in 2009 and happened to bump into the husbands of my wife's college friends a couple rows in front of us. Both native cooler poopers and buckeye fanatics, they were excited to make thier first trip to the Big House, but also disappointed that during the walk into the stadium they couldn't get any M fans to fight with them. Apparently from their experience in Columbus, they expect to see fights and pissing matches and were surprised that it wasn't the same in Ann Arbor. They asked me if maybe it was because we hadn't won in a while and didn't think we had a right to "puff up our chests" anymore. I assured them that no, we are a proud bunch and do love our team, but we also know how to be civilized and understand that it's a f---ing game, after all. They said that they didn't feel like they were doing their part to support the team if they weren't doing what they could to get the opposing fans pissed off. I asked them how far they were willing to take it, and they said anything short of throwing a punch, unless the other guy swung first. Granted, these two are your prototypical meathead dicks, but I feel like they were honest and it just kinda gave me little peek inside a buckeye gameday frame of mind. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be seeing a game the 'the shoe' anytime soon.