By Brian Cullen

Brace yourselves, sports fans. Football season is finally upon us again. And we’re about to embark on another season full of ingesting 50,000-calories each weekend as we pull for our favorite teams to bring home a trophy.

But before the bedlam begins, we’d like to take a moment to honor the truest, grittiest, most passionate fans out there.


While players come and go with every trade and free agency signing, you, tailgating fans, have been there for every lousy season, blizzard, heat wave and more.

tom brady An Ode To The Tailgating Fan

Tom Brady (Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

You were there for Brady’s stupid haircut. No, not that one. The other one. Not that one either. Ok, you know what? You were there for every stupid Brady haircut.

You were there for RichRod. You were there for (click that at your own risk).

You were there for the Tuck Rule, for the last 15 years of Al Davis, for the JaMarcus Russell debacle and for two tenures of Art Shell. You were there for Lane Kiffin.

And Tennessee, you were there for Lane Kiffin.

And USC, you’re there now for, wow, Lane Kiffin again? Geez.

You were there when Nick Saban quit to go coach the pros, except — hey! Just kidding! Now he’s coaching a team in your conference!

You were there when Lawrence Taylor went all “Beast Mode” on your quarterback.

You’re there right now, when there’s a quarterback race between John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, the Domino’s Noid and a plate of coldcuts.

norv turner An Ode To The Tailgating Fan

Norv Turner (Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

You were there when your stacked football team “upgraded” from Marty Schottenheimer to Norv Turner, a man who perpetually looks like he’s worried about the bank foreclosing on his house.

You were there for Bob Davie, for George O’Leary, for Tyrone Willingham, for Charlie Weis, and for that angry, yelling man who’s there now.

You were there when your team moved to Baltimore, and became awesome. Then you got an expansion team, which, in embracing city traditions, immediately became a team of punch lines.

You were there when Urban Meyer left you twisting in the wind. I’m… actually not sure which team I’m addressing right now. This has happened like six times before, right?

You were there for four Wide Rights and a Wide Left. Against Miami.

scott norwood An Ode To The Tailgating Fan

Scott Norwood (Photo Credit: George Rose/Getty Images)

And YOU… you were there for Scott Norwood’s Wide Right.

You were there for the “Heidi” game.

Every year, depending on your sport of choice, your league hosts either 31 or 119 non-champions. Meaning that your chances of seeing your boys bring home a trophy is pretty small, all things considered. Still, every year, you brave inclement weather, bone-headed coaching moves, lousy traffic, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver and huge crowds — all just to show your support.

And so, in preparation of a season that’s sure to be full of stories glorifying the players — today, tailgate fans, we salute you. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for making game day awesome.

Sadly, there is no rest for the weary. And so, we normal fans of nebulous resolve must ask you to take up your flags and grills once again and forever more: for our sake, and for the sake of your team we implore you — show us how to be fans.

Now go fire up that grill and let’s get started!

Read more about the tailgating fan.

Stop in at the Man Cave, where the women are hot and the beer is cold.

Brian Cullen would be even more appreciative if you shared your bratwursts with him. No, not that one. The one of the lef- yeah! Perfect. That one. You can follow him on Twitter @Bucketcullen.


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