Despite an awful Browns performance on Saturday night, I came away envious of the dome in Indianapolis. This isn’t the first time I’ve said it, and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s really a great way to take in a game. Lucas Oil Stadium is bright, clean, loud and really does a lot to help bridge the gap between watching the game live and the kinds of things you don’t want to miss at home.
The HD video boards in the corners are well-placed and run impeccably so that even if action is on the other side of the stadium you get a chance to see the replay without trying too hard. Instead of having them on the ends, they have their two video boards in two corners. It might sound like a small change, but instead of having to look all the way right or all the way left, they’re more conveniently placed pretty much for everyone in the building by being in the corners, I think. The cell service worked perfectly with a capacity crowd 1 on hand as I uploaded picture after picture to the WFNY Facebook page. Pretty cheerleaders danced to a nice variety of songs which were all blasted from a centrally located speaker system in the middle of the roof. Again, it’s a little thing, but having the sound hit every person from the front is nice.
Their game presentation wasn’t perfect, of course. The Indianapolis crowd has a really unhealthy obsession with Todd Rundgren’s song “Bang the Drum All Day.” If this tradition was more well known, I’d put it on par with the annoyance I have of the Yankees and their obsession with “Cotton Eye Joe.” But if that is the bulk of my complaint, then I think the Colts are doing pretty well from a game presentation standpoint.
This isn’t the first time I’ve attended a football game in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil stadium. In 2009 I attended a game between the Colts and Broncos because the Browns played on Thursday night and I had an invite from my father-in-law. It was a really great experience. The Colts and Peyton Manning won the game and I got to witness Brandon Marshall absolutely go off. He caught 21 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns from (wait for it) Kyle Orton. Indianapolis won 28-16 despite Marshall’s heroics and also despite three interceptions that Peyton Manning delivered to the Broncos.
I attended the high school state championships one year when we happened to be in Indy for Thanksgiving. Even in that environment with crowds more like 15-20,000 Lucas Oil was a really great place to go and watch football. Yes, it’s far different than watching a game outside. I will stop short of saying that the Browns should enclose FirstEnergy stadium. Still, I’m left wondering what could have been for the city had they decided on a retractable dome setup down on the lake. It wouldn’t have made up for the losing that the Browns have done over the years, of course, any more than a brilliant game presentation would. Still, I wonder what it would be like to pack 70,000 Browns fans into a dome for a meaningful football game.
Maybe it’s my Cleveland homerism and pride, but I have to think we could out-noise any other fan-base in America given a venue that lends itself directly to it already. I guess we’ll see when the Browns make it to a Super Bowl in a city with a dome…
- 65,626 according to the box score and I believe that number to be accurate. Despite the picture I used as the Browns were coming out of the tunnel, I looked around during the second quarter and the place looked almost totally full. Listed capacity online is 67,000 [back]