Two things about the Vikings’ new stadium design made me happy, and neither had nothing to do with the squeegee-proof roof.
While playing under the plastic bubble was what got the attention of most fans and media alike, what interested me most were two elements that got very little coverage – a big screen that is actually a big screen and the ability to have acoustics that allow concerts.
It’s been so long since the Metrodome opened 31 years ago that most current Vikings fans don’t remember that it was hailed at the time as a state-of-the-art concert venue. Then again, they also hailed the wide concourses, ample bathroom space and plenty of nearby parking. But, of all the failings of the Metrodome, Minnesota was deprived of stadium-only type concert acts because the Metrodome acoustics were brutal.
The first “megashow” was a double bill that included Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. The acoustics were so dismal that even fans accustomed to genuine Iron Range gibberish coming out of Dylan’s mouth on a good day (much less an early 1980s-fueled mindset) were confused. Considering the concert introduced a foreign smell to the Metrodome, you would have thought half the crowd wouldn’t have cared how horrible the acoustics were. In between trips to the concession stand for hot dogs and Fun Yums, the complaints were such that future concerts, including a then-up-and-coming star named Madonna, cancelled shows at the Dome. In the decades since, any hope of having a legitimate music show put on in front of 60,000 people has been scrapped.
The other feature of the stadium that will be appreciated is the inclusion of an actual digital TV screen. There are players who own bigger screens than the two that adorn the Metrodome. To say they are embarrassing is an understatement. The Zapruder film has more clarity than the two Metrodome screens and, one can only imagine, when it is pulled out, it won’t be a flat screen. It will be a 40-foot box like the types of TVs only seen in landfills or around dumpsters waiting to go there. The renderings of the new stadium included a big screen that, from the naked eye, appears to be 10 to 20 times bigger – tabbed at 50 feet high by 120 feets wide. Thank you, stadium builders. A squinting fan applauds you.
While I still fear that an obese hang-gliding enthusiast is going to “break in” the new roof with an unflattering image for the fans inside, the roof was the least of the worries for those who are interested in the new stadium truly being a multi-purpose facility. From the sounds of things, concert enthusiasts and those who want to see a replay on a screen larger than their favorite local bar will have their needs met after more than 30 years.
Whether the stadium looks like a monstrous version of the AMC Pacer is irrelevant to those people. Birds poop on glass, so perhaps the new stadium will create more jobs than originally thought.
The Cleveland Browns signed a former Vikings punter who was released after the draft. No, not Chris Kluwe, but T.J. Conley, who was released immediately following the draft when the Vikings signed Jeff Locke. Conley is currently the only punter on the Browns roster with any NFL experience – he punted for the Jets in 2011.
From the Mix Tape Department comes this: New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly decided to show his musical virtuosity by blaring music during the team’s minicamp practices. Kelly claimed there was a science to the tunes selected. Really? Science? It would appear that Kelly was cranking tunes from his own youth, including AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, Van Halen’s Panama, Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train, Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf, Queen’s We Will Rock You and The Scorpions’ Rock You Like a Hurricane. Not completely stuck in the ’80s, the mix disc included more recent fare from such artists as 2Pac (not too recent, obviously), Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, Nas, Flo Rida and the Philly-friendly Dropkick Murphys.
Former Bronco and Jet quarterback Tim Tebow has an offer of the table to play football this year. Unfortunately, the offer is from the (no kidding) Omaha Beef of the Arena Football League.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.