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Column: Football, family and Britney

WASHINGTON and LANDOVER, Md. -- How awesome is NFL kick-off week?

For those of you unfamiliar with the NFL's newest marketing scheme, every season a city is selected to host the first regular season game of the year on the Thursday preceding the first official Sunday of professional football season. The entire week is filled with special events for the fans, including a free concert which is televised nationally an hour before kick-off.

The concept was first put into practice in New York City for the 2002 season, and then switched venues to Washington D.C. for the Redskins-Jets game September 4th this year. Coming from a family that has owned Redskins season tickets for multiple generations, I decided to make the four hour drive with my roommate to see if the event was worth the hype.

It certainly was.

Driving into Tyson's Corner Mall in Fairfax County, Va., to meet up with Robert "The Tank" Samuel, Sr., and Robert "The Tank" Samuel, Jr., 50 Cent's "In Da Club" began to play on D.C.'s rap station 93.9 WKYS. There was nothing notable about this occurrence until instead of the usual "You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub" being the refrain, a different, unknown, yet talented rapper declared "You can find me in the Fed, whoopin' on the Jets." In one of the funniest parodies I've ever heard, several rappers effortlessly made witty remarks such as "We about to have the all-time sack leader Bruce Smith/ Put Pennington in and he'll break his other wrist."

The song reminded me of how much of a football town Washington is. Despite only one post-season appearance in the past 10 years, each of the 80,116 seats in the Redskins' stadium, the biggest stadium in the NFL, belongs to a season ticket owner. Unlike many cities which scoff at their teams in hard times, the nation's capital continues to cherish its football team, making it the perfect place to hold NFL kick-off week.

After obtaining the tickets from Grandpa Tank and Papa Tank inside of the famed mall, my roommate and I decided to forgo a car ride into the stadium in order to take the Metro into downtown to see the free concert on the National Mall, where Good Charlotte, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears and Aerosmith all performed.

Good Charlotte and Mary J. Blige had already left the stage by the time we arrived at the metro station, but it didn't matter, for Britney was the only motivation for our decision.

We had 45 minutes to make it through 12 stops and get through security, and being at least somewhat familiar with the Washington D.C. mass transportation system, I thought this was an impossibility. But the city, like the NFL event, rose to the occasion, and my roommate and I arrived on the lawn with plenty of time to spare.

Although we were duped into buying pseudo-Britney shirts with designs that are sure to disappear once put into a washing machine, the performance was nothing less than electrifying.

And just when we thought it couldn't be any better, Britney took off her pants in favor of shorts the size of a napkin.

After watching Britney shake her tail-feather for about 15 minutes, my roommate and I used the adrenaline rush to race onto the Metro again. Still maintaining order with massive amounts of people spilling into the subways, my roommate and I made it to the game mid-way through the first quarter.

I am one of those people who gets angry at people who come to professional sporting events solely for socializing. It is obvious that these people know nothing about the teams playing and often don't know anything about the sport, either. These people annoy me to no end, and I wish they would just leave.

Well, I wish most of them would just leave.

What is it about professional sports games that make them magnets for attractive women? I mean they were everywhere: On the field, in the front row, in the concessions lines, in the club section and even in the nose-bleed sections.

Anyways, the game was great as well. It featured many patriotic interludes, as well as very competitive football game, ending with a game-winning Redskins field goal with five seconds left in the 16-13 Washington victory.

Many have criticized kick-off week, among them the renowned culture critic Tom Shales of The Washington Post, about the gross commercialization of the event. I have no counter-arguments to these people, only that NFL Kick-off week is not for persons with an Upper-East Side taste for things. It is for the common fans, the Tanks of the world. And for those people, NFL kick-off week is nothing short of awesome.

Robert Samuel is the managing editor of the sports department and a Trinity junior. His column appears every Wednesday. Please e-mail your comments to


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