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Steelers Fans, StubHub, Michael Wilbon and You

(By John McDonnell - TWP)

(Last time.)

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."

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 5, 2008; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Next: About Those Burgundy on Burgundy Uniforms


Think about it...this would have never happened at RFK. There were limited seats at that stadium and the majority of seats were consumed by die hard season ticket holders for years.

Posted by: peej9999 | November 5, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

-stadium too big
-too many people with 10-12 tickets
-too many people who keep rights but sell entire season to brokers
-monday night traffic is a disaster

but hey, those tickets were available to anyone to buy, the fact that skins fans didn't buy them suggest demand is not so strong.

-elminate seats
-limit number of tickets for each rights holder
-facilitate the sale of full season tickets (not the rights, but the tickets) to folks on the waiting list

chance of any of this happening? zero.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 5, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, ONE TIME this happens and everyone is FREAKING OUT, and it's exacerbated by the fact it's on prime time. There are tons of factors that went into this, and it being an anomaly rather than a trend it's not a stretch to blame these factors. It IS a stretch to denounce a whole fan base for one poor showing. Which was exaggerated anyways, and exacerbated by the imbalance of play on the field.

Wilbon just went from intolerably ignorant to complete scumbag on my scale. I hope he gets shot in the femoral artery. Considering his recent behavior, that wouldn't surprise me. Not saying he would bring it on himself, but it wouldn't surprise me if he did.

Posted by: ThisGuy | November 5, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

This is not a one time event. Maybe the amount of away fans was a one off, but this happens on a smaller (but more confrontational) scale every year when Philly comes to Landover.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 5, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm the guy who wrote the comment from New York and Wilbon's response is just proof that he's a pompous jerk who likes to pick on Skins fans. I've traveled down to Landover for several Redskins games and have never had a problem finding tickets on Stub Hub or eBay. The seller has never asked me whether I'm a Skins fan or not so although it was frustrating to watch, it's not surprising to me that so many Steelers fans showed up on Monday. To me this is a good thing for Non Season ticket holders. I should also remind everyone that they were also louder, mostly in the second half, when the Skins looked pitiful. If the Skins were beating down the Steelers, I guarantee we would not have heard much about their fan presence. As far as Wilbon's "know it all" response that every team has fans that pack out of town bars - I'm pretty sure he's wrong, at least some teams (like Skins) pack more bars than others. I'm pretty familiar with the Sunday New York bar scene. I know there are Steelers bars and Dolphins bars and others, but I'd bet money that there are no Saints bars or Cardinals bars in NYC. The know it all Wilbon should take his attitude and move it back to Chicago where he can write about Bears fans all he wants. Hail to the Redskins AND their GREAT fans! Go back to Chicago to the "average at best" writer Mike Wilbon. Boswell and Shapiro are MUCH better writers.

Posted by: ebberger | November 5, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Skins fans don't care anymore.

There is only one place where there is actual PASSION for sports in DC anymore.

It's called the Barra Brava.

Sorry, but they've taken over the bouncing stands and turned it into a DC United trademark.

The Redskins trademark? Downward graphs and red ink.

Disagree? Drink the koolade and buy more Six Flags stocks while reading L. Ron Hubbard!

Posted by: bs2004 | November 5, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Wilbon can point us to the nearest Cardinals bar?

The one in Lienart's basement doesn't count.

Posted by: kolbkl | November 5, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Its the fact that it did happen at a primetime game after the best start for a Redskins team in nearly a decade that makes this so ridiculous. Wilbon's right, and the only reason people are talking trash about him is that they know he's right. There is no way that many opposing fans should take over any stadium. I don't want to hear about Steelers fans living in DC, or traffic, or any other BS excuse. There is no reason for that many "fans" to sell tickets for a Monday night game against one of the best teams in the league. It was like going to an Orioles game when they play the Yankees or Red Sox. The only difference is, the Orioles haven't had a winning record in over TEN YEARS, so Orioles fans have nothing to root for. If you're not going to go to a primetime game against a great team, then why in the hell did you get the tickets?

I sit in 446 and had 3 steelers fans in front of me, 2 to my left and 2 to my right. I had several offers from Steelers fans in the past couple of weeks to buy my tickets, most for way above face. I never even thought for one second to sell my tickets. And I don't want to hear about the price of tickets and affordability. If you can't afford them, DON'T GET THEM. If anyone should be worried about the price of tickets, its a 22 year old right out of college starting off in the government making no money. If you can't go sell them to someone you know or go onto or some other message board to get rid of your tickets. Redskins fans, whether or not they went to the game Monday night, should be embarassed. And hopefully Wilbon calling out all you so-called fans, will make you rethink about selling your tickets to a Cowboys fan.

Posted by: MDTerps015 | November 5, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

You're missing a key point here, which is that large numbers of Pittsburgh natives live in the D.C. area (including me). There's been a literal diaspora of Western Pa. folks coming to D.C. for three decades. Pittsburgh's economy -- and especially towns beyond the city like Johnstown -- really suffered in the late 70s and the 80s, while nearby suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia were thriving. And Pittsburghers take their love of the city and the Steelers wherever they go. It's that kind of city. For Steeler fans living locally (in D.C.), it's much easier to get Redskins tickets than if they live in Pittsburgh. I can just call up friends with season tickets, maybe trade them some of my Terps tickets, whatever. Or I can get tickets through my employer.

It doesn't hurt that half the Redskins fans I know hate going to games. The games are very loud (not the cheering but the blasting music, etc.) and a real pain to get to. Costs are high. Blame Snyder for all of this. It makes the fans want to watch games on their big screen TVs.

Posted by: webg | November 5, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Another point for our "Average at Best" writer Mike Wilbon. Maybe he forgot about this year's Hall of Fame inductions ceremony, but I've never seen a fan base pack Canton like that - EVER. Further proof that Redskins fans are not "Average at Best". Hail to the Redskins and their GREAT fans!

Posted by: ebberger | November 5, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with MDTerps015....all those people who are complaining about high prices and giving all sorts of should sell your tix or give up your tickets so someone else can go who is a true fan. You do have an option and not support Dan Snyder by going to the stadium but can watch the game on TV but what happened on Monday is just not pretty...I feel for the players...

Posted by: hardhitter | November 5, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"I hope he gets shot in the femoral artery."

ThisGuy, that's completely out of bounds. Stay classy, dude.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 5, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone stopped to think that the night before election day in the Nations Capital, when the country is about to elect it's next Commander in Chief, might not be the best time to host a MNF game? I imagine a lot of locals had other things on thier minds, among them getting a good nights rest. It's no wonder that there was a supply exceeded demand for this game.

Posted by: wagz20 | November 5, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

the tickets on ebay/stubhub etc were available for ALL fans, not just steeler fans. the fact that more of them bought them than skins fans points to the fact that the demand by steelers fans was more than skins fans. not all of those tickets were sold at much above face value either. you can't discount the miserable experience that is fedex on a monday night. for steeler fans, its worth the hassle cause they come to town once every 20 years. i guarantee that if the steelers, broncos, bears, etc had a 92K stadium in a god awful location like fed ex, the SAME thing would happen. it will happen in dallas next year when jerryworld opens up....

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 5, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone stopped to think that the night before election day in the Nations Capital, when the country is about to elect it's next Commander in Chief, might not be the best time to host a MNF game? I imagine a lot of locals had other things on thier minds, among them getting a good nights rest. It's no wonder that there was a supply exceeded demand for this game.

Posted by: wagz20 | November 5, 2008 2:36 PM

I totally agree with this. Everyone assumed that the game would be the most important thing is this area, but there was a big election the next morning. People were bracing themselves for a lot of problems at the polls and going early.....

Posted by: punchdaclock | November 5, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The Skins were dominated, and laid (another) egg in front of a national audience, so the opponent's fan presence was much more conspicuous. And you're right, Wilbon at times is an annoying, pompous jerk. But he's not incorrect in his point, which is that there are too many ticket holders routinely giving up their seats.

Combine that with a well-traveling road team, plus a Monday game date (causing even more ticket holders to sellout), and you're left with one train wreck of a home game.

Posted by: mannomch | November 5, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Guys, guys. Do you all REALLY want to debate this?

- P. Angelos

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | November 5, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game, and I'd say that 15% Steelers fans would be pushing it. The problem is, when one team won't score a touchdown, their fans are going to get quiet. Did it sound like it was a lot of Steelers fans at the beginning or at the end? The end. When Skins fans were headed to the exits to fight traffic and get up early and vote the next day.

And Wilbon's comments aren't nearly as idiotic as his "Partner in Stupidity" Tony Kornheiser.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | November 5, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree with dcsportsfan1 and I am a season ticket holder who regularly goes to away games.

1.) Tickets are for sale to ALL Fans. Redskins fans just didn't want to see the game as bad as the Steelers fans. And why would they when you have to take over 1/2 on Monday to get there, and another 1/2 on Tuesday because of the traffic getting home. HORRIBLE STADIUM EXPERIENCE

2.) When I have gone to Texas stadium there are 10k-15k Redskin fans there (and that stadium only seats 65k) and tickets prices are a fraction of what we pay in DC.

Bottom line is that DC is a good Redskins town that has to live with a bad owner who has created a game day experience that would only be tolerated by the most devote fan. DC is also a town of hype and over reacting especially by the reporters that cover the team (or in Wilbon's case... watch b/c he is getting paid by ESPN).

Posted by: mb15 | November 5, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

when i lived in DC, the only way i could justify going to a game, other than preseason, was when the ex and i were invited to a luxury box by her janitorial service.

bring the prices down so regular fans can go without skipping dinner for a week....otherwise, learn to live with the indifferent corporate weenies in the stands

Posted by: mdrockjock | November 5, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, right, Wilbon, there's a Jaguars bar in every city? Try to find a Jaguars FAN in ANY city that's not in north Florida. I saw one in Philly once, when I was in a neutral bar watching a game with 25 'Skins fans.

Posted by: shekb | November 5, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon is right. Deadskin fans are just a bunch of poseurs. The Cowgirl fans are close to the Deadskin fans.

Lets see the Deadskin girls want Wilbon's head now. What happened to their quest to get rid of JLC? Went nowhere. Why because they cry and moan like drag queens who just put a run in thier $50 a pair pantyhose. But no follow up on their threats. They are all just bunch of no load,SFBs wussies!

Posted by: omarthetentmaker | November 6, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Cool... it would seem we've established that skins fans are better than saints fans, cardinals fans and jaguars fans. well done. those are what, the three weakest fan bases in the league? Washington fans -- #29 with a bullet.

Pretty soon we'll be moving up to #27 in prevention of rickets. Watch out Houston, we've got your number!

we must protect this... aaah screw it.

Posted by: SSFSCoWA | November 6, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Really, isn't Wilbon just advocating fan-on-fan violence at Fedex?

Posted by: kingrob76 | November 6, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon is a prime example of the perils of affirmative action.

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 6, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

My question is this: Who is this Caps Nut idiot that says there are more Steelers fans in Baltimore for Ravens/Steelers games than were at FedEx the other night?

He obviously has never been to a Ravens Steelers game. If he has, it must have been back in Memorial Stadium days, because Steeler fans haven't had a presence in Baltimore since the stadium has opened. Get a clue before posting, Caps Nut. Just because Skins fans sold out doesn't mean Ravens fans do...

Posted by: BMore10 | November 8, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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