Gameday, 4:31 p.m. – First Players on the Field

It is amazing to me how much work by how many people it takes to get this stadium ready for a game. Every single aspect of the gameday experience has people behind it, of course — that’s the sort of thing that’s obvious. But actually seeing it, and seeing how many elements of it I would never have thought of, has been revelatory. During future games, I’ll be spotlighting some of those people, their roles and what a game looks like from their perspective.

But today, it’s the first home preseason game. Like the players, all of the staff and support personnel is working out the rust of an offseason, and having me hanging over their shoulders wouldn’t help.

The first players on the field are Casey Rabach, Jason Fabini, Jon Jansen, and Ethan Albright, stretching in the eerie quiet of a mostly empty stadium. Rookie punter Durant Brooks comes out next.

The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” plays faintly as they test the P.A., distant enough that it sounds like it’s in the back of your head. It feels like something’s about to happen any second, and kickoff is still two and a half hours away.

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