Despite a great time with Bret, I’ve probably seen my last live pro football game.

Bret and I drove up to Seattle yesterday to watch the Steelers play the Seahawks. We encountered snow flurries around Olympia, but temperatures were high 40s in Seattle. Weather was fine for a football game. (The game itself was another matter, a review of which you can read in Sports.)

Parking and traffic could be worse but not by much. Around the stadium traffic neared gridlock, and we barely moved for over an hour. Once we did get going, parking prices flabbergasted us: $25 for a spot within three blocks of the stadium. The lot cost dropped gradually as we moved away from the game location: $20, $15, $12, $10, $8…we parked maybe half a mile from the stadium for $6. We called our hoof to the stadium our “$19 walk.”

I loved the time I spent with Bret—we get along famously and share the same goofy sense of humor—but the NFL experience left a lot to be desired. We encountered way too many Seahawk fans who were, to put it politely, jerks. It’s not like the Steelers contingent (who were very well represented) are without morons of their own (there’s me, for starters), but the Seahack faithful seemed particularly vile. (I attended a 49er game a few years back and encountered no such hostility or incivility from Niner fans. Perhaps it’s the weather. Or the proximity of Microsoft.) Suffice it to say that a Seahawk game is in no way, shape, or form family friendly entertainment unless you’re in a private suite or box seat. I heard comments from my $50 nosebleed seats that would make a sailor blush. (Whenever these individuals are asked to be a little less coarse in their commentary, they inevitably respond with something like “I paid fifty $#@! dollars for this seat, so I can say whatever the #[email protected] I want!”) This made my experience a little less Fan-tastic than the league would prefer, I’m sure.

Ultimately, a Seahawk football game—much a like a Trailblazer basketball game—represents a certain nadir in corporate advertising tie-ins and exposure. The game was presented by Home Depot implying, I guess, that their materials helped build the stadium or something. Every timeout seemingly featured a different sponsor until by the end it all became one big wash of sales pitches, none of which had anything to do with football barring the mutual desire of the NFL and their sponsors to make money. To say that they’ve oversold the game understates matters considerably. Given what they’ve done, it may not be possible to sell the game further.

The overall effect on me—a big fan of Steeler football—cannot be what the NFL would want to hear: I have no plans to ever again attend an NFL game. I’m not saying that I’ll be turning down free Steeler tickets if they come my way, but the day’s cost for gas, game, food, etc. ran about $200 for the two of us. Add to that an inexplicable lack of replays on the in-stadium Jumbotron, and sitting at home in the La-Z-Boy with a bag of popcorn and a Coke looks mighty appealing. Plus I can mute the commercials.