Attendance smack talk at spring football games: Just say no


The big talk of the weekend came when someone estimated Georgia Tech drew 117 fans for their Friday night spring football scrimmage. Nobody knows where that number came from, but if you study the above photo closely, it seems possible.

Of course, that photo doesn’t tell the whole story. By Friday night, it had been raining all day – Good Friday – and it hadn’t stopped raining even after the game began. Still, hundreds of fans came to Bobby Dodd Stadium to watch the Yellow Jackets, but most of them took shelter in the covered sections.

Yet GT was skewered for their poor attendance as fans of other football teams failed to realize sitting outside in the rain and watching a fake football game in downtown Atlanta is the second-worst thing you can do on a Friday night. And it’s only second-worst if sitting in a jail cell is an actual option.

Florida State also suffered similar social media ridicule from football fans when the Seminoles only drew 36,500 for their spring football game. Why isn’t anyone coming to watch these practice games like they do in the mighty SEC?

(Also read: Here’s how much it cost Arthur Blank to land an MLS team)

Here’s my take on the annual spring football scrimmage. ESPN manufactured the importance of a spring game in recent years as a way to break up the monotony of a slow spring sports schedule and capitalize on football fans who missed their favorite sport. It’s a great idea, but their coverage of these fake football games gives fans a reason to believe they have actual importance, when in reality, they’re just scrimmages.

So drive to campus and watch your alma mater go through the motions if you want, but it’s not something I’ll ever do.

Naturally, Southeastern Conference fans take it more seriously than other fans because it gives them a chance to pound their chests and insist they care more about their football team than you do. They fill their stadiums to watch Nick Saban scream at some poor walk-on who was accidentally blocked into the starting quarterback and made contact with his non-throwing arm (for shame!). Or you can see which of Tennessee’s big-name recruits will eventually underachieve in Knoxville before getting dismissed.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday! Let’s all pile on top of each other and sweat in a jam-packed stadium while we watch our team play … our team!

When you think about the annoyances of traveling to campus for a fake football game and spending all that money on gas, food and hotels, it almost seems like we should be lauding Georgia Tech’s fans for finding something better to do with their Friday night, not bashing them. Why stand in the rain all night to watch a team run a couple dozen plays that have absolutely no bearing on their season?

Save your money for a game that matters, and save your smack talk for the regular season.

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