"The crowd, as a whole, is polite," which makes for a good atmosphere to "bring the kids" but "a pretty bland" place to watch a game. "Rams fans are not passionate about their team and it shows" -- in their penchant "for leaving early," in the sight of "people on cell phones" and in how "sedate" they are "if the Rams are not running up the scoreboard." These "typical fair-weather fans" "sit most of the game," but others argue "the crowd takes advantage of the amount of noise you can make in a dome" "when the Rams are playing well." And in the crowd's defense, "poor lighting," "piped-in," "out-of-place pop songs" and "commercials the Jumbotron shows during timeouts and in-between plays" "totally takes the crowd out of the game." "It's hard to stay motivated when the PA plays the B-52's Love Shack on a third-down stand."
3 out of 10
FOOD & SOUVENIRS
Soda (14 oz.)
Beer (24 oz.)
Expected Meal Cost
"There never seems to be any shortage of beer at the seats, so that's nice." It's also logical in Anheuser-Busch's hometown. As for actual sustenance, "there is no shortage of concession stands throughout the concourse" either. "Food is very average" and comprises "little more than the standard fare of hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn and pizza." But there are "carts that line the back of the concourses from local restaurant chains," chief among them are the "superior nachos at Chevys Fresh Mex." Should you have the good fortune to be in the club level, "carved prime rib" and buffets featuring "Mediterranean, Italian, barbecue and deli" food await. For the rest, "the good news is that we eat real well at the pregame tailgate."
5 out of 10
"St. Louis is a relatively small 'big city,' so the traffic isn't what you would expect from a New York or Chicago." The Dome's location on "the north side of downtown" makes for a lot of "one-way streets," and surface parking space near the stadium can cost "a premium." Traffic is "spread out" by the "number of different highways and routes that converge in downtown St. Louis," although "the city doesn't seem to do much to combat game day congestion" "except for a couple of traffic cops." Generally a straightforward commute, travel to the Dome is complicated by "all the godforsaken construction taking place," an issue that "will likely get worse with the anticipated shutdown of Highway 40." The city's light rail system, Metrolink, "helps with traffic" and the difficulty of parking at a stadium without its own lot. "The Metro pretty much goes directly to the stadium," which "makes getting to the game really easy, "if somewhat crowded."
7 out of 10
"Tailgates are disjointed from each other," a result of the stadium not having a large lot of its own and from the tearing down of "the biggest and best lot for another flippin' casino." Consequently, "you have to pick and choose from several smaller lots scattered around the [area]," from church parking lots" to "parks" to "shopping centers" to "garages." Many readily admit "the scene pales in comparison to K.C.," however it is still "pretty active." Some groups come in "decked-out" "motorhomes" and "set-up couches and TVs in the parking lot;" some "show up late, cook a hamburger or a brat and call it a tailgate."
Outside of its St. Louis location, nothing distinguishes the Edward Jones Dome as the "home of the Rams." To some, the "stadium feels like a warehouse, completely lacking in any personality;" "to others the Dome "is a dime a dozen indoor box that does nothing to distinguish itself from a run-of-the-mill convention center." Indeed, "cheesy ads are blasted throughout the game, interrupting any energy flow," and "the sound system is so loud it is unintelligible." Lighting that evokes a cross between "a dentist's office" and "a large, finished basement" further lend an antiseptic atmosphere to the facility. At least "wide concourses make getting in and out" of this "clean, spacious" place "easy." And, most important, "the Dome helped get the team [to St. Louis], so we can't complain too much."
6 out of 10
"It varies greatly," from the "bars, restaurants" and Gateway Arch of Laclede's Landing east to the "office buildings and hotels" south to the "generally poor, depressed area of town" north. After "blocks of old warehouses were recently demolished for a hotel, condo conversions, restaurants and shops," this "once-desolate side of the stadium is being revitalized quickly." And if the game doesn't offer enough juice, "two casinos are nearby," one right across the street."
6 out of 10
We're not quite sure whether Rams fans were always this dispassionate or whether having their hearts broken by the Cardinals made them this way. Of course, we can't discount the effect of rooting for a team that operates as if it's directing fans for a movie shoot rather than a football game. No matter the reasons, a football team deserves better crowds and football crowds deserve a better atmosphere. With a team that has some of the game's most exciting offensive talents, the fix shouldn't take much more than a few key hires, especially in game day operations (and perhaps on the sideline if the Rams continue to squander their talent) to remind everyone in St. Louis that the game's the thing more than just another sideshow.
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