According to the American Tailgating Association (obviously there is an official organization for tailgating), the art of people mingling and eating pre—and post—National Football League games is a fine American tradition that dates back to the U.S. Civil War. During the First Battle of Bull Run, Union supporters allegedly showed up on the sidelines with food and yelled “Go Big Blue!” to encourage their side (the Northern states that is, not the New York Giants.)
Fast forward roughly 150 years. In the ensuing decades, Americans eventually swapped regimental uniforms for team jerseys, horse-drawn wooden wagons for coolers and grills, and the tragic background of a North vs. South conflict with a far more friendly National Football Conference vs. American Football Conference rivalry. To help celebrate today’s delicate balance of sports plus eating (minus the killing), we’ve put together our guide to our Top 10 NFL Tailgating Experiences.
1. Get comfy. These Miami Dolphin fans are doing it right with beer bongs and giant collapsible chairs.
2. Set up one (or several) tv screens for optimal viewing. These NFL fans came fully prepared to watch the game from every angle.
3. Represent the colors of your team. This Carolina Panthers fans is getting in the “blue” spirit.
4. Stay warm. These Jets fans smartly realize their grill can double as a hand-warmer.
5. Don’t forget the holidays. Those Jets fans also know how to properly celebrate a holiday game.
6. Wear something ridiculous. Do as these Detroit Lions fans do and wear a furry version of your mascot on your head.
7. Go over the top. Props to whoever brought the giant Seahawks player.
8. Bring props to taunt your opponents. There’s nothing like a gravestone or two to your competition know where they stand.
9. Facepaint! Bring enough color to get ‘shoed like this Colts fan.
10. Don’t get intimidated by others. You do you. Ignore the haters.