Sunday, 21 December 2014

DAY 11 - Feeling NRGetic

Day 11 was planned to be a fairly relaxed day, with one small exception...we went to our first ever NFL Match.

The match was between the home team (the Houston Texans) and the visiting side (the Baltimore Ravens) and was played at NRG Stadium which was about 0.8 mile walk from our hotel.

NRG Stadium
The walk in was very relaxed and easy, though the closer we got to the Stadium, the slower we became (obviously). It was surprising to see the sea of people making their way into the stadium. NRG Stadium has what they call a clear bag policy to gain entry, this means that there are no handbags, backpacks or bags in general allowed in the stadium, in fact, the size limit for similar such items is the size of a clutch purse. You can; however, have a bag to carry your belongings, but it has to be clear plastic and it is limited in size. Thankfully we brushed up on our NRG Stadium entry policy beforehand.

Walking down Old Spanish Trail
Joshua looking pumped for the game
The walkway on the right was our only option to get to our seats
Almost there
NRG Stadium is huge. It seats 71,500 fans and has the largest scoreboard in the NFL, that is 360' x 41 ' /109 m x 12.5m. Also, the first two rows are the closest seats to the field of any NFL venue...But that really didn't mean anything to us for we weren't in nose-bleed section, we weren't in hypoxia section, no we were higher than that, we were in vacuum of space section. Really, you know you have cheap seats when the only thing behind you is one row and a concrete wall.

As I said, the stadium is massive
Note the single row and concrete behind us. We had to take off our Space Suits for this photo
Oh, and here's further evidence of our cheap seats. Someone cut the corner of the field away.

(For our Australian friends), the match is played in four 15 minute quarters with the clock stopping and starting between plays. The reality is that a 60 minute game actually takes around four hours to play. The Texans won the match with a final score of 25-13. Here's some match shots:

There seemed to be a lot of dancing happening
The largest scoreboard in the NFL 
The Houston Texan Cheerleaders decked out in Christmas gear :)
In between plays
Maureen and Josh were on the edge of their seats

It was really great to tick an NFL match off of our list of things to do. Perhaps next time I should do some pre-game research on important things like 'the rules'. Thankfully Kyle was with us and he does have a clue about these things. The big positive for the day was the crowd atmosphere. These fans really get into their game, and boy are they loud. One interesting thing was seeing the BBQs set up in the carpark; there were certainly some elaborate setups. These people had generators running large flat-screen televisions allowing them to watch the game on TV and soak up the stadium atmosphere at the same time...makes sense to me.

After the game we took the obligatory family photo, minus me (the photographer). Departing the stadium meant, walking down what seemed to be the longest ramp in history and back to our hotel.

The smallish building just to the right of the second-top level on the other ramp is our hotel

After we returned to the hotel, we headed out to the Galleria Centre in the city, but couldn't actually get a carpark. So I dropped Josh and Kyle off and parked the car on the outskirts before picking them up a little bit later. I used the opportunity to try some more night shots.

Tomorrow we leave Houston and the state of Texas and head east to New Orleans. We have really enjoyed Houston and Texas, despite the fact that everyone seems to tail-gate you in cars that are closer to a Monster Truck than a road-going vehicle.

That's it for now.