Brandon Weeden can’t lose football games by himself. No, it takes the collective effort of every Cleveland Brown to lose in such an inspired, spectacular fashion. The fact is, the right team can make us better at whatever we’re doing. And whether your goal is to put on a kickass tailgate or strangle the last flicker of hope out of the Cleveland metro area — you can’t go it alone. Here are our top 10 tailgating crews.
10. The Winters Brothers
Since 1990, Joe, Jimmy, Michael and Andrew Winters have been braving lousy weather to cheer on the Jets. And there you have it. In one sentence, I have nothing in common with these people. They won the New York Regional competition for the 2011 Bing National Tailgating Championship with their menu of Jets-themed food, like Cotchery Cole Slaw, Marinated Revis Ribeye, The Sanchez Vomit Bag, Cromartie’s Ipecac Taco and Rex Ryan’s Gravycheese Milkshake.
9. OSU Home Base
Since 1998, OSU home base has been getting slam drunk before Ohio State football games. Originally, the four charter members drank a keg handcuffed to a tree, which is exactly the kind of thing you’d do when you split a keg four ways. These days, the group has some trademark tailgating games, like “Ouch My Toes,” which is “Jenga” with two by fours, and “Drinko” which is like Plinko with — hang onto your socks — drinking.
8. The Bad Boyz of BBQ
This Raiders outfit boasts a deep fryer, hot dog cooker and a killer menu that has earned them recognition in both the parking lot and on the Food Network. My praise of these guys has nothing to do with my pants-peeing fear of Raiders fans or their resemblance to The Legion of Doom. The inclusion of the “Z” in their name certainly helps legitimize their claims of toughness, and the “Let’s Get This Party Started,” on their website, scrawled in George Washington’s handwriting, is a totally necessary addition.
7. The Big Blue Tailgating Crew
I’m not going to lie. I don’t know anything about the BBTG. But they have to be on this list because their website, which hasn’t been updated since 2010, looks like everyone’s dad experimenting with Geocities in 1997. “Let’s kick this baby up a notch with some italics.”
6. The House of Cards
This Arizona Cardinals tailgating outfit started in 1996 with prepackaged sandwiches and a foldout table and probably some Juicy Juice and an encouraging note from mom or something. They boast a resident “intoxicologist” who will yell at you if you’re not drinking, and have more than one member whose specialty is “tequila management.” This all sounds startlingly similar to sophomore year.
Photo Credit: AZ House of Cards
5. The Bengal Bomb Squad
At first, I was surprised at how “extreme” these guys seemed, until I remembered the Bengals have tiger stripes on their helmets, for God’s sake. Their website shows the Bomb Squad as a team of superheroes uh… partying? And their tailgates feature a full bar, a secret cooking competition, “Paul Brown Cider,” “Bengal Bombs” and face paint for the kids. That, uh… actually all sounds pretty great.
4. The Water Buffalo Tailgating Club
Look man, I’m a Patriots fan, and even I think this sounds fishy. These guys founded the “Tailgating for a Cause” program (that cause is not blacking out, apparently). They sell charity-based concessions inside of Gillette Stadium, and they make every effort to donate to those in need. Doesn’t this almost feel like a well-thought-out PR move in the post-Spygate era? Either way. Good on these guys.
3. The Broncos Bus Crew
From 2003-2011, the Broncos Bus crew drank 7,202 beers, consumed 1,440 pounds of meat, ate 400 pounds of green chili, and played roughly 8,000 games of beer pong. I’m less impressed by the numbers themselves and more impressed that they’ve been tracking these numbers for the past nine years. You don’t do that unless you’re planning on telling someone about it.
2. Sweetwater War Wagon
This is the name of both an FSU tailgating group and its trademark vehicle. Now, I’ve been waiting to tear into FSU since the 1993 championship, and these jerks are no exception. After all, their “war wagon” (reading) is a… fixed up military ambulance that they use to honor service men and women? And (reading more) they start every tailgate with a national anthem, and veteran raising a POW MIA flag? And they’re supplied and sponsored by Georgia’s Sweetwater Brewery? Well. I’m sure they’re lousy tippers, anyway.
1. Houston’s Bulls Eye Tailgater
I could spend the time to tell you about the multiple awards they’ve won — some at a national level. Instead, I’m just going to list some of the nicknames that they’ve given themselves on their website. Buddha, Raybo, Chupa, Douche, Boom Boom, The Train, Quacho, Smokey, Cosmic Banana, C/Murk (with a slash), Croc and John “Funky Cold” Medina. And the best part? Their next rookie member “Could Be You.” That means you, Pepe, Sandwich, Flank Steak, Allen Wrench, Tuber, Kategory, Sick Day, Typhoid, Single Dad, Nurple and Bill Murray.
My advice to you? Don’t stand idly by and let these guys become Avengers to your X-Men: The Last Stand. Grab your own buddies and go start your own legend. We’ll all be waiting.