The League

David Cariello
Saints Blogger

David Cariello

Head writer and editor of Canal Street Chronicles

Control Your Drinking

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You may not believe this but I have found the atmosphere at Saints games to be quite pleasant and the fans to be most cordial. For those who have ever strolled down Bourbon Street or are familiar with the Big Easy's reputation for drunken debauchery, this may come as a surprise.

But drinking is a way of life for most down here (see: Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest, crawfish boils, days ending in "y";) and Saints games are no exception. Fortunately, when you drink so much you know how to handle it. Mix that in with a little Southern hospitality, add a dash of friendly football banter and you've got the cocktail recipe for the perfect Sunday afternoon at the Dome. In recent years, however, this type of experience is beginning to become the exception more than the rule at a lot of other NFL stadiums around the country.

Many families don't have the luxury of attending NFL games on a regular basis. In these tough economic times, taking in the occasional football game is a luxury -- a moment to be shared and remembered together. The sights, sounds and smells of the stadium are what make up this entire wonderful experience. But this assault on the senses has also started to include the drunk guy next to you, reeking of alcohol and vomiting on your child's shoe while yelling obscenities at the embarrassed and nervous "away" fan three rows in front of you. Perhaps you've been there? Bryant Gumble discussed the issue during an in-depth look at the NFL and drinking. A fellow blogger has his own horror story. And every Saints fan will remember the experience at Soldier Field in 2006. This behavior is very often fueled by alcohol and usually begins in the parking lot, sometimes hours before kickoff.

Am I painting an unfairly stereotypical picture with a very broad brush? Perhaps. The underlying point remains true, however: drinking and its effects on certain fans are slowly ruining the experience of attending NFL games for many families.

Will adding more rules for NFL tailgaters completely put an end to those drunk and belligerent fans? Probably not. The Prohibition Era couldn't stop drinking and I don't expect the Goodell Era to either. Rules were meant to be broken and on top of that, alcohol will assuredly always be available for sale and consumption within the actual stadiums. But better controlling the tailgating experience could have a huge impact on the overall experience of attending an NFL game. Besides, a laissez fare policy from the league on this matter just doesn't seem likely. Fans of all ages, shapes and sizes should be able to enjoy their stadium experience without worry.

By David Cariello  |  June 24, 2009; 6:22 AM ET  | Category:  New Orleans Saints , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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It doesn't bother me because I hate Fed-Ex and I don't want to put any money in Snyder's pocket in any case. But I have seen the drunks in action at many different sporting venues. I went to a Nascar race at night in Richmond. The folks who camp out all weekend get pretty drunk long before the race starts. I will not go to another night race.

Posted by: chopin224 | June 24, 2009 1:55 PM

Relocating or restricting tailgate parties isn't going to stop ANYONE from drinking pregame. Furthermore, tailgates have less to do with drinking and more to do with socializing, food and camaraderie before the battle.

Perhaps if a fan could buy alcohol inside the stadium at a reasonable price they would be compelled to pace themselves throughout the game rather than avoid the ridiculous cost drinking a marathon before entry.

Posted by: trident420 | June 26, 2009 9:01 AM

Relocating or restricting tailgate parties isn't going to stop ANYONE from drinking pregame. Furthermore, tailgates have less to do with drinking and more to do with socializing, food and camaraderie before the battle.

Perhaps if a fan could buy alcohol inside the stadium at a reasonable price they would be compelled to pace themselves throughout the game rather than avoid the ridiculous cost drinking a marathon before entry.

Posted by: trident420 | June 26, 2009 9:01 AM

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