I've often boasted of my ability to snag free tickets at Steelers games. To be honest, when they're not doing well, it's relatively easy. The number of no-shows is sometimes absurd. We went to see them play the Green Bay Packers last year and they still had a remote shot of making the playoffs. The weather was cold but hardly unbearable. Over 7,000 people didn't show up. My sign said...
IF YOU DON'T GIVE US
YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE
The first guy we encountered dished us off 2 freebies. Now granted, this game was a complete lay-down. Fuck it - I've encountered greater resistance trying to buy a Coors Light at the 19th HO. But it got me to thinking. You always see these articles about how much it costs for a family of 4 to go to an NFL game. Somehow, it seems to approach the $750 threshold. And that's for the seats in peanut heaven.
So let's try to do the exact opposite. I'm going to lay out a deceptively unsophisticated game plan to get you on your way.
Here's the hypothetical scenario for the Steelers/Raiders game on Nov. 21. It's currently scheduled for 1pm but it could turn into a night game based on the flex scheduling. I doubt they'll move it though because the Steelers have already had a glut of prime time games (that's because the Steelers rock, but I digress).
Alright, we're coming from Wheeling so git in your car at 8am sharp. I have no tolerance for a late departure. In my book, 9:30am is always the latest acceptable departure time. Why would anyone want to sit in that bullshit traffic and forfeit valuable sightseeing/tailgating time? So the drive up is going to cost you in terms of gas money. But I have figured a way to shave off some dollars. When you get on the parkway, get off at the Green Tree exit on 279N. Make a left and go through 2 lights. On your right is the Best Western Parkway Center Hotel. It's a large hotel with ample parking. Enter the lobby on any Sunday and you will see a mammoth, deluxe complimentary breakfast. All the fixins! Even kosher low fat Jew ham! So stock up. You'll feel like it's a Bob Evans buffet. Alas, you're not really "down on the farm." More likely, you're "up on the hill at a horribly disjointed intersection." Anyway, just relax and get a grip. Read the sports section and feel free to use the immaculate restrooms in the lobby.
Here's where the entertainment begins. They run a free shuttle from the hotel to Heinz Field and the casino. As a "valued customer," feel free to hop on. I would suggest tipping the driver about 3 bucks. Hell, it's a gesture. And he/she is going to drop you down right at the main entrance. So fuck that $50 Gold Lot parking pass or that $40 Carnegie Science Center Lot bullshit. And the myriad of $25-$30 spots on the North Side can also go to hell.
Or you can just make the drive down to the North Shore. I prefer off street parking near the main drag - Federal Street in the crack district and greater meth area. It's about a 3/4 mile to the stadium.
Alright, so you just saved a bundle on parking. But what about alcohol? No self described fan can go to a Sunday afternoon game without imbibing a few drinks to get in the mood. At least, that's the impression I've gotten over the years. The rampant alcohol and substance abuse is on par with a Skynyrd concert at Starlake. So Saffy, how do you get free drinks? EASY. Have a dollar bill in your hand and approach a group of tailgaters drinking cheap canned domestic beer - Miller Lite or IC Light is always the best because you know it didn't cost them much. Look for the moment when a man is talking to his wife or girlfriend. Ask the following question, "Hey you guys, could I buy a beer off you for a buck?" 9 times out of 10, the guy will toss you a beer and say, "Oh, don't worry about it man." It's important to always ask the male though, not the woman. The man will always want to appear benevolent and philanthropic in front of his lady friend. Oddly enough, it doesn't work as well if you ask the girl.
You can do this one all day long.
If mixed drinks are your thing, fill up a high quality ziplock bag with Captain Morgan. Yellow and blue make green, asshole. Just make sure to seal it thoroughly. I'd suggest 2 ziplock bags as opposed to just a single. You still have to buy a Coke or Sprite on the inside though. But there you go. You'll feel like you're in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Well, on second thought it's a ghetto approach so maybe a cross between downtown Kingston and the northern Ukraine.
But Saf, I want to buy some official Steelers merchandise. What about that? Well, personally I'm not a big fan of the $250 Polamalu jersey. Now if some brother approached me on the street corner and had a $10 t-shirt that said, "Big Ben Raped My Mom" - well.... I'd probably cave. But yeah, what about some over-priced NFL gear for the pseudo, wannabe fan, lame ass American consumer/sheep? Here's what I would do. I would get 2 yellow dishrags or hand towels from the bathroom closet. Bingo! Instant 25 cent terrible towel. There you go. I usually carry a black marker at all times. So just right the word "Steelers" on it. Or better yet, write "GAY" on it - a tribute to our cornerback William Gay. It's my dream that one day, he makes a big hit on Terrell Owens over the middle. The TV announcer yells out, "Oh No! Sodomized by Gay!" (A Freudian slip) Is it doubtful... yes. Is it possible? Well, maybe in the 1-2% range. Still though, dare to dream.
Another option for free merchandise is just to sign up for a credit card and get a free Steelers Snuggie or crappy, mid-end fleece. Then, immediately cancel the card the following day. You could provide false information, but these days, they almost always check your drivers license to verify everything. Another option is to create a diversion. Have a friend fall to his knees like he's having a heart attack or a diabetic reaction. When the Visa-Mastercard asshole offers assistance, sneak behind the stand and snag 10 t-shirts. As you walk away, yell "Steelers shirts! 1 for $10, 2 for $15!"
But Saf, I need tickets and the damn game is sold out. Yeah, they've been sold out since 1973 and the waiting list is 10,000 douchebags thick. So now I'm going to give away the infamous Saffy/Steelers free ticket acquisition theory. If you read my blog about the Ravens game from a few weeks ago, you'd know I made a sign that said...
IF YOU GIVE ME A FREE TICKET,
I PROMISE I WON'T SIT NEXT TO YOU
Needless to say, it worked in less than 5 minutes. A man gave me an $86 ticket in the 500 section. Now, you can make a sign say anything you want and you'll get predictably limited results. The trick is in the execution. When you stand outside the main entrance, there are a series of 6 benches that run parallel to the main gates. Simply step up and stand on the bench. I prefer bench #2. I'll label it accordingly when I'm at the game next week (Sunday fucking night - Bellifuck is comin' to town! Honestly though, I prefer him over Santa). Anyhoo, this forces about 40,000 out of the 65,050 entrants to read your sign. Play the laws of probability. There are many "fans" (I'd say about 32 people, mostly older white men) that regularly eat their tickets. They usually sit in the obnoxiously overpriced 200 club level. These are the $250 seats. They are unwilling to sell them for fear of sitting next to a drunken, snotting slob while they entertain their derivative trading clients. They also don't want some weirdo dressed like a Catholic priest with a black and gold hat trying to molest their grandkids. Speaking of odd head gear, I'm finally going to construct my black and gold "Terrible Turban." This is the final step in bridging the gap between atheist Jews and militant Islamic fundamentalists. With my assistance, we'll usher in that new found era of cultural understanding and acceptance that has proved so defiantly elusive since Jesus Christ died for my sins or Mohammed slaughtered a cow or whatever.
So there you go. I think we covered all the basics. Food, beverages, merchandise, and tickets of course. Saf, how can you give away these precious game day secrets. It's easy I tell ya. See, I also play the laws of probability. Let's assume there's about a baker's dozen weirdos who regularly read my blog. Of that 13, 3 have never been to a Steelers game. 1 has never been to Pittsburgh. Another 4 can't tolerate the concept of standing on a bench, opening themselves up to potential scorn and ridicule. That's right - It comes with the territory, bitches. Another 2 don't like to be outside in the cold. And another 1 thinks NFL Football sucks. He/she prefers going to church on a Sunday. Weak. That leaves 2 people to compete with on game day. I'll take my chances.
And just for the record, here's my 5 team parlay. 3 upsets, 1 over, 1 under.
I like CAROLINA over New Orleans (7 point underdog)
Buffalo over Chicago (3 point underdog)
and INDY over Philly (another 3 point underdog).
Take the OVER 40 in the AZ at Minnesota
and take the UNDER 44.5 in the New England at Cleveland.
I don't bet anymore but it pays $20 to win $1,267.