Brian Waters knows birds could be flying from every direction in ‘Black Hole’
|09.28.11 at 3:50 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Brian Waters has seen a lot over the course of his long NFL career.
But there’s one thing he never thought he’d ever see. That was before stepping foot one day in the same stadium he’ll be playing in on Sunday as the Patriots battle the Raiders at the Coliseum in Oakland.
“It’s first time I ever saw an old lady in wheelchair shooting you the bird with both fingers,” Waters said of his experience once upon a time with the visiting Chiefs.
“It’s about as crazy as you can get.”
The “Black Hole” scene has mellowed somewhat as the NFL has tried to help the Raiders clean up the notorious tailgating conditions in the parking lots outside prior to games, leading to numerous incidents over the years, both inside and outside the stadium.
So, how different is it and what’s his message to the younger Patriots who haven’t played there since the team’s last visit in 2008?
“Everything, from the time you drive in till the end of the game, you’re going to probably see a lot of different things, some good, some bad,” Waters said. “But the biggest thing for a player going in there and one of the things you try to get across to the young guys as much as possible is don’t focus on those things. Try not to pay attention because they can be a distraction, a great distraction if you allow it to.”
Waters isn’t expecting any less of a nasty welcome just because he’s no longer on the hated Chiefs.
“I don’t care who it is,” he added. “When you walk in there, I don’t care who you are. They’re not going to like you. They’re not going to like you, your family, your friends. And they’re going to have no issues letting you know from the time the buses ride in.”
Then there’s the field itself. With baseball’s A’s wrapping up their season on Wednesday, the grounds crew is putting turf down in advance of Sunday’s game. Pats coach Bill Belichick said the Raiders have told him it should be in place in time for kickoff.
“It’s a little bit of a change,” Waters said. “You have to make sure you have the proper footing but for the most part, you just have to pay attention to it, especially if the weather is a little bit different, if it rains, it definitely can be something you have to pay attention to. It’s more difficult for the receivers and running backs than offensive linemen.
“It’s more of a pain for those guys doing a lot more breaking and running and cutting than it is for the big guys. We work with smaller spaces. It won’t be as difficult for us.”