Cheeks in the Seats

If you are a fan of the St. Louis Rams, this is required reading. Fandom comes with very few strings. You can claim to your friends that you are a huge fan, and very few will question the legitimacy of your claim. I now say to all fans of the Rams, if you do not attend this Thursday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, you deserve to have your fandom questioned for ever more.

This game is a momentous event of unprecedented significance. Yes, the Superbowl win of 1999 had historic implications far beyond this game. At the same time, attendance at the game was in no way necessary. In fact, attendance at the game would have been considered more of a reward for a fan than a burden. I can think of no other game since 1995 that offered as little reward to a fan, yet had the pervasive effect on an entire season, even on the future of the Rams in St. Louis.

This is the one game in the 2012 season that is a mandatory attendance event.  Here are all of the reasons why:

1.  The Rams future in St. Louis is in question. This may be the reason why the Rams currently are last in the NFL in attendance. Yes, last. According to ESPN, the Rams are averaging 53,586 per game in 2012. The stadium has capacity for 66,000. Thursday night's game is on national TV against an undefeated team in our division who has a history in St. Louis. If we can't get full attendance for this game, we deserve to lose the Rams. Some may argue this point.  However, anyone who thinks that people watching the game or executives in the NFL will not be thinking this exact thought is naive.

2.  The Rams have won both home games in 2012, and the fans in attendance have given it their all to establish a home field advantage. Nevertheless, we have not had one penalty on the opposing team that was obviously caused by noise.  On almost every significant defensive play, you can see the players calling for more. The fans get louder, but there simply are not enough cheeks in the seats to raise the roof of that cavernous dome. To give the Rams the best chance to win this game, they need a real home field advantage. 

3.  Moreover, this game, has an ability to affect future games at the dome. If the Rams win on national television and everyone sees the effect of the crowd on the game, opposing teams will have to prepare for and worry about coming to the Edward Jones Dome. 

4.  Finally, given that this is a evening game it is highly likely that the fans will imbibe large quantities of festive libations, which has the potential to create a raucous atmosphere.  A win in that atmosphere will cause many St. Louisans to want to attend the next game. If attendance for this season rises, the Rams will have a difficult sell to the NFL why they need to leave. More fans in attendance also raise the possibility of more wins.

In the end, I do not believe that this one win will guarantee a great season of winning football. However, I do believe a sold out party atmosphere has the ability to minimize memories of past failures and focus people on the next game at the Ed for the team that is undefeated at home.

I acknowledge this game offers the fan very little reward. We can all find a good excuse to party, without having to drop serious money on tickets and 8 dollars on beers. Nevertheless, I believe this game demands something of the St. Louis fans.  This game demands your attendance.

If you agree with this article, please forward it on e-mail, like it on facebook and/or retweet it to your followers. Let's get more cheeks in the seats on Thursday night.   

It should be noted that the Rams have special events planned for the game and special pricing.