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BillyCarpenter1 10-21-2003 08:02 PM

For the Bag Head Supporters

Fans can make a difference

By Phil Simms
Special to

(Oct. 21, 2003) -- I noticed something somewhat unusual last weekend as I worked the Broncos-Vikings game in Minnesota, and I pointed it out on the air to my broadcast partner, Greg Gumbel. "Wow," I said, "They're all here and the game hasn't even started yet."

I was referring to the fans. And it is unusual these days to see a stadium full of people as the home team is being introduced. You go to the game, enjoy your good food and beverages in the parking lot before the game. But if you're paying all that money for a ticket to the game, you might as well be in your seat when the game starts, right?

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. There is a growing trend in all of sports. It's in the pros, but I've noticed it in college more than ever this year. And I'll even hear it on the occasions I get a chance to catch a high school game: people being immediately dissatisfied with what is going on in the game.

If the home team doesn't get a first down or move the ball in their first drive, you hear a noticeable booing, or at least some dissatisfaction from the fans.

I may be an announcer and a former player, but I am also a fan myself. And I don't understand what it is. It borders on animosity. The prevailing thought is "We can do better," or "You should be doing better." And it really perplexes me.

There's a lot about fan behavior that perplexes me. And I guess another reason I bring it up is the reaction of the Chicago Cubs fans last week when that poor kid reached out for the foul ball in Game 6 of the NLCS. Who can think fast enough when there is a fly ball coming in your direction at a major-league ballpark to think, "Oh no, don't try to catch this, because maybe the leftfielder has a chance at it?" Who thinks that fast? Anybody who says they can is not telling the truth.

But the reaction from everyone else -- the throwing of beer, the cursing, the meanness, even death threats -- are you kidding me? It's so absurd, it's amazing that we're even talking about it.

Randy Moss and the Vikings have the support of their fans.
On the other side of the spectrum is the response from the fans in Minnesota. It was positive all day long. I understand we're talking about an undefeated football team, but there were a couple of moments in the game where lesser fans might have reacted badly. Minnesota went three-and-out a few times and Denver was fighting back, but you never heard more than a few concerned groans. And when crunch time rolled around, when Denver was trying to drive for a tying score, the crowd was such a factor in the game. I know it's a dome, but they still have to make the noise -- and they did it at the right time. What an enjoyable experience for everybody involved.

It's always much easier to enjoy what you're doing than to moan or express hate and displeasure. That takes energy.

Maybe I'm not a good judge. But I love going to sporting events and I can't imagine going to a sporting event and cursing or booing the players. I might be quiet, but I just don't know why you would be vocal against the home team. Why would you want to do that?

Now, I'm sure the Vikings fans weren't as positive when their team was losing games. But you don't go from being the bitter kind of fan I'm talking about to being the fan that is there now. Nobody does that. My take is that Vikings fans probably handled the rough 2002 season much better than most NFL fans around the country would have.

There's no need for me to point out the bad fans, but I have done games where teams have just one loss and they're having a terrific year and the fans are on edge right from the start -- "Come on, satisfy me immediately or I'm going to voice my displeasure." I can hear it and see it right away in those stadiums, and there are plenty of them out there.

Unfortunately, I've noticed it more and more in NFL stadiums, and I notice it much more now in college football, too. Heaven forbid, that kid who is playing for scholarship money doesn't win every week!

The fans accept nothing but perfection. And it's not enough to just win these days -- you have to win with style. It's amazing to me when I read stories about "sloppy victories." I know how hard it is to win, especially in pro football, and any win should be appreciated.

It's just like politics: None of us majored in it and none of us know a whole lot about it, but we have an incredible amount of opinions towards it. The same goes for coaches and players in any sport. "He shouldn't have done this" or "He's not playing well," etc., etc.

I'm guessing that a lot of the fans I'm talking about probably don't read this column. But if you are one of them, just do me this favor: Have a positive outlook, and enjoy the game when you go. Be positive. You will be surprised how that can filter down to the field and help the home team play better. And maybe you can even be a part of winning the game.

BillyCarpenter1 10-21-2003 08:19 PM

For the Bag Head Supporters
I posted this article for a reason. When things were going bad, there were some fans ( if you want to call them that) that had given up on the season. They even went so far as to wear bags on their heads, when the season still had hope.

Then their were fans and memebers on here that went so far as to say that the players had quit on the coaches. Some fans said that Benson really wasn\'t commited to winning and all he was worried about was making money. It seems like some fans were just looking for any reason to bash the team that they claimed to be fan\'s of. They said they were justified to say anything they wanted because they paid money to watch the Saints and they weren\'t getting their money\'s worth. I could go on and on about what was said, but you all know what was said on here.

I understand that fans want their teams to win, but why do fan\'s want to make statements that they obviously don\'t know ANYTHING about? Why be a fan like that? When things go bad for a while, why do some fans turn on their team? Why not stay postive for as long as you can? It\'s hard for me to understand how someone can bash a team so hard when things are going bad and when things turn around those same fans are back supporting the team like they never said anything at all........

WhoDat 10-21-2003 09:27 PM

For the Bag Head Supporters
OK, here we go. You give the guy an inch, he takes a mile.

A) Benson is more concerned with money than winning. Just b/c we\'ve beaten the two worst teams in the league the last two weeks doesn\'t mean that changed. They could win the damn Super Bowl and I would still believe that Benson is more concerned with money. Just b/c a team is successful in a given period of time does not mean that the owner is more committed to winning than to making money. Just b/c a team is unsuccessful over a given time does not mean an owner is more committed to making money than winning. You have to take the whole picture into account. Benson want money first, and a good team second.

B) \"They said they were justified to say anything they wanted because they paid money to watch the Saints and they weren\'t getting their money\'s worth.\" Damn right. I don\'t care if the Saints are 15-1. If they played like crap in that one I am fully justified to complain about it. I understand the point that you\'re trying to make, but saying that there\'s lots of hope left or expecting sunshine and flowers from the fans when your team if 1-4 in a year that should be a Super Bowl run year is going to get you negative comments. That\'s life Billy. It\'s justified and it\'s realistic.

C) \"I understand that fans want their teams to win, but why do fan\'s want to make statements that they obviously don\'t know ANYTHING about?\" I know when I\'m seeing poor play. I can stress my opinions about why it is occurring and those opinions, unless proven undeniably wrong by a completely unbiased analysis based solely on factual events, are just as valid as any other opinions. Your problem Billy, and this isn\'t a knock I\'m just being honest, is that you seem to believe that you know more than everyone else here, or you believe that your perceptions and opinions are, for some reason, more valid than others\'. They\'re not. Once you understand that, this will all make sense to you. This is the basic premise on which our society functions. In a Democratic state, there is no right or wrong, simply the prevailing opinion at that time.

D) \"When things go bad for a while, why do some fans turn on their team? Why not stay postive for as long as you can?\" History Billy. Those of us, and this very may include you, if it does then I applaud your resolve, have watched year in and year out pretty much always with the same results. If we had an average record of 10-6 over the last ten years with three Super Bowl appearances and 5 or 6 playoff seasons, then you might see a lot of fans saying everything is OK, it will all work out when the team starts out 1-4. Unfortunately, that\'s not the case. 1-4 for the Saints has almost always translated into a losing season, so it\'s natural and realistic to write off the playoffs or even hopes of a winning season. Finally, and this is most important. We\'re emotional Billy. When the team loses we come on this board and vent. It\'s not always rational thought. Perfect for instance was me saying Delhomme was a franchise QB. Can you honestly say that you would expect to hear that from me normally? I mean, I like Jake, I have faith in him, but c\'mon. Do I need to remind you of some of YOUR quotes? The one about being wrong? About how we were the worst team in football? C\'mon man, you know some of these are sarcastic or made out of frustration.

BillyCarpenter1 10-21-2003 09:53 PM

For the Bag Head Supporters
WhoDat --

I really wasn\'t talking about you. OK -- But only a little bit.

First of all-- Anyone can say anything they want. But the things being said on this board went way beyond the poor play on the field. Some were saying that the players quit on the coaches, when they had NO WAY of knowing this and just the opposite was being said by the players. There were so many conspiracy theories on here that it was ridiculos. Also, keep in mind that some members were stating this as FACT and not opinions. I know they tried their level headed best to convince me of this. But we all seee that wasn\'t the case at all.

As far as Benson as money goes. I can\'t tell you for sure what\'s in the man\'s mind. My only arguement is that winning makes money and losing loses money.

I don\'t think I know everything. What I do know is when folks are talking about something they have absolutely no idea about. FWtex was a prime example. He went into things like he had insider information on and there was no way in hell he could know these things.

As far as some giving up on the season. That\'s fine. But, don\'t be trying to tell me I\'m a damn fool for not giving up. Which is exactly what some were telling me to do. It\'s just when they jump back on the band wagon, I\'m going to remind them when they told me I was a \"Dam Fool.\"

whowatches 10-22-2003 06:33 AM

For the Bag Head Supporters
Sorry, but I have to call BS on this one.

Simms\'s article is condescending. Prices for tickets to college and pro games increase every year, not to mention merchandise, concessions, parking. I\'m sure many of you on the board know how much it costs to take a family of four to the Dome for a game. Ridiculous? Maybe, but if you\'re a fan you don\'t mind, because it\'s entertainment. It\'s an escape.

I completely agree with his points about violent, drunken and beligerent fans, but I take exception to his tone and general attitude toward fans who want success and gratification at the games. We (the fans) pay for a product. If the product is not good, we have a right to voice our opinions. For example, If George goes to a Justin Timberlake concert, and Justin can\'t hit those high notes, George has the right to boo. In that same vein, if I go to a Saints game at the Dome, and the team doesn\'t show up and gets schlacked in a fifty-something to twenty-something blowout, I have the right to boo, wear a bag, call them the \"the Aints\", whatever.

Fans are not responsible for the hype surrounding pro and college teams. The teams are responsible. They build themselves up so that we will buy tickets. That\'s good business. The other side to that, however, is that the team has to be prepared to deal with disgruntled fans if the product does not meet expectations.


It\'s just like politics: None of us majored in it and none of us know a whole lot about it, but we have an incredible amount of opinions towards it. The same goes for coaches and players in any sport. \"He shouldn\'t have done this\" or \"He\'s not playing well,\" etc., etc.
Ridiculous, Phil. I don\'t have to have a poly-sci major to vote, but my vote is a necessary component of the political system. I don\'t have to have ever touched a football, but without my ticket money and the ticket money of those like me, football would not be the multi-billion dollar business that it is.

Billy, yes, people were talking about the team quitting on the coaches, the owner not caring about winning, etc. I would think those comments would be the very least you\'d expect after the start this team had. I hope that we\'ve turned it around, but I don\'t understand why you criticize those who reacted negatively toward the Saints organization after a 1-4 start, especially given the hype we heard from the team during the offseason.

Think of it this way, at least people were coming to the boards, even if it was to complain. The alternative is that they don\'t come to the boards, which means that they don\'t care anymore.

BillyCarpenter1 10-22-2003 07:00 AM

For the Bag Head Supporters
whowatches --

Of course fans are going to upset when their team starts out 1-4. But, to go making statements saying the players have given up was just making things up. There was no evidence that the players had given up !! NONE !! And now we see that wasn\'t the case at all. So, if y\'all get upset with the players, then I get upset with the fans that go around making stuff up about a team that I love. Stick to what you know or at least have SOME kind of evidence to support that theory with. Can you or ANYONE ELSE show me some evidence where the players quit?

Now, if someone is just an emotinal fan and want\'s to come in here and vent, then state that at the beginning of the post, because I have no way to know that. I\'m just sitting here reading this STUFF and I\'m taking it like they mean what they are saying.

WhoDat 10-22-2003 09:23 AM

For the Bag Head Supporters
No, you cannot show undeniable evidence that those players had quit. You\'re right about that Billy. But you can almost NEVER show undeniable evidence of ANYTHING in sports.

What you can do, is come to an educated conclusion based on observed phenominom. For example, after week five the Saints had managed to go just 2-10 in their last twelve (including preseason) under Haslett. The offense, defense, and special teams were all sputtering. Players were throwing fits on the sidelines, and making obviously disgruntled comments in the media. Haslett kept babbling about not knowing what the problem was. Former players and managers were coming out and talking about how the organization is Mickey Mouse. Based on ALL of that information, and their PLAY ON THE FIELD, which was obviously uninspired, it is not unreasonable to believe that the players had quit on the team, or that hope was essentially lost for this season.

[Edited on 22/10/2003 by WhoDat]

saintfan 10-22-2003 09:33 AM

For the Bag Head Supporters
You know, wearing a bag at games (is that what all this is about?) is tasteless and tacky. I\'m sure it bothers players because MOST of the players are working hard and trying to succeed. Sure, they\'re paid VERY well, but they risk a lot every week to play NFL football. If I were a player I\'d be offended.

However, and it\'s a big however, if I pay a hundred bucks for tickets and 20 bucks to park and get screwed minus the kiss for hot dogs and beer and such I\'ll wear a bag if I damn well please. Joe Horn can bite me!

Please understand that I\'m not the kind of guy who would do that. I only show up to support the team. I don\'t pay that kinda money to show up and ridicule the players, however, for that kinda money, if the team generally Sucks like, say, Arizona, I can\'t very well fault a guy for that. There are worse things he/she could be doing.

WhoDat 10-22-2003 09:50 AM

For the Bag Head Supporters
Good post, good post...

but what does this mean? \"...but they risk a lot every week to play NFL football.\"

What does an NFL player risk that Johnny Construction Worker does not? And does the guy hanging off of the steel beam a thousand feet up in the air get paid a million dollars for his work? What about the ER nurse who risks infection or injury with every patient she sees and has to take home images of mangled children or people dying every single day?

BillyCarpenter1 10-22-2003 09:56 AM

For the Bag Head Supporters
WhoDat --

You say that the folks talking about the players quitting was based off of an educated guess? What\'s educated about it? I watched the games and I saw no evidence of that? Did you? I read what the players were saying and they said just the opposite !! I\'m sure someone can come up with SOME reason for making a statement like that but it was hardly EDUCATED !! I could say McCarthy was quitting on the players by calling terrible plays and make an arguement, but how educated would that be? My point is that just because a team is losing that fan\'s don\'t have to make things up and that\'s EXACTLY what they were doing.

As far as the bag heads. They need to keep wearing \'em. It seems to have worked. Don\'t you agree??

[Edited on 22/10/2003 by BillyCarpenter1]

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