Sunday afternoons at the Dome were a tradition I long shared with my dad, an NFL season ticket holder from 1995-2015. Section 416, Row EE, Seats 7 and 8. Through the good and (mostly) bad, we showed up, for the rare chance to watch an entertaining product – only to endure the same emptiness time after time after time.
I found it ironic that Sunday was such a stunningly gorgeous afternoon; blue skies, sunshine, a sense of nostalgia in the crisp air. Ironic because on the drive to the Dome on similar type days, we’d pass a golf club, and even a lousy round of golf always seemed more enticing than another losing Sunday inside a warehouse on a sunny day.
But I wouldn’t trade this Sunday’s experience for much. I was so damn proud to walk into that Dome. It was gratifying to pass thousands of tailgaters embracing a longstanding tradition with friends and family, one that had been stripped so unjustly and swift.
Sunday felt like a necessary healing process for so many of us who were innocent in the entire relocation process. Our city, our people, our fanhood – all of which were falsely condemned – sought peaceful revenge. Sunday was about restoring a reputation for people who became victims in a drive-by slander.
Saint Louisans are uniquely proud of our hometown, and rightfully so. It’s not perfect, but it’s not the wrecking ball portrayed on TV. Saint Louis is vibrant, and home to a budding food and beverage scene, with great parks and prominently positioned on the mighty Mississippi River. It’s an exceptional sports town, yet by no means dependent on their success.
Saint Louis likes a good party, and Sunday was a reunion bash where a football game broke out. It offered an opportunity to support a homegrown product led by people who seem to genuinely care about their customers and a chance for those same customers to flip the bird at the curmudgeon who couldn’t wait to leave. It was a perfect marriage.
Perhaps even more fitting was the return of an all-time great, Pro Football HOF finalist WR Torry Holt, to further stoke the frenzy. Combined with a relentless rushing attack, hard-hitting defense, and innovative trickery on special teams, Sunday was exactly what the doctor ordered for those of us with Kroenke-itis.