Top Ten NFL Tailgating Towns
Where Should You Tailgate During the 2014 NFL Season?
As NFL fans, we all know we rock our team colors year round (and if you’re anything like me, you rock a team tattoo too), but there’s still something special about game day Sundays. In many cities around the league, one of the highlights of regular season Sunday mornings is tailgating. Now that it’s the off-season, I know y’all are longing for the days when it’s acceptable to chow down on wings and ribs or pop open a beer by 11 AM. To tide all of us over until September, here’s a rundown of the most fun NFL tailgating towns:
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1. Green Bay - The folks at Lambeau Field know how to tailgate like nobody else. It’s no shocker that they’re sitting at my No. 1 spot. With a three decade wait to obtain Packers season tickets, Green Bay fans are some of the most loyal in the league. Tailgating at Lambeau isn’t just an event, it’s an experience. You’ll enjoy locally brewed beer, fresh brats, and, let’s face it, probably a little cheese with some of the NFL’s friendliest fans if you hit-up this party.
2. Buffalo - Bills’ fans, who have basically been tailgating since before anyone else knew what a grill was, definitely know how to do it up right. One of the best things about checking out Ralph Wilson Stadium before a game is the sheer amount of parking space that is available to revelers and, therefore, the sheer number of fellow fans with whom to party. You can check out car tailgating, bus tailgating, limo tailgating, and bus tailgating parties starting a full five hours before every home game.
3. Kansas City - It could be easily argued that the crowd at Arrowhead loves to tailgate more than any other fans in the league. With an assortment of barbecue options and some of the nicest fans league-wide, you’re sure to have a great time (just leave that orange Manning jersey at home.) The best part? The Chiefs tailgating legion starts showing up 48 full hours before kick-off, so there’s all kinds of time to pre-game.
4. Cleveland - Few things in this life are easier than ripping apart the Cleveland Browns. One statement that cannot be made, though, is that this club lacks loyal fans. There are few places in the league I’d less prefer to be dared to wear the opposing team’s colors (especially if that team happens to be the Ravens.) But, if you can manage to play nice with Browns fans, they just might let you gorge yourself on some of their tailgating traditions, including beer-can chicken (don’t ask) and Bloody Marys.
5. Houston - While the Texans don’t have the same decades-old tailgating traditions as older NFL franchises, they just may take the cake for having the best food. Huge groups of tailgaters converge on Reliant Stadium on home game Sundays and fill the air with the aroma of perfectly seasoned briskets, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and to-die-for jalapeño poppers.
6. Pittsburgh - If you’re a Steelers fan, you’ll be more than welcome to join in the festivities (and have a few pierogies) at Heinz Field. If you’re not, it’s best to don some black and yellow anyway. Devoted fans and their Terrible Towels start showing-up at 8 AM; you’ll want to arrive before 8:01 to get a parking place.
7. Oakland - Oakland fans are, perhaps, some of the most hardcore in the league. When you tailgate in their neck of the woods, you can expect to see intense costumes that give Hollywood a run for its money and a veritable sea of black and silver as far as you can see. Don’t let this warpaint scare you off, though! Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, Raiders loyalists are generally friendly and always have plenty of food and beer to share with newcomers.
8. New Orleans - NOLA knows how to throw a party (Mardi Gras, anyone?) and during football season, Louisiana based fans usually get started on Saturdays when the LSU Tigers play. The celebration continues through the night and into Sundays, not stopping until the Saints kick-off. One of the greatest things about tailgating at the Superdome is the food; make sure you get your hands on some mouthwatering local gumbo and jambalaya.
9. Foxboro - The Patriots have played in more NFL games over the course of the past decade than any other team. This has led their loyal tailgaters to gain quite a bit of experience. Gillette’s tailgating crew is organized (no free-for-alls here, folks) and always cooks up delicious eats, including their famous New England clam chowder and crab cakes. If you’re looking for a family friendly tailgate, Foxboro is probably your best bet.
10. Indianapolis - The passion of the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium is one of the reasons they made this list; in this small market, fans truly live and breathe Colts football. Another reason is that downtown Indy is set-up perfectly for tailgaters. Fans can easily park in one of the city’s many affordable garages and walk from tailgate party to tailgate party, then head into the stadium. A third reason? There is no restriction on carrying open containers of alcohol in public spaces in this Hoosier State metro area.