Friday, January 25, 2008

How do you keep warm during those cold weather games?

December 27, 2007: Jennifer from Atlanta, GA
I saw pictures of you at the Blizzard Bowl in Cleveland this year.
What do you wear to keep yourself warm during those cold weather games? Do those handwarmers really work?

I certainly was at the Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns game that they’re calling the 2007 Blizzard Bowl. That was one of the coldest games I’ve ever attended and definitely the snowiest. I like to keep warm using layers, but the most important parts to keep warm are your hands and feet. I usually wear a pair of thermal socks and a couple pairs of wool socks then stuff my feet into a pair of rubber boots. For the Blizzard Bowl I wore Long Johns and jeans and about four sweaters under my winter coat. I always like to bring an extra wool hat and pair of gloves so when the first pair gets wet I can swap ‘em. I do like using the Handwarmers that you can buy at most stores, but for really cold weather I recommend using two or three inside each glove. These Handwarmers are usually air activated and produce heat for 7 – 10 hours. The best thing I found to keep warm is a hunter’s seat cushion that clips around my waist to keep me insulated from the cold and wet bench seats … definitely a must! When in doubt raid the hunting section of your nearest sporting good stores. Those Hunters know how to keep warm in the cold!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Can you tell me about Gillette Stadium?

January 11, 2008: Alison from Jacksonville, FL
Hey!! Told ya about them Jags! BUT,it's not too late, you can jump on the bandwagon now! However for Saturday night, you need to wear your Bills shirt as they won the last time you wore it! hehehehe!!!
My husband and I are going to Foxboro tomorrow night for the game … are you going? Have you been to that stadium? Can you give me any information about it, where to park, if the people are gonna be ok, (all I've packed is Jaguar stuff!)!! etc etc... We are staying at the Hilton by the Boston Airport … looks like it's only a 30 min drive to the stadium.

Hey Alison (see my Jacksonville Jaguars Review),
I can't believe you're going to the game! Wear my Bills shirt, huh... another crack on my perpetually struggling franchise – classic! Yeah I was in Foxboro earlier this year - see my review of Gillette Stadium. I watched that New England Patriots machine unload on the San Diego "Super" Chargers. The stadium is awesome and so are the fans. The people are really cool, you won't have any real trouble wearing Jacksonville Jaguars gear and win or lose you'll have a great time. You want to get there early though, because traffic gets really bad trying to get into the stadium. I was lined up on Washington Street for what seemed like forever and I was there 2.5 hours before gametime. The Patriots fans start early. I was told that at 11am people were already tailgating for an 8:30pm Sunday night game. Parking in the stadium parking lots costs $40, and those Patriots fans are some real tailgaters. As soon as you're parked by lot attendants, the vehicle aisleways fill up with tents, full sized grills, fire pits, and games. Once you're in, you're there to stay. The fans are cooking up every manner of raw meat and seafood known to man. So much so that Gillette Stadium doesn't even try to compete, as they offer really basic concessions that pale in comparison to what's cooking in the parking lot. They do have Sam Adams on tap though. Have fun and send me a picture I can post on my site at POST YOUR NFL PICS!

Free Parking in Philly?

October 22, 2007: Greg from Seattle, WA
I’m going to the Seattle Seahawks game in Philadelphia on December 2. Hopefully my Seahawks can pull out a win.
Where did you find free parking when you were in town?

I’m not sure that free parking is actually available for Lincoln Financial Field. I think it’s more like park at your own risk. I was in Philadelphia for a Monday night game in September. I arrived just before gametime and the parking lots around the stadium were completely full. I ended up following a line of parked cars all the way down Pattison Avenue about two miles east of Lincoln Financial Field. I parked my car by the railroad tracks almost expecting a parking ticket, but when I returned about an hour after gametime, there was none to be found. I hopped into my truck and went on my merry way. You can try it, but I’m guessing it is at risk parking over there. It certainly did help defray the cost of that scalped ticket I had to buy to get into the game though - the Philadelphia Eagles unfortunately lost to the Washington Redskins.

How bad are Oakland Raiders Fans?

October 20,2007: Bill from Nashville, TN
I’ve heard a lot of bad things about Raiders fans.
Have you had any negative experiences with them at NFL games?

I actually have nothing but good things to say about Oakland Raider fans. I was in San Diego this year for the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers game. Several people from San Diego warned me that the Oakland Raider fans can be very disruptive and that lots of folks in San Diego won’t even bother going to game to avoid the headache. I had absolutely no issues. I sat and talked with a bunch of Raiders fans and even crashed a few tailgating parties in my LaDanian Tomlinson jersey. I found fans on both sides at Qualcomm Stadium to be very respectful. It’s probably those few bad apples that spoil it for the rest of the bunch. I can’t wait to go to a game at McAfee Coliseum though, hopefully next year.

Detroit Lions Mini-Clinic?

October 9, 2007: Greg from Detroit, MI
Great Site! On your Detroit Lions page, you’ve posted information on Ford Field Tours and a mini-clinic option that the Lions offer.
What’s the mini-clinic like?

I’m sorry to say that I was unable to participate in a mini-clinic during my Ford Field Stadium Tour. The mini-clinic is a fantastic idea, and fairly unique as I haven’t seen any other stadium tours that offer them. During the 30-minute mini-clinics, your group learns to pass, catch, and kick like the pros with instruction from actual Detroit Lions. Mini-clinics offer fantastic photo opportunities for all involved. The cost is an additional $5.00 per participant, over the already reasonable tour cost of $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids and seniors. The Ford Field Website is a bit misleading as it states that you can add a mini-clinic to your stadium tour. When I arrived, I was told that mini-clinics are only available for groups twenty of more and restricted the child participation only. Very disappointing. At Texas Stadium, the Cowboys organization actually works twenty minutes into their stadium tour for time out on the football field where they provide footballs and kicking tees. Fans can throw touchdowns to the Dallas Cowboys endzone or kick field goals through the uprights – this was worth the price of admission!

Entry/Exit at RV Lot - Ralph Wilson Stadium?

January 11, 2008: John from Detroit
Hey Hans,
Thanks so much for your quick response! I do have a couple of more question though. As I mentioned, I will be bringing my travel trailer to the game. I will be towing it there with my pickup truck. Will I be able to go in and out of the RV lot with my pickup during the weekend, once I've got my camper set up? A couple of the guys that are going want to go to the Anchor Bar and a few other places in Buffalo. We may also have to leave and get firewood.

The Ralph Wilson Stadium RV parking policy states that, "Vehicles towing trailers and 5th Wheels must stay attached at all times while in the lot." However, for years we've had my family come out to the parking lot to meet up with us on Saturday night and the parking lot attendants have always allowed them to enter and exit without issue. I've also talked to plenty of 5th wheel owners that go out to dinner throughout the weekend - Getting out to the Anchor Bar, home to the Original Buffalo Chicken Wing, is a gameday must if you're in town. I would suggest trying to park near one of the designated fire lanes, they're marked with yellow diagonal lines, so you can easily enter and exit the lot without someone blocking you in. Entry and exit during the day is no issue, but you may have to watch the hours of operation, as when the lot is not staffed, they use a chain to close off the entry gate. But it's just a chain, there's ways around it. I'd talk to the parking attendant when you arrive; they're usually really good about being accommodating.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Recreational Vehicle Parking at Ralph Wilson Stadium

January 10, 2008 - John from Detroit:
Hello fellow Bills fan! I am planning a road trip with my 28' travel trailer to catch a Bills game with a few friends of mine for next season. I grew up in Rochester, NY and now live in Detroit. I have been to many Bills games, but never stayed in the RV lot. We plan to arrive sometime late Friday afternoon/ early evening and stay until Monday morning and we want to stay in the RV lot.
A couple of questions:

Does the bathouse/bathroom that I saw on the Ralph Wilson stadium map that is close to the RV lot have reasonably clean hot showers that are open for use by RVers on gameday weekends?
Yes the Bills Bathhouse facility is very clean and open throughout the weekend. Their hours of operation are Saturday 12 noon-10 PM and Sunday 7 AM-10 PM. Cleaning crews filter in and out of those bathrooms several times a day, to keep things in order. The bathrooms are well maintained, heated, and free to use.

Is there plenty of room in the RV lot or is there a risk of showing up and the whole place is filled?
Arriving Friday, you will have your pick of spots, especially late in the year. RV’s and campers can enter the camper lot starting on Friday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and 8:00am t0 8:00pm on Saturday. Most RV's begin showing up on Saturday afternoon. By late Saturday night 1/4 to 1/2 of the lot fills up with RV's, again this depends on the time of year, but most of the RV's actually show up on Sunday morning for the gameday festivities. Arriving Friday or Saturday ensures that you will get a great spot in the RV lot.

Will it be an issue for me to bring a fire pit/grills/etc for use in the RV lot?
Technically, the Town of Orchard Park does not allow open burning, however I’ve been going to Buffalo Bills games for years with a fire pit and the town seems to look the other way when tailgating concerned. Most fans bring fire pits for warmth and full sized grills to cook their meat of choice. We’ve never had an issue bringing fire pits, grills, pig roasters, or any other implement designed to put fire to meat to the parking areas at Ralph Wilson Stadium. For the most part the Parking attendants are there to collect your money and the rest is a free for all.

Any other tips/thoughts about staying in the RV lot?
I would suggest trying to get a spot on the far side of the lot next to the fence that separates the RV lot from the rest of the general parking. By setting up next to that fence, you get a ton of extra room for your fire pit, grill, and corn hole/ bean bag toss games. It also gives you plenty of extra room to spread out where you're not spilling into your neighbor's area. The RV lot at Ralph Wilson Stadium is easily the best parking deal going in the NFL. For a flat rate of $50 (it used to be $25), you can park in the lot the entire weekend and use their plush bathroom facilities - no port-a-johns necessary. Definitely bring a fire pit and plenty of wood with you. Take your time getting out of the lot if you plan to leave on Sunday, as you're allowed to stay as long as you like - leaving Monday is no issue. In Kansas City, they actually kicked me out of the parking lot at 6pm after the game - I couldn't believe it! Lastly, just enjoy the people. Western New Yorkers are very small-town friendly, and are always happy to meet new poeple. Have a great time and feel free to send me a picture that I can post on my website at POST YOUR NFL PICS.

Standing Room Only for Philadelphia Eagles?

November 9, 2007 - Craig from Toronto:
Love the webpage, I am inspired by your quest and wish you all the best. I am making a little road trip from Toronto to go see my Philadelphia Eagles play the Miami Dolphins next weekend. My question to you is do you think it's worth it to pay some extra $ to get real seats or are the Standing Room Only seats alright. On Stub Hub I can get standing room for $65 - $75 and I have seen some upper deck seats for $80 - $100.
Do you get a decent view of the game from the Standing Room Only Seats?
Thanks allot and enjoy your Quest for 31,

The standing room only areas at Lincoln Financial Field are pretty cool and provide a great area to congregate and chat with other fans. The issue is that you'll be watching the game on the JumboTron as it's difficult to get a clear view of the actual field from there. There are some circular staircases leading up to the upper deck areas that you can stand in as well, but they get fairly crowded early in the game. If you're making the trek from all the way from Toronto to see your team, it's worth the extra money for real seats. Feel free to check out my NFL Ticket links on my Lincoln Financial Field page when you're looking for tickets.