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If I Were King: Changes I Would Make to Nebraska Football GameDay

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What would you do if you could be King of Nebraska Football?

Iowa v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Nebraska fans consider themselves to be among the top fan bases in the country. We have been selling out every single Nebraska home football game since 1962. This was true even in the midst of the Bill Callahan years. Nebraska fans sold Memorial Stadium out no matter what. It is almost like Nebraska fans took the lyrics of the school fight song to heart:

We’ll all stick together in all kinds of weather

For dear old Nebraska U.

Nebraska fans show up.

Well that might be changing after Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald dug up some really interesting information regarding actual scanned ticket in 2016 and 2017 for Nebraska home games.

Each of Nebraska’s last three home games last season — Ohio State, Northwestern and Iowa — had fewer than 70,000 scanned tickets at the gate, according to information provided by Nebraska to The World-Herald.

Ohio State was a highly ranked team coming into Lincoln. Also the game was at night, and yet there were only 67,400 scanned tickets. Usually a highly ranked team coming into Memorial Stadium at night is the perfect recipe for a full house.

Not anymore.

Yes, it is true that the overall quality of football being played by Nebraska over the past twenty years has left a lot to be desired. That is a major reason for why people have started not showing up at all. People are having trouble just giving their tickets away for free. It is pretty bad. People are “voting with their butt.”

So what is Nebraska battling in order to get people to show up to games? In my opinion, it is the couch.

The couch? Yes. In order to entice people to show up to games Nebraska needs to make the game-day experience better than what I would get if I was simply sitting on my couch with a group of friends.

So I asked myself what changes I would make I would do if I was “King” of Nebraska football. Some of these could be easy changes, while others may appear to be unrealistic or impossible. Thankfully when you are “King” you can do whatever you want.

This is from the perspective of somebody who is married, over 30 years old and has young children. So please keep that in mind.

BEER.

Yep, the one everybody clicking on this article was probably expecting.

This is not much of a game changer for me, but I know it is for a lot of people.

The objections to this is either that Tom Osborne would object or that Memorial Stadium would be over-populated with over-intoxicated drunks.

To the former I say — objection overruled.

To the latter I say — I do not think that would be the case.

Frank Fitzpatrick of The Inquirer wrote an article about whether selling beer at college football games actually decreases binge drinking.

West Virginia, for example, has reported a 30 percent decrease in alcohol-related offenses since it started selling beer.

”Police will tell you that hasn’t eliminated binge drinking, but it has cut down on it,” Luck added.

Toben Nelson, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health who has studied the connections between alcohol and sports, said no one can yet make a connection between beer sales and better behavior.

Correlation does not mean causation. I know. But a 30% decrease appears to be significant.

I have zero data to back up the following sentence, but I would guess it is true.

The majority of alcohol related offenses at Memorial Stadium are a result of liquor and not of beer.

If you don’t believe that, I suggest you go into the stalls of men’s restroom right before the start of a night game. What you will likely find is a wealth of empty liquor bottles.

Recycling is important. I hope the person hired to clean those bathrooms is in to recycling.

Walk through a tailgate prior to the start of a night game or at halftime and you’ll probably see shots going around or pulls from a 1.75 bottle of Barton’s vodka. Gotta get them in before going into the stadium.

Would all this go away if Nebraska sold beer? No. But I promise the number of fans becoming overly intoxicated as a result of a few $6.00+ Busch Lights would be surprisingly low.

REDUCE MEMORIAL STADIUM’S SEATING CAPACITY.

People probably want to say, “They’ll never do that.” But I guarantee this is going to happen sooner than later. It is simply too uncomfortable to sit at these games. We are packed inside Memorial Stadium like a can of sardines. Then add that it is usually either extremely hot or extremely cold.

The area for the seats need to be wider. Why would I give up my comfortable spot on my couch to sit in Memorial Stadium like I am a pair of underwear trying to be packed in a suitcase that is already full?

For me, this is issue numero uno.

STOP TREATING STOPPAGES IN PLAY AS OPPORTUNITIES TO RUN INFOMERCIALS FOR THE UNIVERSITY

I am sorry, but unless the rifle team is down on the field during the game, I do not really care to hear about them. Just like if I am sitting at a Nebraska basketball game, I do not really need to hear about the football team.

Instead, Nebraska should take the opportunity to broadcast other college football games going on around the country. It would be like sitting at home and changing the channel for a couple minutes during a commercial. I care more about what is going on between Iowa and Northwestern while at a football game than I do about the men’s or women’s basketball team. And I love basketball.

BAN THE STADIUM SEATS

Just because you rent a stadium seat with a back does not mean you get to lean back as far as the seat allows. It is right up there with the people who recline their seat on an airplane. Do you care about anybody besides yourself? Are you aware that the earth is not flat and that it does not revolve around you?

Ban the selling of the seats and then burn them all. We can have a burn party where 90% of fans who go to the games can take turns tossing the stadium seats into the bonfire. Then we would have celebration service as we bury the ashes in the ground and it will be declared the 6th greatest day in Nebraska football history.


If nothing at least cut the backs off of the seats and rent the cushions. That’s a good compromise.

If there was more leg room then maybe they could stay, but in order to increase the leg room I believe they would have to destroy the stadium itself and re-pour the concrete. Even I, as “King,” would not do something that tragic.

IMPROVE THE TAILGATING EXPERIENCE AND PARKING AROUND MEMORIAL STADIUM

This is probably one of those “unrealistic” changes.

Take a few of the millions of dollars Nebraska will be getting from BTN and buy up a bunch of property around Memorial Stadium. Are there some academic buildings that aren’t of much use anymore? Controlled Demolition.

How about the “Russian Bottoms?” Cut those homeowners a nice check and turn that place into a huge parking lot. Think of the parking lot that is in front of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. That tailgating experience would be tops in the country. Plus it would allow some of the non season-ticket holders to have some excellent tailgating spots.

MORE BATHROOMS: THINK OF THE WOMEN

Prior to the expansion in north stadium, our seats were three rows from the top. So we are up there pretty high. The time it takes to walk from our seats to the bathroom is approximately 48 minutes. That is a fact.

As a male, we don’t have many issues finding a urinal in Memorial Stadium. However, the female side of the population would probably have a different perspective when it comes to the restrooms in Memorial Stadium.

Those lines are incredibly long.

If there are bathrooms that are not being used, then maybe some signs pointing fans in that direction could be useful.

BETTER SELECTION OF FOOD: SORRY BUT RUNZA AND VALENTINO’S IS NOT CUTTING IT

Is Runza and Valentino’s the fourth rail of Nebraska football? Is it the 11th commandment?

Thou shall ingest Runza and Valentino’s at football games.

I love myself some Valentino’s pizza, but if we were all being perfectly honest, most of our love for these items is merely nostalgic. Am I right?

Yes, there are other options at the concessions stands like buffalo burgers, hot dogs, and popcorn.

How about having local restaurants populated throughout Memorial Stadium? How about Runza? Block 16? Honest Abe’s? Blue? Blue Orchid?

Or what about Romeo’s Mexican Food and Pizza? It’s nacho typical restaurant.

WHILE ON THE TOPIC OF FOOD AND DRINK, CUT THE PRICES

Five dollars for a slice of pizza where half of the cheese is stuck to the cardboard container? No thanks. That is the worst deal in Memorial Stadium on game days. That pizza should be $4.00 at the most.

Also, a 20 oz Diet Pepsi should be $2.00 at the most.

There was a nacho stand tucked away in a corner of north stadium a few years ago that was the best bang for your buck. Large portion of chips, cheese, chicken, salsa for around $6.50, if I remember correctly. We need more of those.

Yes there would be some lost revenue if they dropped the prices on food and drink. I have the perfect solution. Have four 50/50 drawings during the game. One after each quarter. People can buy tickets for $2 a ticket, or three tickets for $5. At the end of each quarter, there is a drawing and the winner gets half the pot while the the Football program keeps the other half.

Problem solved.

FOURTH QUARTER SONG

The Tunnel Walk is probably my greatest motivator when deciding whether I want to arrive early or on-time to a game. I want to be there for the Tunnel Walk. It is fun to be a part of and it usually gives me chills.

Nebraska needs a song that is traditionally played between the 3rd and 4th quarter of every game. Something to get the juices running in the stands. Something to be a part of.

I’d like to give credit to KLIN’s Jack Mitchell for what I believe to be the perfect song idea.

Johnny Cash - God’s Gonna Cut You Down.

There’s an easy beat to “clap” to, and Nebraskans are not known for their rhythm. If I was an opposing player and in a tight game going into the fourth quarter. Then I hear the entire stadium clapping to this song, it might be somewhat intimidating.

Anyways if that doesn’t work then here are a couple of songs that could be used for the 3rd-4th quarter transition which might be more appreciated by the “younger” generation.

(Hed) Planet Earth - Blackout

Limp Bizkit - Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)

You might laugh at these two songs, but if you want to get rid of “sit down” guy then we need to start playing this music.

Some people will probably reference DJ Kool - Let Me Clear My Throat. But to me, that song should be saved for huge moments in games. Kind of like when Andy Janovich scored that touchdown against Wisconsin. Perfect.

STANDING ROOM ONLY PATH AROUND THE STADIUM

I have no idea how it could logistically be done, but a walking path about halfway between the field and the top row where people could freely walk around the stadium during the games would be awesome.

Nebraska could sell “standing-room” only tickets for a much more affordable price for families with kids. These “standing-room” tickets would only guarantee that you could have access to this walking path. That’s it. You wouldn’t sell so many tickets that it would clog up the walking path.

The barrier between the path and the field could be made of glass so the smaller kids could go back and forth from watching the games to running around. This could also add new area for handicapped fans in wheel chairs.

It would be very family friendly and plus you could walk to different areas of the stadium to see things from a different perspective. I’ve only watched a game from north stadium. Maybe it would be cool to stand somewhere else.

Speaking of family friendly...

ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS BEFORE THE GAMES

Do they do this anymore? I don’t know if I have simply missed them but I know they used to have the field next to the stadium full of activities for kids and families. As a father, I know it would be more enjoyable to go to a game after my son or daughter has had an opportunity to run off some of that energy.

This also would help us indoctrinate our kids about Nebraska football.

Very important.

WHAT ABOUT THE STUDENTS?

I did not attend UNL for undergrad so I do not personally understand the plight of the student fan. But they are one of the major reasons why “scanned tickets” are low. The student section

So what could we do? Maybe move them closer to the field? Maybe around the end zone? It would definitely make a difference in game day atmosphere. But it would also upset a lot of long-time season-ticket holders (donors) who would lose their seats in order to have the students sit there.

But since I would be King, I wouldn’t need to care.

Long live the King.


Anybody else have any other suggestions?

Poll

Would you be happy with my tenure as "King"?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Yes, can we vote for you as AD?
    (188 votes)
  • 4%
    No, you would be a tyrant.
    (28 votes)
  • 2%
    I would, except I live in the Russian Bottoms.
    (14 votes)
  • 5%
    I love my stadium seat.
    (39 votes)
  • 13%
    No, I want to be ‘King".
    (94 votes)
  • 6%
    Yes, but the only beer allowed is Coors Light.
    (46 votes)
  • 10%
    Eh. It’d be alright.
    (73 votes)
  • 4%
    No, I’d buy "How to Start a Coup for Dummies".
    (28 votes)
  • 16%
    This poll is ridiculous.
    (112 votes)
  • 7%
    Yes it is.
    (52 votes)
674 votes total Vote Now