Nothing is worse than setting up a great tailgate spread and then having nothing to do for four hours but talk to the boring people around you. Almost as worse is having nothing to do but throw around a beaten-up football, because some weekend warrior will inevitably go on a rant about how he won the state title for his high school team 15 years ago and will try to rekindle his glory with a deep pass that he overshoots straight into a bowl of French onion dip.
Be smart and be prepared to have some fun.
First step- drinking games
Drinking games aren’t just for college kids and high school kids with bad parents. If you thought it was weird seeing your mom on Facebook, it’s even weirder seeing a 60-year-old woman playing beer pong but I’ve seen it happen. Beer pong is a delightful drinking game for a parking lot because it’s easy to assemble and because anyone can play.
Outdoor beer pong can be tricky when wind interferes so plan B on the tailgate drinking games is flip cup. Fun for a group of people ready to get their drink on and also a good way to challenge the tailgates around you to win parking lot supremacy. More of a young person’s game but even an older crowd can adapt.
In terms of non-alcoholic tailgate games, cornhole is the only way to go. Terrible name, great party game. Just give it a shot. You will not be disappointed.
Capture the flag. Unlike the traditional game version, this involves sending someone to an opposing fan’s tailgate party and stealing something in the visiting team colors that you can deface and proudly display at your own tailgate.
If you tailgate with a group of people, one of the best food options is going with a chili cook-off. There are no losers with a chili cook-off and there is one clear winner: America. It’s the best way to mingle with the different set ups and a great way to eat a lot of delicious chili. Chili is the most underrated cold-weather tailgate food of all time.
Outside of tossing a football, which is an obvious yet almost always ill-executed tailgate game, the biggest red flag at a tailgate is karaoke. If you see a tailgate party bust out a karaoke machine, you are legally allowed to mug them and steal their tickets to sell on the secondary market. Most sports fans will need at least three beers to make the husky chick in the Roethlisberger jersey even halfway appealing, if she starts belting out Carrie Underwood songs, party over. Any sane person would rather have the football-dip incident 10 times over to avoid awful singing.
The best game to play at a tailgate is simple. It’s just called drink the beer. Do that and you’re guaranteed to have a successful tailgate.
Mark Chalifoux is a contributing writer to CBS ManCave and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @markchalifoux on twitter.