Leading Off

Watching NFL at home is better

Among my favorite childhood memories was attending an NFL game with my dad.

In 1972, my folks had two Baltimore Colts season tickets. Most Sunday mornings, Dad and Mom made the 150-mile trek from Ocean City, Md. But on Sept. 24 of that season, I got to take Mom’s place. After paying a buck to park on someone’s front lawn, we hoofed it several blocks to Memorial Stadium, and what a game we saw: Johnny Unitas, nearing the end of his career at 39, and Joe Namath had an epic passing duel in the Jets’ 44-34 victory. Joe Willie went for 496 yards and “The Golden Arm” threw for 376.

Back then, there was no better place to watch a game than an NFL stadium. It was a great experience; plus, unlike today, we had no better option.

We had one TV at home, with three stations, and the screen probably was no bigger than 20 inches. Now we have 60-inch (or bigger) high-definition TVs with surround sound and DVRs that allow us to pause, rewind and review every play. We don’t have to watch the game when it’s played; we can watch it anytime. And you won’t miss the key play waiting in line at the concession stand or restroom.

An even bigger factor is the exorbitant price to attend an NFL game.

I don’t recall how much our Colts tickets cost, but tickets for the 1973 Super Bowl were $15, so games certainly were affordable.

In 2014, according to the NFL Fan Cost Index, the average cost for a family of four to attend a game – four average-price tickets, two cheapest draft beers, four cheapest soft drinks, four cheapest hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least-expensive adjustable adult hats – was $479.11. The 49ers, in their first season at Levi’s Stadium, topped the list at $641.50. The Raiders came in at $420.70.

Why battle Bay Area traffic when you can stay home with friends and have a better experience?


  • WHAT TO WATCH: Baseball, Giants at Chicago Cubs, 1:10 p.m. 1:05 p.m., CSNBA: Mike Leake makes his second start for the Giants in rare Friday day game.
  • TWITTER CHATTER: “@darrenrovell @nflcommish - NFL lunacy! For what ticket prices are, you should be handing a ball to everyone as they come in the gates.” – @tim6510 (Tim Hundley)
  • ON THIS DATE: On Aug. 7, 2007, the Giants’ Barry Bonds hit home run No. 756 to break Hank Aaron’s record. Commissioner Bud Selig and Aaron did not attend the game.