Mercedes-Benz Superdome – Sugar Bowl
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The Sugar Bowl at the Superdome
There is no greater spectacle in college football than thousands of fans from two schools coming together to play the most important game of the year on a neutral site.
It was different last year because for one of the teams, the Allstate Sugar Bowl was the SECOND most important game of the year. It’s one of the many improvements that the College Football Playoff provided in this new era of the game. The great cities of Pasadena and New Orleans were privileged enough to be chosen to host the first “final four” of college football.
New Orleans has all of the culture and festivities that make it one of the best destinations in the United States. Located in downtown New Orleans, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is the pride of the sports community. This venue has already hosted Super Bowls, NCAA Tournament Final Fours and BCS National Championship games.
You will feel something special in the air walking from the French Quarter to the Superdome to the beat of thousands of college football fans competing rival cheers. In the case of the 2015 tilt, the exclamations of “O – H” were met with a response of “ROLL TIDE”.
Hopefully, you get to see the Superdome for the first time at night because of the way the colors light up its silver exterior. It’s a beautiful sight next to the skyline of the city and leaves a great first impression.
Food & Beverage 4
When the Superdome is not hosting the biggest events in sports, it is home to the New Orleans Saints. All of the NFL amenities are available upon any visit, including some excellent food and beverage options.
If you have the time and the access, Copeland’s on the club level is “A Signature Blend of Hometown New Orleans” that offers some great seafood and jambalaya bowls famous to the area. After that, you can have a drink at the bar at Copeland’s. Rotolo’s Pizzeria is also a good option for some fantastic cheese sticks.
There are also great options available at the concessions, but the lines get pretty long and you’ll end up missing some of the game because of the wait time. These items range from $5.50-$10.75 and include nacho fries (recommended), buffalo chicken sliders, and roast beef debris fries. Also authentic to Louisiana are the Po’ Boys. If you don’t catch one of these submarine sandwiches on Bourbon Street, make sure to try one at the stadium.
The “specialty” concessions feature BBQ items at around $12 but may be the best food in the stadium. The pigskin Po’ Boy, pulled pork nachos and smoked BBQ wings are all great choices.
The best place for adult beverages is Flavors & Flavors Daiquiris to indulge in some fun drink options authentic to the bayou, including the famous hurricane flavor. Other drink options include large draft beers ($9.50), regular soda ($4.75) and bottled water ($4).
The atmosphere really begins when the teams make their way onto the field through the tunnels for the official introductions. The noise that is generated under the dome is nothing compared to what is heard on television.
For the Sugar Bowl, both sections of fans engage in a battle of their own: who can drown out the other with fight songs and eruptions after touchdowns are scored. Being under the roof creates an environment of escape, where there is nothing but the two teams battling for the College Football National Championship Game appearance and the pride of their school.
The video boards are not very impressive because they are not proportionate to the immense size of the facility, so don’t expect to see helpful replays. Any seat in the stadium provides an adequate view of the action, even if you find yourself at the top of the bow of the upper deck.
New Orleans is home to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, one of the best areas to have a good time in the entire country. This area alone attracts millions of tourists every year for various events and festivities.
The first thing you’ll notice are the large amounts of daiquiri/fried chicken bars located every few feet. Start the night with one of these New Orleans treats and you won’t switch to anything else (unless you’re brave enough to try the hand grenade at Tropical Isles).
The most fun you’ll have is grabbing a drink at one of the local hangouts like My Bar @ 635 and making your way to the balcony in true New Orleans style. This is your best chance to get on SportsCenter if you’re in town for the Sugar Bowl (camera crews explore the streets at night looking for some good shots of crazy fans).
If you’re in the mood for a brew, check out Huge A** Beers for some of the largest alcohol containers you will ever see. Passing by other fans with these large containers will remind you of why you love Bourbon Street.
No trip to New Orleans is complete without a trip to Pat O’Brien’s Bar for the original hurricane. They also have a piano bar, but make sure to get there early because it fills up fast.
Harrah’s is a fun time for some blackjack or slots after the game and offers first class service at the hotel for guests in town.
It’s fun to see the student sections counter each other – Alabama with the storm of maroon and white pom-poms, Ohio State with a rendition of jumping and chanting to Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. Once the game begins the tension in the air could put the intensity in the heart of any fan. Every move that was made on the field came with a generous reaction from both sides.
A venue like the Superdome creates this interaction between fans because it’s such a great place to watch a game. The facility has so many great moments in sports history and every fan is there to be able to say they witnessed the next one that made its mark – “I was there”. Everybody wants a story.
Everything in New Orleans is said to be walking distance, but the journey from Bourbon Street will still take about 40 minutes on foot. If you are driving to the game, the traffic is an absolute nightmare and the parking is overpriced ($20-$30). There’s so much congestion on game day that the stadium really isn’t that accessible unless you’re on foot.
The Superdome is elevated. You will have to find your gate through massive amounts of people and it can get unsafe if you’re not careful. Arrive early and you shouldn’t have as much of a problem.
Once inside the stadium, the concourses are too small to hold the large amount of people and the lines for concessions and restrooms never seem to shorten. You will miss some of the game if you venture to one of these lines. Plan accordingly.
Return on Investment 5
It’s no secret that tickets to these big college football games are not cheap, but the Superdome creates a truly unforgettable experience for fans. You’ll never forget the roar of the crowd after your favorite team scores a touchdown or the agonizing feeling of watching the opposing team put six on the scoreboard.
There are ways of managing your finances if you decide to throw down the money for a trip to the Superdome. Avoid parking by walking to the stadium, even if you have to spend a night in one of the hotels in the city. Spend your time drinking on Bourbon Street to avoid standing in line for a beer and get a basket of fried chicken before the game to avoid standing in line for food.
No matter what you decide to do the experience will be worth it, whether it’s for the Sugar Bowl or a New Orleans Saints game. The atmosphere can’t be beat.
One point for the comfortable temperature inside the stadium, especially on a chilly January night.
The history of the venue earns another point because you will keep picturing all of the great moments that have happened in the Superdome.
A night on Bourbon Street for New Year’s Eve deserves its own story.
One more point for watching your alma mater hoist the Sugar Bowl trophy, though I guess this would be a 50-50 shot.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is an experience every major sports fan should have, especially if your school is participating in the Sugar Bowl. It will not be a semifinal game for the playoff again until 2018, but this would be the best time to check it out because it is college football at its best. The addition of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street just adds to the excitement. Arrive in town with the appropriate funds and you will have the time of your life.
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