Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys
Our Epic Field Trip continued in Dallas. I had seen a Cowboys Bears game in Dallas before my son, and AT&T Stadium was born. I returned years later to see a mammoth building standing next to Suburbia.
My son is a Falcons fan. First, he was a Patriots fan, then the Panthers, and finally, he stopped cheering for Super Bowl teams with the Falcons. It takes a strong will to stick with a team that suffered an all-time Super Bowl loss.
We have not seen a single Falcons game yet, but Week 10 brought us to Dallas to watch Kyle Pitts faceoff against Trevon Diggs. The Broncos had just blown out the Cowboys, and the Falcons had just upset the Saints. So we were ready for a great game.
We were disappointed.
The stadium was eerily quiet. It felt almost like a preseason game. But, of course, the Cowboys don’t have many games in the early window throughout the year, and maybe they were sure they were going to handle the Falcons. The stadium was complete except for some club seats, but we didn’t feel like we were in a hostile environment even as we wore our Falcons jerseys.
We were able to get tickets in row 4 of the upper deck for only $107 when they were over $200 the week before. Even though we were in a corner endzone, we could still see the enormous jumbotron in the middle of the field just fine.
We also were able to witness one of the worst beatings I have ever seen. I attended most University of Illinois football games during their 1-11 2003 season, but I don’t remember seeing a 43-3 massacre.
The crowd seemed to know something we didn’t. The Cowboys were never losing this game.
New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcons
We had seen other teams get blown out and come back strong. We were hoping for the same. So we drove slowly on US-20 East for a Thursday night game in Atlanta.
Night games always have a different feeling. It was great to see the stadium with the neon red lights and the giant falcon outside. The gates were supposed to open at 630pm before the 820pm start, and we wanted to get there early because I secured two Dirty Birds Nest tickets. These are special seats for actual Falcons fans to cheer on their team. It’s also first-come, first-serve, so we wanted to get good seats. At 620, the gates were already open. Figuring all the fans had already made their mad rush, we took some pictures outside.
When we got to our seats, we saw only four other fans in the section, and the first ten rows were gated off. So I got a sense that Atlanta fans might not be as excited for the game as we were. The additional bonus was making it on the jumbotron. They usually don’t show some random guy with a Bears jersey on dancing, but we had our Falcons gear.
I walked around the stadium to be stunned by food and drink prices. I have been taking pictures at each game to track costs but didn’t need to reference anything to know that a $1.50 hot dog was the lowest we’ve seen.
The Falcons were without their top offensive weapons, and it showed. They were outclassed again, this time by one of the AFC’s best teams. The Patriots fans did what Patriots fans do, but no fights broke out. It was a 25-0 shutout, not a great run for the Birds.
San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
We were not expecting much going to Jacksonville. We were not disappointed.
Walking into the stadium felt like a trip back to FedEx Field. Now the stadium is in much better condition than FedEx field, but it is just a stadium. The Pro Shop is confined to the halls of the first level, a layout that seemed to suggest they didn’t even hope to sell any merchandise.
They did have a mascot jump off some lights and two swimming pools, but it all felt small and old.
We sat in front of some self-deprecating Jacksonville fans who appreciated our journey. We told them as long as Washington was still around, they wouldn’t be the worst.
We saw the San Francisco 49ers control the ball for over 13 minutes to kick a 20-yard field goal. The response from the crowd was overwhelming, “meh.”
The Jaguar’s offense never really showed up, but the weather was nice. San Francisco 30. Jaguars 10.
New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We drove to Tampa immediately following the Jacksonville game. I didn’t know there was so much emptiness in the middle of Florida.
I could not understand why someone would want to pay over $150 to see the Giants lose to Tom Brady, but I guess New Yorkers enjoy the pain.
It was our fifth Monday night game in eleven weeks. So we will end up seeing seven total. I would love to see more Eli and Peyton, but what are you going to do?
We seemed to be sitting in a bit of a group of Giants fans. I would say about 15% of the fans were there to watch Saquon Barkley underperform. Brady threw an unfortunate interception to gift the Giants with a touchdown, but the Giants had no offense and fell flat in the second half to an identical score of our previous matchup.
Buccaneers 30. Giants. 10.
128-23 were the combined scores of the four games we saw. Hopefully, the last five can give us something more entertaining.
Then There Were Five
We took a flight from Miami back to Chicago. Here’s our remaining schedule.
Carolina Panthers @ Miami Dolphins: November 28
Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints: December 2
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans: December 5
Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions: December 19
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears: December 20