Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Dec 2005

No Alcohol Sales at Jets' Monday Night Game

The AP reports:

Alcohol won't be sold during Monday night's game between the Jets and Patriots at the Meadowlands in an attempt to quell rowdy fan behavior.

The ban comes after nine fans were arrested during the Jets-Saints game Nov. 27. One man was charged with stabbing two fans in a restroom, and a state trooper broke his leg while trying to eject a fan who reportedly threw a beer bottle.

Will banning alcohol sales really curtail these problems, or will people simply sneak flasks in? And is it fair to the thousands of people who want to enjoy a beer or two responsibly that a few people have taken away that privilege?

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 20 Dec 2005

24 comments, Last at 21 Dec 2005, 11:11pm by Russell Levine


by charles (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 10:33pm

What did the two fans get stabbed with, and is that instrument being outlawed as well? Do the meadowlands have metal detectors or not?

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 10:36pm

And is it fair to the thousands of people who want to enjoy a beer or two responsibly that a few people have taken away that privilege?

But since the team/stadium/vendors have a powerful economic incentive to keep on sellin', and they're cutting it off anyway, there's probably some other force at work. Wasn't it the Meadowlands where the vendor was held liable after a drunk fan drove?

I know I wouldn't want to be the one to face a North Jersey civil jury if things get out of hand.

by Setzer (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 10:38pm

No, the Meadowlands does not have metal detectors. Security gives you a pat-down before you get in, however.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 10:44pm

Setzer (#3 )--

And I'm pretty sure the pat-down is more a search for flasks than weapons.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:18pm

Unfortunately, a 9:00 kickoff (Eastern time) provides people enough time after work to get hammered before entering the stadium. This ban will juat keep a bad situation from getting worse.

Personally, I'm happy to give up my chance to drink the occasional $6 beer responsibly if it will diminish the ability of the irresponsible to get/stay drunk inside the venue.

by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:27pm

I might be at that game, too.

by Zac (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:36pm

In other news, Joe Namath has announced that he is not going to this game.

I wanna kiss you...

by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 12:15am

#5 sums up my feelings perfectly. Not having the one beer (occasionally two) at a football game shouldn't ruin the experience. But, there's no guarantee fans won't get really liquored up before the game, either.

by the K (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:00am

Or maybe the Jets fans are just complete asses!

-Signed, suffering Bills fan

by Russell Levine :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 9:23am

Re: 2

Yes it was at the Meadowlands where the team, the vendor and the NFL were hit with a multimillion dollar suit after a young child was paralyzed by a drunk driver leaving a game. The league and the team were dismissed, but the vendor got hit with huge damages.

>Click here for details of the story, including how the man was able to buy six 16-oz beers at once by tipping a vendor $10. (The limit is supposed to be two).

by B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 11:00am

This is unfortunate, if there were ever a group of fans who could use a good drink, it's Jets fans.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 11:01am

Leave it to Jets fans to screw things up for the rest of us. Jets fan on Jets fan crime rears its ugly head.

So the stadium's not going to sell beer, and that's going to make fans less rowdy?

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 11:55am

Yep, because the fact that they don't sell beer at many college stadia keeps them from being rowdy and obnoxious (see: LSU, Florida, etc).

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 12:35pm


Its the monday after Xmas. Most people have that day off, so they will have ALL DAY to get drunk, not just after work.

Serving alchohol inside give the stadium a way to keep tabs on people, and not serve people who are wasted. This just assures that everyone will be totally blitzed when they walk into the stadium.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 2:23pm

Banning the sale of alcohol obviously won't stop people from being drunk at the game, but it will make it harder for people to get "publicly" intoxicated.

Tracking consumption through sales in a stadium is nearly impossible; virtually all stadiums have vendors in the seats as well as concession stands. Even if you don't have someone else with whom you can take turns getting beers, there's nothing stopping you from making two trips to each of four different vendors (well, except maybe for money), and that's if the vendors don't let you get more than two beers. Have you ever seen someone cut off at a football game? I go to maybe one game a year, so I don't have that much experience, but I've never seen anyone denied by a vendor.

College games are a different story - I'm not entirely sure why it is (was) okay to sell beer at a bowl game, but not a regular-season game, but anyway, I'd hope one reason not to sell it would be to prevent the crowd from being even worse than they already are. I can only picture what I would have been like if Ross-Ade had had beer sales in the '80s ...

but none of this fixes the root problem, which is that some people feel that it's okay to drink far beyond reason in public, so it becomes someone else's responsibility to prevent them from causing problems. Any measure designed to make it more difficult to get really drunk at a game also makes it more difficult for a casual fan to get a beer ... a no-win situation.

by johonny (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 2:57pm

Wouldn't the other solution be to stop watering down the drinks. Serve the fans straight everclear. After 2 or 3 they won't be able to move from their seat let alone stab someone.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 3:04pm

Re #15: The difference between bowl games and regular season games is the bowl games are not on-campus. For example, Illinois does not allow alcohol sales at its on-campus home football and basketball games. But the basketball team plays a game at the United Center every year, and the football team has played an occasional game at Soldier Field, and those games allow beer sales.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 3:48pm

I just thought it was odd that somehow having the game off-campus meant that it was therefore okay to sell alcohol.

I'm also guessing that alcohol sales are prohibited at bowl games played in on-campus stadiums, like in Boise. The only bowl games to which I went were at off-campus sites.

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:04pm

>Click here for details of the story, including how the man was able to buy six 16-oz beers at once by tipping a vendor $10. (The limit is supposed to be two).

This is such crap. It's sad that the girl is paralyzed. But it's not fair to fine the vendor millions of dollars because some jackass got hammered and hurt her. This kind of crap really pisses me off. How come only people with deep pockets are the ones who are responsible for bad things?

by jebmak (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:21pm

Just five years in prison? That (redacted) should have been executed for that (redacted)! He totally ruined that girl's life and had a strong negative effect on her family.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:23pm

I'm not really sure this fixes things. In fact, I would say that it can result in people being more drunk before the game starts. Maybe they'll be somewhat sober by the time it ends, though.

USC this year banned beer sales at the Coliseum. Did it change anything about the rowdiness of fans? No, because fans brought extra beer to their tailgates, so they could have a few more right before going into the stadium to make up for the inability to purchase them once they were in the stadium. I know most SEC schools disallow beer sales inside their stadiums, does that mean the fans aren't drunk? No, it means they get fully soused before walking in the gates. Unless they start not admitting fans that are horribly intoxicated, this isn't going to change much.

Now, when it comes to liability concerns, it might work in the team's favor. But when it comes to "preventing drunk fans", you're going to have more of them, IMO.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:46pm

Re #14:

You're right about this Monday being a holiday, of course, but I was thinking of the general Monday night case.

I don't spend much time at concession stands, but my impression is that most vendors aren't terribly concerned about how drunk the people they're selling to are. I certainly don't remember anyone sitting near me coming back from the concourse apologizing for not being able to buy more beers, or a walking vendor refusing anyone.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:43pm

Alcohol can be sold at bowl games because the NCAA and the conferences do not run them (but they do get money from them...). It's not an on or off campus thing, because Tulane sells alcohol at Fogelman Arena and Turchin Stadium, both of which are on-campus EXCEPT for during NCAA tournament events, like the baseball Regionals and Super Regionals last year.

There is a study that I read this year about alcohol consumption.

I've seen people not get served in stadia, but then their "friends" get it for them.

BTW, if alcohol in a stadium makes fans rowdy, then answer me this:

They serve alcohol at Atlanta sporting events. Atlanta sports fans suck. Ever seen a tame hockey crowd? Go to a Thrashers' game. Anyway, Atlanta sports fans suck because they lack knowledge, don't cheer, don't show up for a playoff game, etc. But the biggest is that they have no attitude, spine, pair of nuts, etc. You would think that liquid courage would do it for them, but you see, it's not really beer that turns some people into a-holes. They act like a-holes because they ARE a-holes.

So don't mess with those of us who like our drink, can handle our drink, and can still have a good-natured time.

by Russell Levine :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 11:11pm

Re: 23 Sophandros nailed it. Beer sales at on-campus venues are up to the individual school, but are strongly discouraged by the NCAA. There's only a handful of schools that allow them. Bowl games are not run by the NCAA so they can make their own rules. But you'll never find a beer for sale at an NCAA run event, such as the Final Four or Frozen Four.

Re: 19 I do think the vendor bears some responsibility. Has anyone ever seen a fan cut off at a sporting event? I've seen a few tossed out, but I've never seen any cut off, and that includes stumbling drunks. Heck, I've been a stumbling drunk at a few and I was never denied.

I remember going to a college hockey game at Joe Louis Arena one time (off campus, beer sales, yay!) and joking with the vendor that the 44 ounce beer cup, or whatever obscene size it was, was marked "please drink responsibly." Does anyone drink responsibly from a cup that large?

Beer is probably the most profitable item sold in stadiums, and that includes the tickets. The vendor wants you to buy as much as humanly possible. I'd like to think a jury award like the one in this case maybe makes the vendor review its policies a bit.