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Official Review by Brian Jones, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Chick-fil-A Bowl has always been one of the more successful bowls every season, so the organizers decided to bring the same type of success to the start of the season with the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. The game has been played annually since 2008.
At the start of the season, two top teams square off in the Georgia Dome to officially start the college football season. In 2014 there were two games played, but the first game between Ole Miss and Boise State was the one that got the season going. Two days later, it was time for Alabama to face West Virginia.
This event is always a sight because you get to see two types of fan bases in a neutral site, similar to a bowl game. The Georgia Dome has always been a great place to watch a football game, which is why the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game is a contest that has become one of the more popular events for teams and their fans.
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With a stadium like the Georgia Dome, there is always going to be a wide variety of food and drink selections. From chicken tenders to funnel cakes, the Georgia Dome has a little bit of everything for everybody.
But the two places that stand out are Williams Brothers BBQ and Taco Mac. Williams Brothers is the best place to eat Barbeque in the area and Taco Mac is a great place to eat wings and drink a wide variety of beer.
But if you don't want to pay the prices to eat inside the Georgia Dome, the CNN Center, which is located next door, has a food court that features, Arby's Subway Wendy's and of course Chick-fil-A.
What makes the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game great is the fans are into it from beginning to end. Part of the reason for that is that it's the opening game for both teams, but playing in the Georgia Dome gives the fans a different feel that they wouldn't get at their normal home stadium.
From the bands playing before and during halftime to the pre-game videos to get the fans ready, the officials for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game do a good job making an NFL stadium home into a great place to watch college football.
With the dome being in the heart of downtown Atlanta, there is always something going on. The CNN Center is a great place to eat before entering the Georgia Dome, but it also includes Dantana's which is a popular place to eat and drink during game days.
Other good places to eat are Hudson Grille and Stats. Both are just around the corner from the Georgia Dome. As far as attractions go, Philips Arena is right next door to the Georgia Dome which is home to the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and some of the best concerts in the country.
But if there is one place to go to while being in Atlanta, the College Football Hall of Fame is a must for any college football fan. The facility is filled with memorabilia and games for all ages.
The fans are the ones who make this event worthwhile each year. The game I went to in 2014 featured Ole Miss and Bosie State fans and while it was not a sellout crowd, the fans were loud and into the game because it was the first game of the season for both teams.
The Chick-fil-A officials do a good job letting both fan bases bring their own tradition to the Georgia Dome. So while it is a neutral site, each team feels like they have a home-field advantage.
Getting to the Georgia Dome from downtown Atlanta can be tricky. But there are plenty of ways to get to the Dome without sitting in a lot of traffic and spending a lot of money to park.
The best option is to take MARTA which is the city's transit station. It will take you straight to the dome and it costs $5 for a round-trip ticket. Parking at the Georgia Dome is not the best option because the new stadium is being built right next to the dome and it has eliminated 1,300 parking spots.
The concourse of the Dome is wide, so getting to and from your set is not like fighting through a battlefield. And the restrooms are always clean at the Georgia Dome from the start of the game until the end.
A ticket for the kickoff game can cost a pretty penny. But it in 2014, tickets were available for $30 because the game was not a sellout. But regardless of how much you pay, it's worth seeing you team play at the Georgia Dome.
There are a lot of fans that live in Atlanta that are fans of different football teams. Alabama fans that love the city can come to the game if the Crimson Tide are invited to the game, and watch the Tide roll and not spend a lot of money because of less travel. So investing in this game is worth it if your team is playing in it.
One point goes to the vendors selling Chick-fil-A food throughout the entire stadium. That is something you don't see every day.
One point goes to the parachuting stuffed cows that drop down from the top of the dome to the fans' seats. It's kind of cheesy, but it's entertaining and the kids love it.
One point goes to video introductions for both teams. As it was mentioned earlier, the officials do a great job giving each fan base a fair chance to honor their home traditions.
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120 Marietta St NW
Atlanta, GA 30303