“One Day” is a firsthand account, written by a professional athlete, of a single greatest moment in their career. This latest “One Day” is CheapSeatsRadio.net’s Scott Stanchak’s account of covering the Dec. 4, 2011 New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers game.
One of the most unique seats inside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. can’t be bought. It’s earned.
The seat resides above the second concourse level in a heated indoor enclosure. At the front, a panoramic window offers a full picturesque view of the field, a perfect working-condition perspective. That is, after all, what this seat is for – work.
On an unseasonably warm 50-plus degree day at the stadium, the New York Giants are facing off against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers. Despite having lost three straight, the Giants still pose a difficult challenge for the 11-0 Packers and their quest for the perfect season.
For eight seasons now, I have covered the National Football League. In my 12 years reporting on professional sports in the New York metropolitan area, this is the one that gets me most excited. Part of the allure has to with the fact that NFL game days to me are like church or attending the theater. You dress up in nice clothes to watch a mixture of sport and show. The other element is that I simply love watching the NFL.
On game days, I arrive at the stadium three hours before kickoff to pick up my credential. An elevator inside the “Media Access Only” area takes me to the sixth floor, where several hundred seats are spread one foot apart among four rows of tiered levels. Each seat – a black rolling swivel chair – is in front of a table, which typically contains each writer’s tools: laptop, cellphone, water bottle, game notes and notepad.
After writing a quick game preview for my website, CheapSeatsRadio.net, I head to the cafeteria to grab something to eat. The 1 p.m. games typically feature a breakfast buffet, while the 4 p.m. starts begin with lunch. Today a mixture of baked ziti, chicken parmesan and garlic bread is being served. It’s always very good – believe me, some popular New York area teams serve horrible media food.
Once the game gets underway, I watch Clay Matthews score an interception touchdown, Greg Jennings make a fingertips grab in the end zone, Hakeem Nicks one-arm a ball for a score and Aaron Rodgers drive his team down the field with 58 seconds left to secure the win. Those are just four of the hundred that I witness from my seat during the 60 minutes of action. The 80,634 in attendance also saw those on-field feats, however, a majority did so from hard plastic folding seat while enduring the winter weather.
Once the final whistle blows, it’s downstairs to the locker rooms and press conference area to conduct postgame interviews. Tight end Jermichael Finley tells me he believes the Packers want these close games more because of their perfect record. Meanwhile, Jennings said he has a hard time ranking this season thus far without seeing the end result.
I spent several years working hard to earn the opportunity to cover the NFL. After seven years, I still feel privileged to write about a sport that offers a unique thrill. I especially love telling the players’ stories to fans. I may not pay for a ticket, but I certainly paid my dues to get to sit in that black rolling swivel chair.