Rocky Mountain Showdown: The Shame and the Sham In Poor Attendance Numbers

Chaz MattsonAnalyst ISeptember 5, 2010

The Rocky Mountain Showdown Deserves Better
The Rocky Mountain Showdown Deserves Better

From the outset there is one sole purpose of this article.


It’s to get people talking.


Certainly to communicate on BleacherReport in the usual way is an expectation, however and more importantly it’s a hope that the people with the power will read and decidedly act responsibly into the future.


Having said that, this is college football we are talking about, which is coming off one of its most irresponsible off-season of all-time.  While college football needs another power conference or horrific television package like the nation needs another oil spill.  This sort of fodder is outside the scope of this argument; however it certainly can be used to drive the point home, by hook or by crook.


The Rocky Mountain Showdown is officially a sham and more importantly a shame.


The game time has been moved to a high noon kickoff to avoid the shame of past games where teargas was a sham of a solution for unruly fans.  It was thought moving the game up gave people less time to centralize their party at the game, and keep it from becoming the shame of previous games.




You know that school of thought was exactly right, and it’s a shame.


Why you may ask?  Prattle you may exclaim and ask nonetheless!


If you saw the game in person or on television, you saw the empty seats.  By official counts there were roughly 15,000 empty seats at the state biggest annual college football game.  This is one rivalry that was so staunchly argued to be put back in Denver at the cozy confines of INVESCO Field at Mile High.  Keep in mind these things are carefully negotiated and meticulously planned out for the “betterment” of the states two leading university systems by “professionals”.


Boulder and Ft. Collins both suffer a pinch in losing this game locally in their communities.  The very least these professional game planners could do is ensure a sell-out, after all it is the states most anticipated in-state rivalry.  The best way to look at this is the entire stat of Colorado could not or would not sell out this football game.


It’s probably more the latter, in would not sell out this football game.




So why is that?  How could it be?


Well, considering that events like these are examples of capitalism at its best one might think that it’s an issue of supply and demand.  The reality is the demand is there, however in order to reach the demand you have to be in touch with the surrounding community.

Colorado is one of most avid football minded states in North America.


So why does the shame of having over 15,000 empty seats strike such a cord in knowing those numbers are a sham?


It’s very possible the average fan would feel better watching “Hawaii Five-O”, at least by shows end they could exclaim “Book ‘em Dan-O!” and feel justified by shows end.


By the end of this Rocky Mountain Showdown all there was outside of the CU landslide 24-3 victory over CSU was the unjustified feeling of shame and image of sham.




This game was heavily mismanaged in a state that has been hurting financially for sometime; you would think the promoters of the game would have enough sense to keep lower bowl tickets below $100 and upper deck below $50 a pop.


Not since the “ShamWow” have you been so wowed by a sham.


That is unless you count the Denver Broncos selection of Alphonso Smith in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft in exchange for a first round draft pick.  This just coming across the wire now… the Denver Broncos have officially given up on Alphonso Smith and the façade of being smarter and holier than thou.


Following the CU / CSU game Denver Police tolled 91 tickets and 41 arrest and called that a success.


An old saying about this game used to be posted on T-shirts sold, it went something like this:




“Back when your nose was your facemask, you needed a good reason to party (or tailgate).”


In a down economy it’s hard to call the feeling justified as an alumnus of either institution.  It’s more like shame on us.  Shame on us for not getting this game sold out and shame on us for not having people who are more in touch with the community at the controls.  It’s a community shame, but the shame does start at the top, it should start with those who decide what these failed price points should be. 


Colorado holds a healthy place for football, it’s not a religion entirely, and it’s one of the better slices of life.  Yet, there is no excuse for not having a sellout to this game, none, not one whatsoever.  This is a state that embraces at least one (CSU) if not both of its higher educational institutions (if not for the CU administration).


So the question that will remain is why is there such a big gap in application?


Fans of CU are familiar with the feeling of the Coach Hawkins era feeling like a sham at this stage in spite of his 1-0 record this season.  Coach Hawkins, as quality of an individual as he is has fallen very short in the area of delivering, and understanding where the program has been in the past and can be in the future.  So it’s on that same thin sheet of ice that the Rocky Mountain Showdown was negotiated. 


It’s not that hard to imagine that this game was also mismanaged in large part by the athletic department at CU as well considering all the prior demands by the university to allow the game to be more centralized.


While it might be hard to pinpoint the reason this game has gone from “The Game” to “The Shame” and “The Sham”.  The atmosphere was only a fragment of what it could have been and will be remembered for its shortfalls.


If this is the fallout and the penance for sins of the past and present, this should serve as an immediate call to action before this game traditionally becomes known as a dubious rivalry of an equally dubious name: The Rocky Mountain LameWow.



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