Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snyder Surrenders, Sign Canceled

If you watched the game today you may be wondering why you didn't see the Fire Snyder Sign on TV. The truth is that, faced with the prospect of humiliation on national television, Daniel Snyder surrendered early this morning and revoked the FedEx Field sign ban.

As a reciprocal gesture of good will we quickly sent word to our legions of supporters that the the Fire Snyder Sign was off for this week. However, this blog will remain primed and ready in the event that Snyder's ego again advances to stage 3 Napoleonitis!

Finally, we offer our hearty congratulations to the coaches and players for upsetting Denver today! Go 'Skins!


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Monday, November 9, 2009

Publicity Update 3

In the past few days we've gotten new links from the Washington Post, DeadSpin, and others. And even a nice parody of the sign by eTrueSports! Here's their sign:


Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Exactly is the Point Again?

Fire Snyder Sign has been discussed and linked several times from the very active Extreme Skins forums. I popped over to check out the conversation today and was surprised to find this closed thread where a couple of senior forum members have already given up on the sign and were shutting down further conversation. Here's ttr77:

Yeah this was discussed pretty thoroughly a couple of days ago, and the general consensus is that there is no way to get the participation level required to make such a sign. Also, the seats in the upper deck could be 30% empty.

It seems the hot topics now are whether to stage a game "walkout" or deluge the local media with turned in "fan cards". Please.

Let's return to first principles: What exactly are we trying to accomplish here? Will fan protests make the team better? Will they change Daniel Snyder's personality? Make him a better owner? No, no, no, and no.

There's really no point to all this except to have a little fun in the midst of a woeful season and prick Snyder's demonstrably thin-skinned ego where it hurts. And that requires a protest with obvious (and news-making) visual impact.

Mailing cards and staging walkouts are too much work. People talk and talk but how many will actually waste a stamp (I believe the count is 12, so far, according to one local TV station). How many will waste time driving to a game they won't watch?

Even when these protests "succeed" they fail! They won't be noticed or reported beyond the local sports media. I mean, as far as TV coverage goes, how does a walkout look any different than your standard half-time beer and bathroom break? (Besides the fact that more people will leave to buy beer--in the bathroom?)

The stadium sign, on the other hand, has mega-visual impact and will be covered nationally. Heck, it's  already been covered by multiple, national media outlets plus dozens of bloggers and sports message boards.  I rolled out the plan just one week ago and this blog has already been visited 30,000 times! People are emailing with offers to help and even planning to move from other parts of the stadium to participate!

The sign captures people's imagination. It's fun and funny. It's big.  It strikes directly and viscerally at Snyder's latest offense against 'Skins Fandom--banning signs and then having the audacity to dispatch his lying minions on the most transparently false PR tour since Baghdad Bob's. Participation takes zero effort--just come to the game with clothes on and sit in your seat!

Don't give up yet Extreme Skins! There's still plenty of time to get the word out and make this work!

Publicity Update 2

New links from the Washington Post, Washington Examiner, and many others today. Also on the front page of the LA Times sports section!

Someone has even posted this ad in the tickets section on Craigslist!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Looking for Section Organizers

I'm looking for 2 or 3 volunteer organizers for each sign section. I'll put these folks in touch with each other to help out at game time. Section organizers would be responsible for

  • Telling people about the sign at game time
  • Bringing multiple copies of the seating chart for their section to the game
  • Whatever else you can think of that seems useful!

It's OK if you aren't sitting in the section you're organizing, but it would probably help. Here's a list of the sections still needing organizers:

  • 401
  • 402
  • 403
  • 404
  • 405
  • 406
  • 422
  • 423
  • 424
  • 425
  • 427
  • 428
  • 429
  • 430
  • 431
  • 432
  • 450
  • 451
  • 452
  • 453

I'll cross out each section when enough folks have volunteered. Send an email if you're interested.

A number of folks with seats in the lower bowl have asked how they can help. Some will be visiting the upper-sections to spread word of the sign. Others are planning to switch seats to the upper deck for this game or will move up temporarily to fill in empty seats as necessary.

Jeff Lavine suggests that the best time for lower-bowl folks to move up and fill in empty seats is the start of the second half. That makes sense to me. You can read about Jeff's confiscated sign here.

UPDATE: Email link was broken. Now fixed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is The Sign A Pipe Dream?

Some commenters have expressed skepticism that making a collaborative FIRE SNYDER sign at FedEx is even remotely possible.  Most recently Dan Steinberg called the idea a pipe dream in a Washington Post chat:

The "Color by seat numbers" sign plan is fairly ingenious, but requires a level of cooperation that would be implausible even if every new [sic] the plan and was on a mass e-mail list. In the real world, which involves potty breaks, visiting fans, people who don't read blogs, and alcohol, it's just a pipe dream. Sorry.

Others have recommended a smaller sign. Are they correct? Is this a pipe dream or something that would be more likely to succeed if scaled down?

First, I've acknowledged that this is a long shot from the beginning, and I've provided a list of things folks can do--especially on game day--to help the effort. And there's no reason this has to be a one-time effort. I see no reason we can't try again week after week for the rest of the season (or at least until Snyder ends the sign ban).

Second, 100% participation is absolutely not required. Each letter is composed of enough seats that it can still be read with empty seats and non-participants. (Paradoxically, involving fewer people would require higher participation--not to mention oddly-shaped letters.)

But realistically what level of participation is required to make the letters legible? In an earlier post I tossed out 75-80% as a rough guess so let's start with that. The picture below gives you a rough idea what the "F" would look like with 75% participation. (Color is randomized between burgundy and white for 25% of the seats.)


It's barely legible, but you can make it out if you squint. People who know about the sign could definitely read this; other folks might not notice at all. Even getting to this point would send a very strong message to Snyder.

Next let's bump participation up to 85% and see what happens. Remember, this means that over 2,000 people in the sign-sections are still doing absolutely nothing to help out. They showed up ignorant on game day, are getting beer, taking a bathroom break, refused to listen to your pleas to help with the sign--whatever. And despite that, it actually looks pretty good. Even people who had no idea what was going on ahead of time would find this hard to miss.


95% participation would be the dream goal and here's what that looks like. Pretty darn clear what we're trying to say.


It's also worth noting that not all random patterns are created equal. There are 75% participation patterns that are more or less legible than the one I posted. This is where the "self-healing" possible with folks helping on game day becomes more important. There will be 5 or 6 key seats with the wrong color in each section that will make or break the sign, depending on whether the occupants can be convinced to help out! (But please don't beat up folks who refuse to help--not even Eagles fans!)

Sign Publicity Update

You folks are doing a fantastic job spreading the word about the FedEx stadium sign!

Quite a few sports bloggers have mentioned it, including Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. Most significantly we are getting a ton of traffic from folks posting the link on Facebook and emailing it to their friends, so keep passing it on! (If you haven't done so already please read 4 Ways You Can Make the Sign Happen.)

Some writers are skeptical that we can actually pull this off. It is still a long shot, but the conditions for making it work are nearly perfect, and we've taken some big steps in the past few days.

I can promise you one thing: If this sign is staring Dan Snyder in the face on game day it will be reported by every major sports outlet in America. Dan Snyder will be a case study in poor public relations for a long, long time.

Update - Nov 4: Tons of visitors yesterday with links from Tuesday Morning Quarterback at ESPN and many, many others (twitter, blogs, message boards, and more).

Friday, October 30, 2009

4 Ways You Can Make the Sign Happen

OK, this site is starting to get some great, viral publicity after less than 24 hours.

But realistically we still have a long way to go to make the sign happen. We need about 75% participation from the upper-deck sections to make the sign readable.

That means reaching about 11,000 of the 15,000 people who actually have tickets in the sign sections. And that in turn means reaching several hundred thousand people in the Washington-metro area with this message over the next two weeks.

Here are 4 ways you can help:

  1. Tell everyone you know about the plan and this site, especially Redskins fans, football fans, and Redskins ticket holders. Don't assume other folks have seen it just because you have. Post it to message boards, Facebook, etc. and send it to the media.
  2. If you're actually selling tickets in these sections (as a broker or otherwise) advertise the sign as part of the attraction of these seats and emphasize that simply skipping the game won't hurt Snyder because he's already been paid for this season through season tickets. (If you really want to hurt Snyder this season go to the games and don't spend any money at the stadium.)
  3. Spread the word at the stadium itself before and during the game. Bring copies of the seating charts and pass them around, especially in the sign sections. Many folks who haven't heard about the sign ahead of time will have a shirt, sweatshirt, or jacket of the appropriate color to wear as their outermost layer. Or you may find people with the wrong color for their seat who are willing to swap seats.
  4. Selling cheap, oversized white and burgundy T-shirts around the stadium would seem a great way for some enterprising folks to earn a little extra cash. Depending on location you may have a hard time getting away with this, but if you partner with a local private-property owner near the stadium (perhaps a store or restaurant owner) this could work. Having a copy of the seating charts handy couldn't hurt either.

BONUS: Out-of-town fans can bring signs to away games publicizing the FedEx sign! We'll be at the Atlanta game on Nov. 8th. See if you can spot us on TV!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A FedEx Field Sign Snyder Can't Ban

Daniel Snyder wants to ban signs at FedEx Field? Then let's turn the stadium itself into a sign he can't ban.

Everyone sitting in the designated upper-level sections for the Washington vs Denver game (Nov. 15th at FedEx field) can be part of a giant "FIRE SNYDER" sign just by wearing the color designated for their seat. Here are the participating sections:

  • 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406
  • 422, 423, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432
  • 450, 451, 452, 453

The  photo below gives you an idea of the scale and appearance of the signs (click to view). There will be TWO of these signs, one on each side of the stadium.image

To participate just do the following:

  1. Find the seating chart for your section in the table below.
  2. Find your exact seats on the chart.
  3. Wear the color designated for your seat on game day.

NOTE: We're looking for 2-3 people per section who can help spread the word on game day.

Participating Upper-level Sections
Seating Charts
(click to view)
422, 450
423, 451
424, 452
425, 453
401, 427
402, 428
403, 429
404, 430
405, 431
406, 432

Here's the full FedEx Field seating chart for reference (click to view):

UPDATE: Background color changed from gold to white thanks to suggestions from Mr. Irrelevant and twoeightnine.

UPDATE 2: Major change to the seating charts! The sign colors have been inverted.

I decided to make this change after finding a high-resolution shot of the upper sections from the October 26th Monday Night game and hearing about spotty attendance from several folks. The seats are already red--no sense in fighting the stadium itself to make this work.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Tribute to Great Stadium Signs of the Past

1. The Great Rose Bowl Hoax - California Institute of Technology students hijack the 1961 Rose Bowl half-time show to spell "CALTECH".image

2. Yale's "WE SUCK" Prank - Yale students trick Harvard fans into insulting their own team in 2004.


3. Hilliard Davidson High School copies Yale - Students at Hilliard, OH school replicate Yale prank against a hated opponent in 2007.