Steelers Fans, StubHub, Michael Wilbon and You
Let's take one more crack at this issue, because a lot of people have written about this elsewhere, and I got a bit more info.
* First off, concerning StubHub. The Redskins are one of six NFL franchises with promotional agreements with that company; the others are the Bears, Bucs, Texans, Falcons and Bengals. The NFL and its other 26 franchises have agreements with TicketMaster, similarly promoting so-called "fan-to-fan" sales. The Redskins are in the middle of a five-year promotional and marketing deal with StubHub that pays the team six figures a season, but the franchise does NOT get a cut off of individual sales, according to a StubHub spokesman.
The Redskins-Steelers game moved more tickets on StubHub than any other NFL game this season: more than 7,000. But that obviously does not account for the majority of Steelers fans in the building on Monday. Also, 42 percent of the buyers were from Virginia, 25 percent were from Maryland, 6 percent were from D.C., and only 9 percent were from Pennsylvania.
One Steelers fan I talked to said he had never been to a high-profile road game that was so black-and-gold. But I also talked to two veteran ticket brokers who estimated the Pittsburgh contingent was no more than 15-20 percent, which I said from the beginning even as others hyperventilated the number upward. One of the brokers told me Steelers fans are "by far" the strongest traveling group in the NFL. My story about some of this appeared in today's paper.
* Next, concerning Michael Wilbon. As I mentioned yesterday, he had some harsh words for Redskins fans in his Tuesday column, calling them "average at best." Some of those fans objected, rather strongly. And Wilbon, of course, backed down from his slam on Redskins fans, right?
Ha! Hahahahahaha. From his chat yesterday:
New York: It bothers me that you felt the need to take a shot at Redskins fans in your article this morning, calling us "Average at best". I'm one of the FANATIC Redskins fans who gather every Sunday at a packed Redskins bar on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The bar is filled every Sunday with screaming Redskins fans and their babies in Portis jerseys.
This is hardly average. I don't see any Jaguars, Cardinals or Rams fans gathering every Sunday in an out of town location, packing a bar. The Steelers happen to be one of the most popular franchises in sports and if thousands of fans living in the DC area or making the trip want to buy up a bunch of tickets - that's their right. The stadium holds 90,000, there are always going to be tickets available one way or another. Redskins fans are more than Average, your comment was insulting and inaccurate.
Michael Wilbon: You don't have ANY idea of what you're talking about. Fans of all those teams pack bars in different cities all the time. How would you know? Would you ever go to those bars? No, you go to a Redskins bar, which is fine. So for starters, your premise is incredibly flawed. Second, just because you are a fanatic doesn't mean Redskins fans are any better than average. Steelers fans are, I think, the best in the NFL...After that, Cowboys fans, Bears fans, Giants fans. All those fans travel...Redskins fans bailed on their team last night and sold their tickets to Stub Hub or whatever service. You think Steelers fans would have done that? No. Broncos fans? Bills fans? No. I KNOW that doesn't happen to the same degree in those cities. You think Philly fans would have stood for that? No chance. Bears fans? No way. The Browns? Nope...Sorry, you're not going to get me to kiss up to Redskins fans after that sorry performance of support last night...At least 20,000 fans were in Steelers garb waving terrible towels...Tony says it was closer to 30,000...There was no home field advantage. It was a neutral field last night...Sorry.
Soothing words of reconciliation. Yes we can, America, yes we can.
* The Examiner casts doubt on the whole "18 million-strong waiting list" thing, quoting Mike Sellers saying the stadium was "black and burgundy" and "ridiculous."
* The AP lowered the hammer, too, with much more gusto than I had, calling the invasion "embarrassing." From yesterday's story:
From his luxury suite at the 50-yard line, Dan Snyder witnessed what had to be one of the most embarrassing scenes in his nine years as Redskins owner. Consider: The Redskins entered the game 6-2, one of the feel-good stories in the league. They had a coveted prime-time home game. Their fans - often touted as "the greatest in the NFL" - have sold out every home game since the 1960s.
Yet by the thousands they sold their prime, high-priced seats - scattered not in one isolated section, but throughout the lower bowl - to those of the opposite allegiance. It looked and sounded like one of those college bowl games in which the tickets were divvied 50-50.
* And now, the blogs. Pittsburgh fan Adam Gretz of FanHouse focuses on the city's population loss and lack of other entertainment option in explaining the traveling lunacy. "We're a sports town, and that's what people around here do, and that's what we care about," he wrote.
* Ahern Inquirer says that 25 of the 30 seats in his row were taken by Steelers fans, and asks "who are these people?" who sell their seats. "If you're not going to ever go to the Skins game, give up your season tickets so real fans can go," is the conclusion.
* Caps Nut offers an interesting take on ticket donation tax write-offs, the Skins' perpetual mid-week offers for ticket purchases, and Ravens games being even worse, from a black and gold standpoint.
* D.C. Steeler Nation scoffs at Santana Moss's promise to find every Steelers fan in D.C. "Oh noes! An undersized receiver is looking for us! Everybody rrrrrruuuunnnn!" Moss was joking, if that wasn't obvious.
* Riggo's Rag calls for introspection and self-criticism during the bye week. For the fans. "Has it really come to this Redskins fans? Do we really have a soft fan base? I refuse to accept it, I know of many, many diehard fans that would not let this happen....This cannot happen again."
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