Tuesday's Patriots mailbag on crowd noise drew considerable reaction from fans. A sampling of the responses:
Are you kidding me? These fans who have season tickets complaining that they don't make noise because they fear losing their season tickets is nonsense. They're happy to be sitting in the warmth of the club drinking their 10-year old scotch. Nobody would lose tickets for being loud. This is a terrible cop-out for people who don't deserve to go to games. The Patriots should do what Ricky Davis did for the Celtics. Get Richard Seymour to buy out a small section of the stadium and make fans audition for the seats. The loudest, zaniest fans get to attend. Similar to the "Dog House" at Northeastern University during hockey games.
Mike Olson, Somerville
One comment on crowd noise: I was In Boston to see the moribund Bruins with my brothers and decided to watch the Pats game instead and the bars are rocking with the real fans. Enjoyed the comments on Seymour except the person ranting about his contract etc.
Jeff Byers, Naugatuck, Conn.
That Colts game ripped the heart out of Patriots fans. How many times was The Razor ready to explode only to see another third and long converted by Indy? Fans don't have the same confidence since that game but luckily it seems to be coming back after the past couple of big wins. If I were the reporter talking to Seymour when he made that comment I would have asked him if he realizes just how bad the defense has played and why he thinks they deserve more crowd noise for their 'efforts', if you could even have called them that.
Mike Mahoney, Louisville, Colo.
Not to beat a dead horse, but I have one more comment on the fan noise at the stadium. I have been a season ticket holder for 13 seasons and am lucky enough to have my seats on the sidelines in the 100's very close to the field. I can tell you that since Gillette Stadium opened I can count on one hand the number of times the same people are on hand for a game. Corporations own most of the seats around me and they send different customers or employees to the games each week. These attendees then proceed to call everyone in their phonebook to tell them how good the seats are and ask them to look for them on TV instead of paying attention to the game. Each week this season, I have been yelled and screamed at from these people behind me to sit down and shut up, they can't see the game. One person actually said to me "I paid too much money for these seats not to sit in them, so sit down and shut up." In addition, I have gotten pretty tired of trying to make noise on 3rd and 15 only to have the defense give up a play for a first down. It's not any fun attending games when you have to endure the verbal slings from fans, the lack of passion from some of the players, and the poor play execution that had been the new look of the Patriots. I think with improved play especially on defense, the team may hear more noise from the fans.
Wendy, Wells, Maine
I will start this with an answer to the last mailbag and end with a question. The reason Patriots fans do not make enough noise is because the real fans who are passionate, loyal, long-time Patriot fans are the ones sitting home watching the game on TV. The tickets are pricey and the "friendly" atmosphere ironically "forced" upon fans has created a snobby wine & cheese crowd. It has become "trendy" to go to a Pats game and this allows those with deep pockets to go to a "desired" event where they can sit down and enjoy the "show." The problem is that fans like me go looking to see MY team WIN, not to sit on my butt hassling those who choose to "stand." Simply put, the real fans are not the ones at the games -- it's a shame. And, when they do go, it's almost not worth the risk of the Krafts' zero tolerance policy. My question -- do you think this hype surrounding crowd noise will force Bob Kraft to change his season ticket policy?
Adam DeHaven, Taunton
I don't really have a question more a response to the numerous emails about people being "priced out" of Gillette. I have had my season tickets for 12 years now and I haven't been priced out of the stadium, Yes it is expensive but it's something I plan for every year. I know it's going to cost me a good amount but I'm gonna be there and be as loud as I can. Don't try and pin the fact the stadium has been quiet on Kraft for raising ticket prices, please remember when he built that stadium he didn't ask anyone to pay for a personal seat license like other stadiums. This is the same man who kept the team here, the same man who built a stadium out of his own money. I don't blame him for raising prices or for the club seats, all it means is as a die hard fan you need to be that much louder and make it that much harder for the other team. There is a reason why the fans are referred to as the 12th man, it's time to start acting like it and quit making excuses.
Jim Imbert, Assonet
Let's get collective lives! For the first time ever I opened the mailbag only to read about crowd noise. Boooooring! Anyone want to talk about football?
Don Ferguson, Hopkinton
Come off it. Only the wealthy go to games these days? The "average fan" can't afford to go, so the stadium is full of rich people with no football knowledge? What's with the "only poor saps play football" stereotype? There are many people, like myself, that have had season tickets for well over a decade and are always grappling with the increasing cost. Nothing like writing a $2,500 check in March for games 6 months later. So, what to do? You re-sell some, face-value, then go to a few games, and you get to keep your tickets. It's the only way to stay on the list. This obviously doesn't apply to $500 per game club seats, but the other 60,000. I agree, the fans are much less tolerant of standers than years past, but it's not that the stadium is full of "rich people"; it's full of seldom attendees. They don't know what to do, so they sit and watch. They are also unaccustomed to seeing a season without a Super Bowl, let alone one with a losing record, so they can be spoiled. I agree, it's more likely to be quieter and less rowdy this season, but easy with the broad brush, people. BTW, it's easier to cheer if the defense can stop an opponent now and then. Brutal injuries, and I agree they're on an amazing 4-year run, but an 8-minute Aaron Brooks-engineered TD drive is tough to cheer.
Name Withheld to Protect Tickets, Portsmouth, NH
I have been a season ticket holder since '94, so I've experienced both the old and new stadiums. Having read your mailbag about crowd noise at Gillette, I have a question that was not really addressed. Don't you think it's the fact that the Pats have won so much lately that is decreasing the crowd noise? I really don't think it's the ticket prices or the new rules, it seems like the same rowdy bunch that was over at Foxboro Stadium to me. But I was at a game last year in December, and when the Pats scored a touchdown, people hardly cheered. Someone in our section even started the chant of "Win-ning's bor-ing." People have become complacent, and anything less than another Super Bowl isn't going to generate much excitement. That being said, I count on the fans to come through when the season is on the line at playoff time.
Sue Paradis, Brighton
I read through the responses regarding the lack of noise at Gillette and have a couple of additional comments. I think the lack of crowd noise is a combination of factors, most of which were brought up in the mailbag and one which was not. First, many of the seats are club and those people tend to be there for the scene and not the game. Second, the security at Gillette has people scared to death to do anything that might get them to lose their season tickets. I understand the need for tight security after going to Buffalo for a game but the Patriots take it a little too far. There is no need to strip someone of their season tickets for minor infractions. However, I think the biggest reason the stadium isn't loud is the way it's constructed. The old stadium was much louder because it was small and enclosed. The open end of Gillette is a big contributor to the lack of noise. I first noticed this at the first event I went to there which was a Rolling Stones show. I had nosebleeds for both the Rolling Stones in 2002 and 1997 and there was no comparison. The '97 show was loud and I could barely hear the '02 show. The old stadium was one of the best to see a concert, the new one is one of the worst. I think the same could be said for the old Garden. That's my two cents anyway.
Larry Pohner, Chicago
How freezing cold has it been in Green Bay for the past month? Despite preseason expectations, how long has it taken them to win their third game of the season? How long has it been since Green Bay fans gave up on playoffs, and started hoping for a .500 season? Oh, and trust me, it still costs a pretty penny and about 50 years on a waiting list to get tickets to that stadium. Yet there they all are, every Sunday (or Monday), cheering like there's no tomorrow. Donald Driver scores a touchdown, and jumps into the arms of his adoring fans. Brett Favre so much as smiles, and Corey Dillon is wondering where that faint resemblance of a cheer is coming from as he steps into Gillette's paydirt. New England, stop blaming the ticket prices, stop blaming Robert Kraft, AND FOR GOD'S SAKE stop blaming our football team. They've been beaten up, pushed around, and thrown in the dirt. And where are their loyal fans? This team is going to the playoffs ... again. They've overcome injury after injury and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if they won the whole thing again. Oh, how Gillette would be rocking then. So New England, stand up, yell, SCREAM! I mean I don't care if you're at the game of not. Let's go out and show people that yes, New England fans do have a backbone.
Joshua Brown, Blacksburg, Va.
My comment is not how loud fans at Gillette are, but when. If the overpaying fans cheer during offense, this handicaps the offense from calling and HEARING audibles. This is an important part of football, changing plays to offset the D. After going to three games at the Razor I am very disappointed that fans cheer loud during offense and are tightlipped during D. During the Chiefs game in Kansas City, the screens at the stadium read "Quiet, offense working." Maybe Bob Kraft can think of a way to change this for the better of his team. Remember, quiet on offense, loud on D. Let's go Pats.
I grew up about a mile from the stadium, and attended many games. I also had season tickets in 1995, but gave them up to go to grad school. In all those games, 35 or more, I never saw anyone escorted out for being to loud cheering the home team. I saw people being escorted out for being obnoxious and rude, but not loud cheering. The threat of loosing season tickets seems lame to me. Cheer loud, cheer respectfully, and get over it.
Sean Montague, Denver
OK I can't bite my tongue any longer. As for the crowd noise, fans leaving early, getting tickets revoked, and ticket prices, here's my 2 cents. If you can't stay up late for a Sunday night or Monday game or have to leave early on a regular Sunday game, give up your tickets and I'll take them!! I live in Easton, Pa., and would HAPPILY drive all night to get there and get home to go to work the next day. Better yet for the few prime time games a year we have, I'll take the day off and tailgate a bit longer. If you can't cheer for this team, which has given you a free agency DYNASTY, on EVERY defensive down, give up your tickets and I'll take them! I think the question asked in the mailbag was right on: "Is it the team's job to fire up the fans? Or is it the fans' job to fire up the players?" I think it's more the fans that need to cheer on a D that may be struggling. Maybe it's all they need is a little help with some noise to get them going and pull it together. If you are afraid that getting too loud or "rowdy" will lose you your season tickets to the point you won't cheer, give up your tickets and I'll take them!! I seriously doubt that any fan has had their tickets revoked for cheering for the team as long as they were respectful to the other fans. Besides if EVERYBODY got on their feet and screamed their head off and clapped like wild I do not think they could catch everyone! Come on people! The seats are for time outs and when the offense is on the field. It is a highly coveted privilege to be afforded the opportunity to purchase season tickets no matter what the price. I would skimp, save, sacrifice, and get a second and third job if needed to get the money for season tickets. It would all be worth it knowing at the end of it all I'd be going to 8 glorious home games at the Razor!! I'm not sure what the problem is here. I would like to thank those long time season ticket holders, those who DO put up with and sacrifice to be there and cheer LOUDLY every Sunday, and leave with raspy voices and numb hands because I know they are out there. The sad thing is I KNOW these fans have it in them to be the LOUDEST 12th man in the league. The playoff game against the Colts last year was SOOO loud the TV camera was shaking for the whole game!! Guess we save it all up for playoff games. All I can say is if you have any complaints, reservations, inconveniences, gripes, or moans as to why it's a hassle having season tickets, give up your tickets and I'll take them!!
Dave Young, Easton, Pa.
Bob Kraft deserves the blame for the disinterested attendees (not fans) occupying so many seats at Gillette. HE made a concerted effort to court the corporate types. The true fans can't get individual game tix never mind season tix regardless of the price. And while Kraft is taking away tix from fans (such as that guy whose wife sold his tix for ONE GAME on eBay), I can buy tix to any game if willing to pay a premium to scalpers and ticket agencies who actually advertise in the newspaper! Yet Kraft does nothing to stop that abuse and take back those tickets for individual game sale to REAL FANS that might cheer the team to another Super Bowl! Try using google to find Pats tix. Plenty for sale for every game.
"Checking the Patriots' Web site, it looks like prices for tickets are $125, $89, $75 and $59, depending on location. For a comparison, I checked the Cowboys' Web site and their tickets range from $93, $80, $73, $62, $49 and $48. So the difference between the cheapest tickets is $11." How much are scalped tickets from Dallas? Stubhub lists Tampa tickets for $89-$1103. Miami tickets list for $82-$1252. (Actually the cheapest non-single tickets for the Tampa game are $100 each for Standing Room tickets.) While we're at it, how long did Dallas fans try to get tickets for face value the Saturday morning tickets went on sale, only to have the ticketing system dump them out and say something to the effect of "Due to high volume, there is no access. Please try again later." The only Patriots game I ever attended was back in the bitter eighties but now it feels like I'll never be able to buy a house in New England, nor will I be able get tickets for the Pats or the Red Sox, and the losing Bruins and Celtics are no bargain either. And my kid, who's five years old and been to three training camps because they are free, sleeps under Patriots covers, with Patriots Super Bowl banners from XX, XXXI, XXXVI, XXXIII, and XXXIX hanging above his head, wears his Corey Dillon and Tom Brady jerseys at every opportunity and asks me to tape each Patriots game so he can watch them over and over again all week, keeps asking me "Dad do you think we can go to a game one day." Frankly, I'm beginning to cheer less and less even at home. My wife is a recent bandwagon hopper (since Tom Brady, as if you didn't know), and I've got a 2-year old who fights with his older brother over their Patriots football. What's on the horizon for fans like me and my family? Do we stand a chance?
Ara Heghinian, Belmont
I have more of a comment then question in regard to the noise issue, which actually may be moot by the next mailbag. I have been a season ticket holder since 1984. This concept that real fans are being "priced out" of tickets is misinformed. The idea that "real fans" are being excluded and that season tickets should be distributed to non-holding fans is equally absurd. First, the lower bowl seats are $125 each. If you wanted two seats a year, that would be $250 per game, and for 10 games (2 preseason, 8 home games) $2,500 a year. At $2,500 a year for two tickets to every single game is more than "affordable". You could go cheap and sell half the games and be in for only $1,250, even more affordable. Middle class people certainly spend a lot more on toys, cars and vacations. Regardless of how affordable the tickets may are may not be, they are unattainable with an enormous waiting list. This is our segue to issue number two, "why can't the true fans get tickets?" Let's answer a question with a question and ask: Where all of the "true fans" in 1992? There where plenty of season tickets available then. Since 1993 there has been a minute turnover rate of season ticket accounts and most of the people from then are the same now. The people who invested in the Patriots and their season tickets the earliest are now reaping the benefits. Certainly they had their chance to get onto a smaller waiting list throughout the end of the 1990's, and probably didn't do that either. Unfortunately, for the fans of today (three Super Bowls later), they were 12 years too late to the punch. More unfortunate for them, the season ticket holders (who hold 90 percent of the stadiums capacity) are the backbone of the financial body and are certainly not going anywhere any time. Which makes the third and final idea of giving season tickets away to regular fans, the most absurd of them all. Gillette Stadium is essentially a private club, but so was Foxboro Stadium through the 90's. The schedule structure of football doesn't allow those "once a year" single gamers. The true fans knew the situation then and its odd how this is only becoming an issue three Super Bowls later.
Tom Giblin, Brighton
Just wanted to chime in on the lack of noise at Gillette. As a 11-year season ticket holder, it's definitely something I've noticed this year and I've certainly done my best to rally my section (sometimes to the annoyance of my fellow patrons). Anyway, I wanted to pass a little of the blame onto ownership and stadium management. Where are the "NOISE", "LET'S MAKE SOME NOISE", and "TIME TO GET LOUD" displays on the Jumbotrons and other multimedia displays around Gillette that other stadiums have? One of the reasons we don't have those is because just about every possible minute of downtime in the on-field action is used to market the crowd through advertising rather than rile the crowd up through "noise-hasteners." I know the stadium cost a lot of money and someone's got to pay that bill (better the advertisers than the season-ticket holders, although we certainly do our part as well), but the fans are absolutely pulverized with marketing messages at the stadium. We may not want to admit that we need signs to frenzy up the crowd, but obviously we do. Just my two cents -- thanks and keep up the good work!
I was at the Jets game, my first time in Gillette, because a vendor paid a broker for some great third row seats right behind the Pats bench. The crowd in my section was very subdued. There were some old guys, some parents with kids, and some dating couples. On Jets third downs, I would really make some noise and I would get these strange looks. I gotta say here, the fans at Giants stadium and Yankees stadium are much more into their teams than the fans in my section. And, surprisingly, after standing up and cheering, New Yawkuhsk know how to sit down before the action starts up again. I only go to these stadiums when my teams are playing, and I've got to tell the fans back home that they are not even close to the same level. Is this what happens when we get 3 Super Bowls and World Series?
Timothy Tien, New York, NY