The Death of the Davis Wade Atmosphere

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

What was once an incredible home field advantage has taken a noise dive with commercials, untimely music and kiddie games. (yes, a noise dive).

There have been a lot of complaints about the atmosphere at Davis Wade Stadium, and they are all justified. The video board was electric and enhanced the game experience in 2009 and 2010, but much like our play on the field it has slowly deteriorated to the point to where it's a hindrance more than anything.

The Music

I don't know what type of music to play and I don't really care, but the timing of it is awful. I went to the Kentucky game with my dad and he pointed out something regarding the music. If you'll notice they play it on full blast up until the time the ball is kicked on a kickoff, or when the ball is snapped when coming off any game stoppage. Is this being done to prevent the fans from ringing their cowbells?

I think this music is being blared to the point of actual game play because they are afraid if they aren't making noise on the video board just before the play starts we'll be ringing our cowbells and continue through the play, thus a violation of SEC rules.

The problem with all this is that it kills the intensity of the stadium. It would be one thing if they played music non-stop throughout the game whether there was a play going on or not. It's like at a concert where you're hearing loud music the entire time and your energy level is up because of it. Well, when you hear the music for 3-5 minutes straight and then all of the sudden it's turned off it's almost eerie. It's like the actual playing of the game is a depressing moment that takes away from the show that is the video board and its speakers.

Just prior to a kickoff the crowd should be into the game and saying/singing/humming "oooooooooooooooooooo" in unison. As it is now it's like a surprise that we're ready to kick the ball. People aren't into it. The focus isn't on the game, and that's a problem.

As an aside - whoever is controlling the music needs to learn how to use the fade lever. Just pressing stop on the music sounds terrible. I think there are 10 year olds who could show them how to do it.

Commercials

The commercials are terrible. It's non-stop the entire game. The 4th quarter it does let up a bit but they are still there. I want to throw up from the line of six 15-second commercials during a 1:30 timeout. There are audible groans when the Mercedes Benz commercial comes on. When you're trying to pay attention to a football game it's real hard to focus on what's happened or about to happen when a mega-tron video board is blasting out a bunch of ads. Excuse me for being an actual football fan, but I'd rather pay $20 more for my ticket if it would mean we could get rid of those commercials.

The games and activities that go with some of these sponsors are just ridiculous. Are we an SEC football program or a single A baseball team? I do not have to be entertained with these mind-numbing games for three hours. I came to watch a football game. Are there people that get into the hat game or chicken dance? Absolutely. But would they miss them if they were gone? Well, if they answer is yes then maybe we need to have an education system to create a better football fan base. But I doubt they would be missed just as I was fully entertained pre-jumbotron era with just football and marching band.

Now, if we're at the point where it's a blowout win like Alcorn State or Troy then go ahead with the commercials and especially those games. Games can get stale when it's not close, but if it's an SEC game it's gonna be close and the crowd needs to focus on the game.

In place of these commercials just play music or let the band play during timeouts. It's pretty simple.

Student Section

By now you've heard the complaints regarding the student section. Leaving at halftime to prep for Homecoming parties vs. Bowling Green and being half full during fall break vs. Kentucky are just the latest issues.

I've heard a bunch of comebacks from the students. From uncomfortable conditions in that section to not liking the product on the field - there is simply no excuse. It's not just MSU students though, it's all over the place. Even the students at Alabama are leaving early. In fact, Nick Saban addressed the issue and they've taken away 20 student organization's block of seats for leaving games early. I would suggest we do the same.

One complaint I don't want to hear again is "the alumni don't cheer as loud as we do". I know students are young and have yet to get to the point where they work all week, support children, and issue after issue comes up during the week that makes you mentally exhausted come Saturday, but that is what these alums are going through. It's not a hard life I'm describing - this is America and we all have it pretty easy. But when you're 18-22 years old you have a ton more energy to get into these games and get to live a virtually carefree lifestyle while in college, allowing you to be at your mental peak all week long. Not to mention half are drunk and it's easier to go nuts with a pint of whiskey in your system.

Those are the reasons you get to go to games for cheap, and in return you're expected to cheer loud for 60 minutes. If not, then we need to make different arrangements with the student section.

Mr. Stricklin

I know you're trying to create memorable "experiences". That's commendable, but at the end of the day each individual experience is going to be defined by the following two things that you have no control over:

  1. Did MSU win?
  2. The people you come to the game with.
The product on the field is what should sell tickets. When MSU starts winning consistently and competing for four quarters in each game you can easily raise ticket prices and sell out the stadium without having to create additional entertainment. And if the current football coaching staff is not getting us to that point you may have to make some tough decisions rather than adding more commercials and games. By doing that you are hurting our program two fold: sub-par coaching and a horrible atmosphere (note: I'm not calling for Mullen's dismissal....yet).

You are losing actual football fans in an effort to get casual fans in the gate. Seriously, I think the atmosphere in my living room is better. I can focus on the game without all the distractions. I know a lot of other football fans feel this way. You are giving Bulldog Club members no reason to give more money and move up the list for better tickets, because, who cares, the atmosphere sucks. That may be a bad attitude to take, and you could say I'm hurting the program by not supporting it regardless, but I am taking a stand. I firmly believe it is hurting our ability as fans to impact the game and I want it to stop.....NOW.
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