I had seats in the first row at the recent NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots. I brought my camera and took as many shots as I could of the action since I was so close. I did my best impression of a sideline photographer.
The game was at noon, so we left at 10am, thinking that would be plenty of time to get there. We were wrong. The Vikings are currently playing at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of MN Golden Gophers while the new Vikings stadium is under construction. Traffic was very heavy getting to the game.
We had pre-paid parking at a lot near the stadium. When we got there, we realized we were parking in a tailgate lot, and had to slowly, carefully, and awkwardly drive past football fans in the lot who were happily drinking beer, grilling, and playing catch. Then we just parked in a space where previously people were playing catch after they moved their beer. Embarrassed, we hurried out of there to get into the stadium.
Our seats were right by the tunnel where the visiting team enters the field, which we were not aware of, but it was a very good surprise to see the Patriot players up close.
The view from our seats was great. We were so close that the cheer leaders could obstruct our view of the game with their pom poms! Thankfully I only have one shot where this happened.
I did get a shot of Greg Jennings making a catch in the front corner of the end zone, but he only got one foot in bounds. I didn’t see that particular foot myself because a cheerleader obstructed my view.
Another thing I experienced (that I did not expect) is that a lot of fans ask for mementos from the players as they exit the field. Lots of shouts for gloves, head bands, etc. from the players on their way out. Here’s a photo of Aaron Dobson throwing his gloves into the stands. I couldn’t bring myself to take part in the mayhem since I was wearing a Vikings shirt and asking Patriots for mementos just seemed wrong.
Unfortunately, the Vikings lost the game, but it was a great experience.
All of my photos can be seen on my Flickr account here.