People were drinking, grilling, scalping, selling, and celebrating as if it were November against a fellow AFC North team. Fans were rubbing Johnny Unitas's foot for good luck, even though they all knew that the outcome of the game didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. And, while admission lines were shorter than regular season, they were still substantial (good to be a female in that scenario).
During the first quarter, the stadium was electric, especially when Haloti Ngata intercepted a pass and ran it in for a touchdown. Ticket prices went up this year and 16 oz. domestics remained at their absurd $7 price. But it didn't seem like fans were hurting for money, as most were buying beer after beer and, just like regular season, some got a little out-of-hand.
While the game was great (even if the score got a little too close for comfort) it made me feel sad for the neighboring stadium that barely gets any end-of-summer love. Most people say that if the Orioles were as good as the Ravens, they'd be getting sell-out crowds every game, too.
But I think it has more to do with the experience. There are only so many football games per season, and going all-out for a tailgate is a little more hardcore than sipping Boh's outside of Pickle's. There's a certain intensity that surrounds football and its fandom, and even if the Orioles had a winning season (imagine that!), I'm still not sure it would be the same.
[Image: courtesy of craig365photo.blogspot.com]