New England Patriots’ Fan Death Shows Dark Side Of NFL Games
Going to an NFL game can be expensive. For 53-year old Dale Mooney from New Hampshire, going to the New England Patriots game on Sunday cost him his life. At one time, this would be shocking news. It's not anymore.
Mooney and his family have been season ticket holders in the upper deck of Gillette Stadium, and before that at Foxboro Stadium, for 30 years. Dale probably never imagined that he wouldn't make the trip home one day because of a fight involving other fans. Unfortunately, fights in the stands between opposing fans have gone from screaming matches to death brawls.
The problem often stems from opposing fans elevating fights that start from meaningless comments supporting their teams or roasting the other team. However, some make a sport of it. And a few, often fueled by their favorite beverage or substance of choice take it to another level. According to NBC News, the NFL reported that, with about one million fans attending games each week, 80 incidents of disorderly conduct have been reported so far this season. That is down from 140 incidents through the first 2 weeks last season. By the way, fights involving women are a surprising percentage.
Many blame alcohol but drunk fans at games are nothing new. Some experts believe that the addition of sports wagering has something to do with it. That seems doubtful since fans aren't likely to attend every game they wager on. Some fans complain that security guards "take too long" or "don't do anything about the problem." However, most of the time security guards are made powerless by regulations set-forth by the stadium or the NFL. Many times, when they are able to step-in, they are out-sized and out-numbered until it's too late.
One way to combat the issue will be to increase the number of security guards at each stadium to attempt to extinguish issues before they escalate. Stadiums across professional sports are using hundreds of security cameras in an attempt to identify issues before they escalate. However, the best way is for fans to actually act normal and respect other fans' rights to enjoy the game that they paid for, as well. Respecting your fellow football fans should be a courtesy that doesn't have to be spelled out on a ticket. It's game.