OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 11: Tailgaters roast a pig before the Arizona Cardinals preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on August 11, 2011 in Oakland, California.Oakland Raiders tailgate (Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Everything is bigger in the NFL: longer seasons, larger contracts, and — arguably — bigger tailgates. Now, some claim that tailgating is better left for Saturdays. But these cities are out to prove that only the best grill on Sundays.
The Dolphins are arguably the only likeable sports team in Florida (no thanks to Mercury Morris). The warm Miami tailgates feature tasty Cuban cuisine and visits from official Dolphins cheerleaders. Before making a pass at them, just remember: they don’t get paid to put up with grief.
Raiders fans show up on Friday nights before a home game, because when an aging Carson Palmer is your quarterback, you’ve gotta show up early to beat the crowds.
As you might have guessed, Browns fans have fashioned a bus into a dog that’s biting into a keg. They also specialize in beer can chicken, which is a chicken that has a beer can crammed up its patoot, which is then cooked. How did they figure out how to do this? “Stop asking me questions!” says the Mayor of Cleveland.
The food at Philly tailgates is always a big draw (especially the world famous cheese steaks). But the real treat is seeing the blinding, white-hot rage of Eagles fans when their 8-8 dynasty team drops another game to anyone else in the NFC East.
Thanks to the passionate fans and craft beers, Denver always throws a great tailgate. But consider: last year the Broncos made the playoffs with a walking human interest story. Now, they’ve got Peyton Manning. They could be sharing a box of Teddy Grahams and the environment would still be electrifying.
5. Green Bay
Melted cheese? Grilled meat? Public intoxication? You know Packers fans want a piece of that action. These alleged inventors of the tailgate treat the race to the Super Bowl with as much reverence as the race for “most 400 pound fans.”
4. New England
Known for their somber temperament, the Patriot faithful are quiet enthusiasts of sport who are keen to serve up bowls of New England clam chowder and other seafood favorites every Sunday. Also, they consider Mark Sanchez a gentleman.
I’m not going to make fun of the Bills. They’ve been putting up with a lousy team and freezing temperatures for a long time. Plus, they gave us the buffalo wing and beef and kummelweck sandwiches. Let’s just give them their #3 and leave them alone.
Houston Texans tailgate (Photo Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)
After realizing that you can’t win a real-life championship with fantasy points, Texans tailgaters started bringing so much beef, beer and beef every week that the parking lot is usually more entertaining than the game.
1. Kansas City
When your team is the NFL’s Washington Generals and your coach looks like an aging Carl Winslow, you need something to cheer for. And that’s KC’s tailgating scene. Dedicated Chiefs fans show up a full two days ahead of time, slinging slow-cooked barbeque and ice cold beers. They are widely — and rightly — regarded as the best tailgaters in the NFL.
If you find yourself within driving distance of any of these NFL cities, it is highly suggested you find an excuse to get out there and witness these tailgates firsthand. Or, heck, road trip to all 10. Why not? Send me a postcard.