Your choice: SEC championship or NFC championship?

Let’s do a little experiment, very unscientific of course, to determine whether or not the Atlanta area is a college football town or a pro football town.

Last week I raised this issue in response to the Atlanta Falcons’ desire for a new open-air stadium to eventually replace the Georgia Dome. I wrote that while I greatly respected owner Arthur Blank and the Falcons organization, any decision regarding a future stadium must take into account the college events that are currently held at the Georgia Dome.

Specifically I was talking about the SEC championship game, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Kickoff Classic, and the potential to host basketball events such as the NCAA Final Four, SEC and ACC  tournaments. Lose the Dome (the city can’t afford to maintain two stadiums) and replace it with anything less than a facility with a retractable roof and you risk losing those events.

Then I wrote that, after all is said and done, Atlanta is a college football town. Always has been. Always will be.

Not all of you agreed.

**–“Just curious,” a gentle reader wrote. “How many SEC regular season games are played indoors?”

 The answer is zero. The answer is also irrelevant. Regular season games are put on by the respective institutions. The SEC championship is put on by the conference and is a much more than just a football game. There is a lot of stuff going on with the SEC FanFare and other ancillary events. Would the SEC definitely leave Atlanta if it had to play outdoors? I can’t say that.  But I can say that the fact that weather will not be a factor in the game is important to the SEC.

**–Another reader argued that Atlanta is not a college football town because Georgia Tech is not a national program and the University of Georgia way over there Athens. First of all, read your history about Georgia Tech.  You’ll find that guys named Heisman, Alexander, and Dodd coached here and that the Georgia Institute of Technology is the defending ACC champions. Travel the country and you’ll find that Georgia Tech is indeed a national program.

Secondly, the next time you’re in a large gathering of people, ask everybody who attended an ACC, SEC, or Big Ten school—or calls themselves a fan of one–to raise their hands. You’ll be surprised at the number. Did you know there was a Big Ten Alumni Association in Atlanta? Did you know that on Saturdays during football season there are gatherings in this town for just about every Division I-A team you can name?

**–Consider this:  Obviously the largest alumni group for every SEC school is located in that school’s home state.  Last time I checked, the SECOND largest alumni group for every SEC school (except Arkansas and possibly LSU) is based in Atlanta (obviously, the largest for Georgia is here). How many Clemson, Duke, Florida State, and North Carolina alumni live in Atlanta? A bunch.  All those alumni make Atlanta a college football town. I know they are here because every time I write something stupid about their team that they don’t like, I hear from them.

So here is today’s experiment:  Say it was possible to choose, at random, 100,000 people in Atlanta who only identified themselves as sports fans—nothing else, just sports fans. Promise them a ticket to one of two sporting events:

**–A ticket to NFC championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys at the Georgia Dome. The winner goes to the Super Bowl.

**–A ticket to the SEC championship game between No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama at the Georgia Dome. The winner goes to the BCS title game.

Which game would the most people choose?

Which game would you choose?

Just asking.

 

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 PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be sitting in for Brandon Adams today and Thursday on the “Brandon and Woolvey” Show on 790 The Zone from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Today we’ll be talking a lot about possible expansion and how it could impact Georgia and Georgia Tech. We also have some guest coaches in Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and North Carolina’s Butch Davis. I’m looking forward to working with Jeff Woolverton again. If you get a chance, please tune in.

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438 comments Add your comment

Ack

May 25th, 2010
8:19 am

It’s not even close… the SEC championship game.

mootpoint

May 25th, 2010
8:22 am

NFC championship. Screw the gaytors and bama! At least the Falcons are a Georgia based team, even if your not a fan. There’s city and state pride at stake.

Bulldog59

May 25th, 2010
8:23 am

I’m with you TB, you made your point.

Herschel Walker

May 25th, 2010
8:24 am

The NFC Championship game….and I still can’t read

NOLE VIC

May 25th, 2010
8:24 am

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BY FAR

Keith

May 25th, 2010
8:25 am

Not even close, huh? NFC Championship. You can put it on the board. Yes.

Jacket Backer

May 25th, 2010
8:25 am

i’d ask for ACC tix instead!

Go Jackets!!

The Reason Bama Sucks

May 25th, 2010
8:29 am

Go ahead and schedule it today Tony. Bama is in evey year as long as Saban is there!

Just Say No

May 25th, 2010
8:29 am

to the No Fun League

Dink

May 25th, 2010
8:30 am

SEC Championship, Go Dawgs!

Gatorsam

May 25th, 2010
8:30 am

Don’t care who plays in Atlanta. Live in SE Georgia and Atlanta certainly doesn’t care about us.

KR

May 25th, 2010
8:30 am

SEC championship, without a second thought.

I’ll go one further: I’d take the ACC championship tickets over the NFC championship.

Beverly Harrison

May 25th, 2010
8:31 am

I’ll take the annual Bama/Florida match up.

Kiffinisatosser

May 25th, 2010
8:32 am

Actually Tony, this is not a well-crafted question. You have one Atlanta team (the Falcons) playing in the game but no Georgia-based team in the college game. If it were UGa in the game, it would be no contest. That is the real measure of the popularity of college ball in Atlanta.

82Dawg

May 25th, 2010
8:33 am

Jacket Backer …..that is the easiest ticket to get in the world

bill

May 25th, 2010
8:39 am

Tony,
Right on, as always. Actually, it goes much more, as you imply, than college vs. pros. It’s all the other things that happen for people to attend. We lived in Ohio years ago when they were looking to get in on the major pro sports action. They ended up pursuing (and getting) an NHL team. Why? Because it has 40+ home games/yr vs. 8 for an NFL team. Plus, the arena lends itself to concerts, the circus, etc…. Something an outdoor stadium doesn’t so much.

As for the question posed… no contest, college sports over pro any day!!

PhilDawg

May 25th, 2010
8:40 am

SEC, SEC, SEC!!!!!!

Ron Mexico

May 25th, 2010
8:42 am

I’m amazed that you’d think it’s irrelevant that the SEC Championship game is played in such different conditions from each and every regular season SEC game. That’d be like saying it didn’t matter that the SEC (as a conference) decided that for the championship game, they’d use an NFL football instead of a regulation college football. It’s still a football, right?

I don’t dispute your point about Atlanta being a college town – though with the many transplants, it can be *as much* of an NFL city as a college one – but the fact of the matter is, the SEC Championship game should be played outside. There’s simply no arguing that (no, just because “it’s always been that way” doesn’t count).

David

May 25th, 2010
8:44 am

I’m not saying this just to back your point… I really would chose SEC championship tix. Heck, I would even chose Chick-fil-A bowl tix over NFC championship.

BAMA1

May 25th, 2010
8:46 am

SEC Football!!!

Big Al

May 25th, 2010
8:48 am

learn something everyday

May 25th, 2010
8:48 am

I’ll take the falcons tickets please. I don’t care one lick about foriduh or bammer. Put UGA in it and I’ll change my pick.

Tony Barnhart

May 25th, 2010
8:49 am

Thanks for your point, Kiffin. But if I had put Georgia in the SEC championship game ranked No. 1 or No. 2, that would have been too easy.

Ron Mexico

May 25th, 2010
8:50 am

And I think your experiment is a little flawed. Seeing who would go to the SEC Champ game vs the NFC champ game may tell you who likes each one more, but who would PAY to see either one is the stat that matters. Give me a choice to see for free, and I’d take college football every day. But I’m not going to pay comparable dollars for those tickets to see two teams that I’m moderately interested in – I’d rather spend my money supporting the home town team. And that is where McKay will win.

I hear there's some good real estate behind the Wal Mart

May 25th, 2010
8:51 am

NFC. Anybody who’d rather see Alabama in a conference title game than the Falcons can pack up and move to Tuscaloosa.

Worm

May 25th, 2010
8:52 am

SEC, without ?

learn something everyday

May 25th, 2010
8:52 am

I still would prefer an outdoor stadium for the falcons though Tony… but everyone has a preference.

Beast from the East

May 25th, 2010
8:54 am

No brainer. The SECCG wins hands down.
By the way, when can I pick up my tickets from you, Tony?

Zombie Erk Russell

May 25th, 2010
8:56 am

NFC championship game. I’d watch the Falcons any day any place. Now as Kiffinisatosser mentioned, if this was between an SEC championship with UGA playing and an NFC championship with the Falcons, that’d be tough.

And just an aside, I think the sample you’re asking is a bit skewed. Your blog attracts college football fans more than NFL fans. Go to the Falcon blog and the results may be different.

And.. one more thing.. I just got tickets for the Man City match at the Dome in July. Futbol!

GATORZONE

May 25th, 2010
8:58 am

Here’s a little chant I saw before each game…

S.E.C.S.E.C. We are the best, cause we are number 1!

It gets me fired up.

Andrew

May 25th, 2010
8:59 am

NFC any day.
I prefer professional over amateurs. Not sure why so many people like a watered down product.

Trey

May 25th, 2010
9:01 am

Why do you have to make a choice? Both would be played here. Football is meant to be played outdoors. Having one bad weather day in 5 years for the game doesn’t lessen it if it’s outside. In fact, it would make it very compelling. That is what football is all about.

Colonel Rebel

May 25th, 2010
9:01 am

Well considering you have Bama and Florida in there, and I am an Ole Miss Alum originally from Dallas, Texas I will take my tickets to watch the Cowboys win another NFC Championship on their way to Super Bowl #6.

Other than the Cowboys being in the NFC game here, I would happily take the SEC tickets every time. And yes, I am still holding out hope that the Ole Miss Rebels make it to the SEC Championship in my lifetime.

Tony, how was jury duty that day I met you in line at the courthouse in March? I got let go, but not after a marathon day of waiting.

Georgia

May 25th, 2010
9:04 am

Take a look at your 401k when the market closes tony. Are you still only focused on football? Things are going to get much worse.

I hope you hedged! Not.

jerry

May 25th, 2010
9:05 am

Pro football all the way.

Kiffinisatosser

May 25th, 2010
9:07 am

In other words Tony, your initial question is really a no-brainer and you wanted to show that even if you handicapped it, college would still win. And I think it would. Then again, this is a self-selecting audience of nuts who have college football on the mind even in the depth of the off-season!

jerry

May 25th, 2010
9:08 am

Hedges in the right spot can make a lawn look nice but they need trimming at times.

Lonesome Dove

May 25th, 2010
9:09 am

Depends on who is playing at halftime at the Super Bowl. :-) SEC!!!

Atlien

May 25th, 2010
9:10 am

Although I enjoy the Sec championship game there is no way I’d miss the Birds in the conference championship game at home with the superbowl on the line. Thankfully with the current scheduling I’ll never have to make that choice!

Who Are You? Who Who

May 25th, 2010
9:12 am

After watching all of my illusions about the Who being shattered in last year’s Super Bore halftime, I think I will spend the entirety of next year’s on the john. All them nachos and wings gotta go sometime!

UK Blue Mist

May 25th, 2010
9:13 am

SEC championship…….not even close

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

May 25th, 2010
9:16 am

How bout the Rolling Stones at halftime of the Atlanta NFC championship? I know that the Georgia Dome has good wheelchair access!

SOGADOG

May 25th, 2010
9:16 am

NFC championship game, but only because I am depressed by the fact Florida has once again beaten out the Dawgs to go to the SEC championship. I cant sit there and watch Florida play in the Dawgs place. Besides, I have like the Dallas Cowboys since I was kid.

Mike

May 25th, 2010
9:18 am

Definitely would choose any big time college game. The no-fun-league does not draw as many visitors from outside the metro area and cetainly is not as exciting either on or off the field as major college football. The SEC championship and the Chick Fil A bowls are intense, raucus filled with loud fans. The nfl crowds are quiet until there is a big play but for the most part people sit and watch. There is no comparison.

sidewalk74

May 25th, 2010
9:19 am

Why Bama Sucks

May 25th, 2010
9:20 am

Hey Blue Mister, the only relevance of UK to the SEC championship football game is as continuing to faithfully play the role of speed bump.

rocksteadyfreddie

May 25th, 2010
9:25 am

SEC championship game, every day and twice on sundays.

The Most Interesting Man Alive

May 25th, 2010
9:29 am

No, Brainer Tony SEC football is king in the Southeast the Falcons are not even close.

14TH--ON THE WAY

May 25th, 2010
9:32 am

Tony,

As a Bama fan this is a real tough choice—NOT

SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC

longtimesecfan

May 25th, 2010
9:34 am

this central fla gator goes to atlanta for the SECCG. I turn on tv for super bowl if not mowing lawn. but i prefer outdoor games.