The Best (And Worst) Places To Watch Football In Lawton – Buffalo Wild Wings
Being new to the Lawton area, the prime question in my head this time of year is of course...
"where is the best place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and Monday nights to spend my time watching football?" Where do I go to watch the Sooners and the Cowboys, the Cowboys and the Seahawks, but even more importantly, where will I be assured I will get to watch my beloved Raiders, while maybe even running into a few like minded (read as "warped") Lawtonians. Where will I go that my Ken Stabler, Tom Brady or Dick Butkus jerseys wont get a second look...or maybe they will, along with a nodding appreciation.
I will be spending the 2014 NFL season traveling from sports bar to restaurant and even to the casinos to find the best atmospheres, food, crowds and even the best viewing opportunities for NFL and NCAA football.
My mindset for week 1 is if you're going to do this, you might as well start with the place that advertises that this is what they are all about. I arrived at Buffalo Wild Wings at 2506 NW Cache Road midway through the first half of the first set of games, I immediately found myself feeling right at home. Draped in a vintage (2002) Rich Gannon #12 Oakland Raiders jersey, I was immediately greeted by a cheery (and might I say quite easy on the eyes) hostess named Alyssa in a Buffalo Wild Wings jersey shirt. All of the staff wore the same uniform in vintage Green Bay Packer green & yellow, each with the #82, signifying the year 1982, in which Buffalo Wild Wings was established in ....wait for it....Buffalo, NY.
I first walked through the main dining area where families with children sat and ate, mostly ignoring the 21 screens that adorned the walls. With the exception of over flow crowd from the bar area, this was the Sunday brunch crowd who would slowly filter out and be replaced by quieter groups of football watchers. But the main show was saved for the main room.
18 screens adorn the walls of the bar, including at least 10 that are 55" or better. A true football lovers nirvana. I settled in to the one remaining table in the completely packed room. I lucked out, it was back in the corner, cutting off view of about a third of the screen, but my Raiders were taking on the NY Jets directly in front of me. There's plenty of history between the two old AFL rivals, including the infamous "Heidi Game" in 1968.
I looked around the room and saw every team on the early schedule on at least one of the tvs. I found fans routing and cheering for each of those teams and many more. I saw fans cheering for Lions and Bengals and Bears (oh my!). I saw Steeler black and yellow sitting with Patriot blue and red, Saint black and gold sharing a brewski with Falcon black & red. It was a true NFL peace conference and I was happy to be a part of the crowd. Alone in my silver and black (as I generally am) I had to applaud the gentleman that was there to support the N'Orleans crew, wearing a vintage Archie Manning jersey. My waitress approached me and said jokingly "sitting alone, that jersey will do it..." Insults tossed at a Raider fan are like compliments to a Diva, we thrive on them.
I put in my first order, my favorite adult beverage (Guinness original draught) and spinach dip (guilty pleasure). The Guinness was served at a slightly higher temperature than the standard draught beers, which intentional or not earned extra yardage with me because that's the way its actually supposed to be served. The spinach dip arrived soon after and while not the best I have ever had, it was acceptable. Then I went onto what BWW is known best for, their wings. I ordered their boneless "desert heat" wings, a tasty blend of smoky, sweet and pepper flavors. It ranked 10th on their 16 point heat scale. I was not taken by the heat, thinking maybe I could have gone up a few more notches on their scale (and yes, I have taken the "blazin' hot challenge" at BWW, and yes, I have the tshirt.) The lower heat level was more than made up for by the sweet, smoky flavor of the wings.
But there was one test left for this article. While I will "partake" in a Guinness or two, I will always finish the experience with a specialty drink. Its called a black and tan. Properly made from Guinness and Bass Ale, the individual textures of the two ales allows them to actually separate with one floating over the other in the glass if properly poured. BWW does not have Bass on tap, so we already have a penalty flag thrown on the play. 5 yards for procedure, still first down, but they scored on the separation part.
The only two negatives I could come up with were price (I spent over $50 on two appetizers and three beverages) and internet accessibility, which was a plus at first (especially for fantasy football players such as my self that want to follow not only their favorite NFL teams, but their fantasy teams as well). While Buffalo Wild Wings does have wi-fi, it is pretty slow and occasionally irritatingly so.
In the end Buffalo Wild Wings come away with a convincing 34-10 win. It could have been a stronger outing for BWW, but in the end a strong win for the team.