In Game Entertainment: A Plea From the Stands of Neyland Stadium
The University of Tennessee has the worst in-game production in the SEC. Critically poor timing for announcements, dated music over the PA, a painfully unimaginative band, embarrassing half time performances, and limited crowd participation highlight just some of the areas the Tennessee in game experience falls far short of its SEC peers.
Now, let’s get this out of the way and give credit to the Pride of the Southland for a top notch pre-game routine. LSU is the only school coming close to Tennessee in the 15 minutes leading up to a game, and the gap is still large. The rumble of the stadium during the Volunteer Wave as the Power T marches down the field is unmatched.
Let’s also remove the extremely lazy, “we just need to win” argument right away. You don’t have to win to put on a good show. You can win and totally underachieve in the entertainment department.
The in game experience should support and bolster the home field advantage. A more engaged crowd is a louder crowd. Static noise is what we’re after here, folks; not better Verizon connectivity with more people “down in front.”
It’s almost as if they are making decisions with the sole purpose of deflating the crowd. The list of head scratching moves is seemingly endless…
3rd quarter touchdown to cut the deficit to 7 points? Let’s trot out last year’s women’s swim team before the kickoff. That should keep ‘em wired in.
Early 1st quarter punt that pins Florida inside their own 5? What better time for a GIANT CHARITY CHECK presented by Dave Hart?
Down 20? Crank up the band; it’s time for Livin’ on a Prayer.
Critical offensive drive in the 2nd half? Let’s send a pep band around the stadium generating tons of noise!!!
Offense on the field? CRANK UP THE WAVE. It’s always Section J.
What’s worse is when the administration acknowledges the shortfall in entertainment and falls flat on its face attempting to improve it. Ex., 2012 orange pants “flash mob” to All of the Lights. Understand that there were men sitting in a room on a Tuesday saying “what do we need to keep the crowd engaged through breaks,” and they settled on 50 sorority girls doing card tricks in Section D with Johnny Majors. At least they hit a home run with a pop song from 3 years ago.
This article kicks off a yearlong analysis of the in game experience in Knoxville. After each game, we’ll put together the highlights and lowlights. We’ll also look at our experience for most, if not all road games judging Tennessee against its peers.
So far this offseason Butch Jones has been in touch with the Tennessee fan base as much as any coach in the last decade including Bruce Pearl.
We’re not asking for much, Butch. The occasional a-cappella rap beat before a kickoff; an updated band playlist; proof that someone has a pulse when coordinating videos and announcements; and when in doubt, DO NOTHING. Just get out of the way and let the crowd be the crowd after a big moment.