We altered our original plans of visiting the West Coast football teams. We made it to Las Vegas and Los Angeles in week 1, but San Francisco, Seattle, and Arizona remained. So we decided to fly out for a Sunday night San Francisco game, Monday night Seattle game, and a Thursday night Cardinals game.
Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers
We played it safe by flying in late Saturday night to San Francisco and saw rain was in the forecast. We held off on buying tickets Sunday because prices were dropping as the rain kept falling. There were $12 tickets before the game started, but those seats would have left us drenched. Levi’s stadium is known for not having much cover from the sun or rain, and it was hard to find seats. I was able to see some covered seats for $50+ but didn’t like their locations. Then I spotted club-level at the 40-yard line in the 100s. They had partial cover and access to a club that would protect us from the rain. For $80, I decided to “splurge.”
NFL ticket prices are highly variable. We watched Las Vegas seat prices drop from $900 to $180. I felt paying half that price to have a better game experience would be worthwhile. I also realized we had nothing else to do that day, and the club level opens up 3 hours before kickoff.
We walked a little over a mile from our hotel in our ponchos and felt diagonal rain and harsh winds for most of the walk.
There wasn’t a good pin selection, so we quickly got to our club. We were the only fans there, and I felt very out of place. We walked around and saw food stations set up with typical game food. Next, we walked towards our seats, where we realized we were now at field level. We watched the tarp getting taken off the field and walked up to our leather cushioned chairs.
Unfortunately, they were right on the edge of coverage, but it could have been worse. We walked around the stadium concourse, taking in our food and drink options. I mistakingly missed an opportunity to buy a drink cup as they were sold out later in the game. My son wanted a crab sandwich, but at $19, I told him to see what exactly the club had first.
We walked back down to our seats and showed the usher our tickets. Although he told us that we got free food, I didn’t believe him. When looking for tickets, I saw the section next to us (115) had free food, but ours did not. I walked down to the field level and asked the other usher, and she told me the same thing. I was confused because a buffet was gated off, and we only saw food stations for us. As we walked closer to the food stations, we had an epiphany; There were no prices!
We had roughly six hours to eat as much food as we wanted for free. I had two vegan dogs, pretzel with cheese, nachos, three bottles of water, two packages of Red Vines, and some M&Ms. The alcohol wasn’t free, but paying $12 for a Coors Light is a solid reason to stay sober.
The game itself was wet and sloppy. There were multiple fumbles and drops. We even got to see Carson Wentz in person throw his second shovel pass interception near the goal line. Finally, we retreated to the club with 3 minutes left in the game to go to the bathroom, grab some more M&Ms and watch the Colts seal the game away.
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
When I booked a direct flight from San Jose to Seattle that arrived at 2 pm, I probably thought the Monday night game started at 715. When I realized that it was a 520 start because it was the West Coast, I was a little nervous but figured we would still be ok. However, I was flustered when I woke up Monday morning to a two-hour flight delay. We don’t show up late to games. We generally show up at least an hour early to navigate the long pro shop and food lines.
Our flight was an hour delayed. I paid for rideshare to our hotel directly instead of taking the cheap and straightforward train. We checked into our hotel, got our ponchos back on, and walked to the stadium.
The Seahawks were the second team to require vaccination proof, which they did quickly. We saw an excellent selection of pins and made our selections. We got a 12s Combo (two hot dogs, popcorn, and two bottles of water for $12) along with some candy, pizza, and a souvenir Sprite Zero.
Finally, we made it to our seats, which were gifted us by a season ticket-holding friend, just in time for the game’s first touchdown.
I want to thank whoever designed the stadium to have an overhang personally. We were in the upper deck but stayed dry and protected from the wind.
The game itself was not great, but at least it was close. We got to see Matt Hasselbeck get added to Seattle’s ring of honor.
We squeezed out of the stadium and made it back to the hotel at a reasonable hour. West Coast night games play at the proper hour.
We stayed and saw the Space Needle and enjoyed some Hawaiian fusion before heading to Arizona.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
I knew the stadium was not close to the airport, but rental cars were $150 for the two days we would be there. Our hotel was 5 miles from the field, and we decided to use rideshare convenience. So we got in Wednesday night, and I ran towards the stadium Thursday morning.
We had a few hours to kill before the game. So we decided to head to a mall right next to the stadium before the game. We had some lunch and Dave and Busters before waking to the giant dome.
We walked past an insane amount of Packers fans. I assumed it was just because we were in the tourist area. However, when we entered the stadium, the sea of green engulfed us.
There were probably 50% Packers fans. Many people who realized Wisconsin weather was terrible and retired to Arizona were excited to watch their golden boy toss the pigskin.
Packers versus the Cardinals was the biggest game of the year for us. After the Bills-Chiefs game disappointed, I was glad that two of the top NFC teams lived up to the hype.
After seeing the bills slip away a win in Tennessee, we were emotionally ready for Kyler Murray to throw an interception, but it still was exciting to watch.
As we left, there was a mass of people, and I had no cell phone reception. I figured I could walk for a mile and find a ride. I was wrong. It wasn’t a question of price; Glendale couldn’t handle someone looking for a ride away from the stadium. So we walked another mile, and I stopped for 15 minutes trying to get a Lyft. No cars.
We were now 3 miles from our hotel, and my son seemed unphased. So we walked another mile and stopped for 10 minutes. No cars. So we walked the last two miles back to our hotel.
Having to walk five miles back from a game is something we will both always remember. But, at least it was a nice night.
We only have nine stadiums left. We will be traveling to Dallas, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Miami, New Orleans, and Houston. Then finish up in the middle of December in Detroit and Monday Night Football in Chicago.