Falcons fans: Are you willing to let it snow, let it snow …? (UPDATE: Will Bears-Vikings be moved here?)

A fans view of last week's Bears-Patriots game in Chicago. (Don't worry, it's not this bad in Atlanta.)

Fans' view of last week's Bears-Patriots game in Chicago. (Don't worry. Atlanta's not this bad.)

(UPDATED below with news that the Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings game is considering the Georgia Dome as a fallback site.)

Hello. It’s cold outside. Do you love football enough to sit in this for three or four hours?

This topic has been going around ever since Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced that he wants to build an open air stadium. Personally, I love open air stadiums. The sounds are better. The smells are better. It just feels more like football.

Besides, I get to sit inside a press box.

What kind of stadium should the Falcons build?

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No seriously, while I’ll give you that I grew up in the not-so-brutal winters of southern California, I did sit outside through many cold and rainy games. (The hot chocolate never stayed hot in the thermos, by the way.) But I’ll grant you that I never had to sit as a fan through an outdoor game in snow or ice, at least not since press boxes were enclosed.

(I twice covered NFL playoff games at the old RFK Stadium, which had an open press box. I learned it’s difficult to type with frozen fingers and icicles hanging from your nostrils. But I do remember Furman Bisher wearing a very cool houndstooth cap.)

OK, back to the point of this blog. Would you sit in this weather for a football game? I imagine many of you have done it for a Georgia or Georgia Tech game.

But have you been spoiled in the last 18 years by the Falcons playing in a dome stadium?

Got a poll up. I’m giving you three choices. But if you’ve got some time, why not share a cold weather sports story with us. Could be fun.

(FYI, I’ve added a retractable roof as one of the three choices. But because of the significant additional cost, I’m not sure Blank considers that an option.)

UPDATE: With the Minnesota Vikings still unable to play in the Metrodome because of its collapsed roof, there’s a chance their Monday night game against Chicago will be moved to the Georgia Dome, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Vikings’ first choice is to play at the University of Minnesota’s stadium, where workers are trying to shovel snow out of the seats, aisles and field. From the story:

The Vikings badly want to play the game in Minneapolis because Monday is the culmination of a weekend celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the franchise. Other dome stadiums have been mentioned as possibilities, including stadiums in Detroit and Indianapolis. Although they don’t have final say, the Vikings logically would be opposed to both options and even St. Louis because they know the stadiums would be filled with huge pro-Bears crowds. One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said if the game isn’t played in Minnesota the likely destination is Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

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200 comments Add your comment

JSS

December 16th, 2010
8:58 am

Ha ha, No!!!

Paul H

December 16th, 2010
9:06 am

UGA and GA Tech both have outdoor stadiums and UGA especially has NO problem with getting butts in the seats. The people in the South are passionate about football and will gladly watch an outdoor game regardless of the weather.

Paul H

December 16th, 2010
9:08 am

There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad dress. :)

md

December 16th, 2010
9:08 am

Did it at the old Fulton County Stadium……….wouldn’t do it again.

The toes in the snow hurt too bad to ever want to do that again. Not being able to run around like one does when skiing/snowboarding makes a huge difference.

JSS

December 16th, 2010
9:10 am

Well Jeff Schultz, you know where I went to university, so you know I ain’t afraid of the elements. But as a person who sat in the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium on multiple times in late December and once in January (1/4/1981 to be exact), the fools who want a outdoor football stadium in these climes are crazy! The NFL playoffs are played in mid to late January. You live on the edge of the Appalachians, and every cold front meets the influence of the Gulf of Mexico moisture here!!! That is insanity, add to that the silliness that Atlanta traffic flow, boom!!! Go turn on the news, don’t waste my tax money that way…

BW

December 16th, 2010
9:11 am

A retractable dome is the only thing that makes sense. Let the Falcons get their revenue and allow Final Fours and the SEC Championship and other events stay indoors.

BW

December 16th, 2010
9:12 am

I went up to Charlotte for last weekend’s game and the only two things that were fun was the Falcons kicking Panther butt and the company of friends.

mountain_jim

December 16th, 2010
9:15 am

Football is a sport meant to be played in rain, mud, and snow, or on real grass under real open skies when the weather is good.

Plus the blimp shots are so much better. :)

Vader

December 16th, 2010
9:15 am

The ability to retract a roof is insignificant compared to the power of the outdoor stadium.

JSS

December 16th, 2010
9:17 am

@ Mountain Jim…
Ain’t no plane or blimp shots in bad weather!

Nathan

December 16th, 2010
9:18 am

NEVER!!!!!!! We love the GA Dome. If you are building something, make a roof that opens and closes. Outside stadiums= NO!!!!!

Mel in Midtown

December 16th, 2010
9:19 am

Both UGA and GATech are NOT playing football outside past mid November, long before “winter” arrives here, so that argument doesn’t hold. While the GA Dome isn’t a perfect venue, it is a multi-use venue. Because of it, we have the SEC football championship, the Chik-Fil-A Bowl, the NCAA Final Four and is applicable for other large events that wouldn’t be possible with an outdoor stadium.

coachx

December 16th, 2010
9:23 am

I’m a season ticket holder but would probably stop renewing if it goes out doors.

If you look at the crowd of he Bears games its 95% men sitting through the snow. 40% of the Falcons game day attendants are women. I can’t see them sitting through that weather.

College is so different. There is usually only 1 or 2 at the most, cold home games per year. The UGA / Tech games is alwayse cold but the season ends 2 days after Thanksgiving. The NFL still have 5 to 6 games to play after UGA / Tech’s homes games are over.

Jeff Schultz

December 16th, 2010
9:25 am

JSS — I see you’ve become a weather wimp on the left coast.

senior falcon

December 16th, 2010
9:26 am

I, too, spent some cold afternoons in old Fulton County stadium and I wouldn’t(even if were younger)consider doing it again. And don’t forget about the rain.

Jeff Schultz

December 16th, 2010
9:26 am

FYI — folks, updated this blog with word that the Georgia Dome is a fallback option for Vikings-Bears Monday night game.

TagButler

December 16th, 2010
9:29 am

The Georgia/Georgia Tech comparison doesn’t work — college football finishes around Thanksgiving. The coldest NFL games are in December and January, risking much worse weather than the college fans ever had to deal with.

JSS

December 16th, 2010
9:29 am

@ Jeff Schultz…
Nope, I still hit Mt. Shasta and Mt. Hood… But I’ll be darned if I’m going to pay Arthur Blank to sit in the cold rain, sleet, and with boorish fans! Robert Kraft, maybe, Blank? Heck no!!!

Bravissimo

December 16th, 2010
9:31 am

Having to drive 3 hours to sit in rain,snow or sleet. Im gonna think more than twice about going to a Falcons game in Dec or Jan.

The JWad

December 16th, 2010
9:31 am

How do you vote for “Who Cares?”

Hank

December 16th, 2010
9:32 am

What! No way. I live here because it does not get cold and blustery. Let the midwest and north have the snow and cold. The dome is great and let me watch football played in the snow on T.V., where snow belongs. Football should be played in 80 to 90 degrees and practice in 90plus. The 50s are the coldest temperatures we can handle. Cold weather makes you slow and miserable, ask Ohio State.

Covers Dixie like the Dew

December 16th, 2010
9:32 am

Merry Christmas Jeff and Furman.

bmoney

December 16th, 2010
9:32 am

i watched a 1-AA playoff game in the snow in Greenville SC many moons ago. Would never, ever do it again. Play indoors at the Dome.

BTW – if the Falcons build an outdoor stadium, there’s no chance in hell of Atlanta hosting a Super Bowl.

Paul H

December 16th, 2010
9:33 am

As long as they don’t put their logo on our field like they did in Detroit!

Jeff – what do you think about that? Should a neutral game be able to remove the home team’s logo?

Wayne Langley

December 16th, 2010
9:35 am

This poll should be limited to only those who
really come to the games. Many people talk
big about sitting outside, but would never
go. I sat at the old stadium many a miserable
day, but won’t do that anymore. Give me
a dome or retractable roof.

How bout them . . . . . . . . . . 11-2 Falcons

December 16th, 2010
9:35 am

College bowl teams do it all the time.

JPO

December 16th, 2010
9:35 am

No way. And as for Georgia and Tech, they stop play long before the coldest weather hits anyway. What about rain days? None for me. It my feel more like football but it sucks. That said, I kinda like the Packers games in Winter. But keep the GaDome.

senior falcon

December 16th, 2010
9:36 am

Also, I think in this day and time that anyone who builds an open-air stadium should be required to have a covered fallback OR be required to reimburse the league for loss revenue.

Just Sayin

December 16th, 2010
9:36 am

Good point Mel. Would we sit outside in bad weather if we HAD to? Sure, some will. Do we WANT to? No. Put a retractable roof on the place. They suffer in those cold weather cities year after year because it’s tradition – a badge of honor. That’s not the case here. As far as the Bears/Vikings game possibly moving to Atlanta, there would likely be about an equal number of TRUE fans of both in attendance, not just casual spectators as in Detroit on Monday. What a treat for transplants and I think they’d sell the place out.

Ackshun

December 16th, 2010
9:36 am

Frankly I think all new stadiums should be domed or have retractable roofs. There is nothing “romantic” about freezing your butt off staring at a bunch of grown men slipping and sliding across a grid-iron in the middle of a Noreaster. When I go to a football game I want to see FOOTBALL! and don’t tell me the elements are part of it. All they do is blunt the athleticism of the player. Who wants to see Desean Jackson relegated to the sprint speed of mere mortals? Not me. Trust me if the people who invented this game had the technology and resources available to them, it would have never been played outdoors.

merculf

December 16th, 2010
9:37 am

for all of you talking about Tech and UGA playing outside…remember the last game is usually in Nov. not Dec. or Jan. Big difference.

I'm Gumby, Dammit!!

December 16th, 2010
9:37 am

I sat through the Dallas playoff meltdown, and other than the outcome, that’s the way football should be played. OUTDOORS. Yes, it was cold, but it beats sitting in the dome, feeling like you’re in your living room. For all those that say football is better indoors, grow a pair.

Nathan

December 16th, 2010
9:37 am

Been a season ticket holder since 1996, We do not need a outside stadium. It would cause attendance to decrease because many ppl are NOT going to sit outside. If you want to bring a reteactable roof, cool, but NO WAY I am sitting outside

jeff

December 16th, 2010
9:38 am

In 1996 I saw Ohio St. play Michigan in Columbus. Back then the south end of the stadium wasn’t closed and it was just metal bleachers and I swear your butt froze to the seats. It was so uncomfortable it wasn’t really any fun even though it was a great game. The Falcons play so well indoors I think they should stick with what works.

Bravissimo

December 16th, 2010
9:38 am

Actually on second thought….If Im allowed to sip from my flask and have an escort from one of the cheerleaders to the train…hell yea ill sit in the snow :)

DawgFan

December 16th, 2010
9:39 am

To all the people complaining about having to sit in the elements during football season… you realize Green Bay is laughing at your complaints, right?

All of the SEC teams play outside all year (save for maybe the Kickoff Classic game) and no one has a problem with weather affecting the outcome of those games, but for some reason we can have no variables whatsoever for that early December SEC Title game. What a joke.

By the by, I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life. Give me an outdoor stadium, I love it.

Double Zero Eight

December 16th, 2010
9:40 am

I spent many miserable days at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.
I prefer a dome with a retractable roof. If it is built, it should not
be funded by the taxpayers.

DawgFan

December 16th, 2010
9:41 am

Mel – remember that Georgia and Georgia Tech typically play each other the last weekend in November. Georgia plays Auburn before that, in late November. Tech plays whoever it is they play (Duke, or someone like that…) in late November.

Good Grief

December 16th, 2010
9:41 am

I believe there’s more Chicago fans living in this area than Minnesota fans but if the two teams are willing to travel I think it would work out. Im sure the transits will make it out to the game

PMC

December 16th, 2010
9:43 am

Retractable Roof is Valhalla. Football is awesome outside most of the year….but it’s more enjoyable to watch when it’s comfortable.

More people will come if they are comfortable. This city simply isn’t passionate enough about pro sports in huge numbers that would fill a huge stadium outside in the cold.

That said, if they built a reasonably sized stadium in this town for once instead of grossly exaggerating the fanbase they could easily sell it out no matter what it was.

A 50K – 55K football stadium would sell out all the time.

85K won’t unless you get fringe fans.

Turner Field should be midtown or near Centennial Olympic Park and only hold about 42,000. They would easily sell that out more often.

PMC

December 16th, 2010
9:46 am

and all that said, I still have absolutely no issue with the Georgia Dome.

Ted Striker

December 16th, 2010
9:47 am

Dome. And not a new one.

PMC

December 16th, 2010
9:48 am

Outdoor Stadiums are much much more of a showpiece, but the idea that football “should be played outsided” meh.

I liked playing it outside better. Sure, I liked getting chalk all over my uniform too. But… sitting in it. Nope.

Rambo

December 16th, 2010
9:48 am

I have watched the Bears at Wrigley Field when it was 10 degrees and at Soldier Field when it was 33 and raining. I have never been so miserable in all my life. I was at the Falcons playoff win against San Fran in ‘98 and even with a considerable amount of anti-freeze in me from tailgating, I couldn’t wait to get inside. Even drubbing the ‘9ers in that game wouldn’t have warmed me up if it was outside. At the very least, we need a retractable dome.

Larry

December 16th, 2010
9:49 am

Jeff,

Look outside right now….cold and rain! I’d rather be in the Dome!

I’ll take a retractable roof, thank you!

the real Old Gold

December 16th, 2010
9:49 am

If these Falcons were in Fulton County Stadium the seats would be full. The Peach Bowl also had no problems. Having said that, I love the Georgia Dome. It’s great for the Falcons, GA State, and GA HS football. We need to re-roof the Dome and be done with it.

Hank

December 16th, 2010
9:49 am

DawgFan – They are laughing in Green Bay and other miserable places but, the laugh disguises the absolute misery. Secretly they are hoping they die at the game and are saved from more frozen winters. Think about it, if they really like the cold, Why do they play hockey INDOORS!

mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore

December 16th, 2010
9:49 am

why is it that all these pro sports owners (pick your sport) think they can hold a city hostage by demanding a new stadium. Some of them go so far as to threaten to move their teams. If they want a new stadium pony up at least some of the money.

Angus

December 16th, 2010
9:50 am

How difficult/possible would it be to host a few Falcons game a season at the Ted?

If it could be done, I think that’d satisfy the novelty of outdoor, NFL football.

Just saying..

December 16th, 2010
9:52 am

Falcons season ticket holder since 1992, now halfway down close to the 50. I’d seriously consider giving up the tickets, without weather protection.