TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 20: Florida State Seminole fans root for there team against the University of Miami Hurricanes in the second quarter at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium October 20, 2007 in Tallahassee, Florida. Miami defeated FSU 37-29.Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images
Much like pizza, naps, grilled cheese sandwiches and Boone’s Farm, tailgating is something that it’s impossible to do wrong. However, I think we can all agree that it’s naive to believe that all tailgates are created equal. While some parking lot jams are nothing more than two folded chairs and a sixer of Hamm’s Special Light (and believe me — that’s fine. Wheresoever two or more people gather in celebration of the big game, the spirit of tailgating shall be there), there are others that simply perform above and beyond the rest. That’s why today Tailgate Fan takes some time to pay homage to the tailgates with the most bad-ass pregame rituals out there.
10. FSU’s Alligator Roast
Every year, classy Seminole fans show their charming appreciation for cross-state rival Florida Gators by killing, cooking and eating their mascot. While this tradition in and of itself isn’t too horrifying, it gets downright barbaric when the Terps, Golden Eagles, Bulls, and Wolf Pack come to town.
Every year, the Buckeyes play a heated game against their arch-douchebags the University of Michigan Wolverines. To celebrate the occasion, students will get themselves good and liquored up and then do the next most logical thing — jump en masse into a freezing cold lake. (I would have just gone to a burrito place, but hey, that’s me.) You can tell that this tradition is probably awesome because the administration is firmly against it, and college administrations are always buzzkills.
8. Burning Couches at WVU
After winning big games, students at West Virginia University like to show their appreciation for their teammates by SETTING A DAMN COUCH ON FIRE. That’s extreme enough that I pulled out the caps lock AND the italics. Now, before we get too excited here, it should be noted that these people are living in West Virginia. What else are they going to do — take in an opera? They also burn couches after losing games, graduating, birthday parties, taking a nice, relaxing nap and finishing a light lunch.
Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
7. Dressing Like an A-Hole at Oakland Raiders Games
I’m terrified of Raiders fans, mostly because they look like a Gwar concert got way out of hand and then nobody put a stop to it. But hey, when in Raider Nation, you gotta do what Beefcake the Mighty would do: dress up and act like a maniac. Just remember, that silver paint is probably toxic, so careful if you’re eating ribs or something similar.
There are a lot of football stadiums that are set pretty far away from downtown, which facilitates the need for a tailgate in the first place. But apparently, a good chunk of the tailgating at Nebraska actually happens downtown, which, holy crap you guys, I thought downtown Nebraska looked like this. But apparently they have lots of actual stuff, like Applebee’s and, uh, the parking lot next to Applebee’s.
Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
5. Kicking Off an FSU Game at Indian Village
Indian Village is located right next to Doak Campbell Stadium. Rather than elaborate on the scene myself, I’ll let a Florida State student do the talking:
FSU-UF tailgate was out of control. We had the music going and the neighbors had some girls making their fathers unhappy.
Believe me folks, I was about as happy pasting that sentence as you were reading it. I’m gonna go shower and read Winnie the Pooh, that I might hopefully regain some childlike naivety.
4. ASU’s “Techno Tailgate”
My research tells me that there’s something that Arizona State does called the “Techno Tailgate.” But frankly, unless they found a way to invite Virginia Tech’s TRON NATION, I don’t know how techno they can be. So how’d these kids do? Let’s go to the tape. Go on. I’ll wait while you watch.
Hooooooooo-kay. That certainly was exactly as advertised. And there sure were a lot of drunk people dancing just about as well as they can. And that one cowboy guy, is he a uhhhh… professional… you know?
Tell you this much, gang. I don’t know if that video makes me want to go back to college, or never have children. But it’s definitely one of those two options.
3. The Midnight Yell at Texas A&M
The Aggies are famous for their enthusiastic fans, and there’s perhaps no better example of this than their weekly Midnight Yell. Each week during football season, students will gather en masse at midnight and practice screaming their lungs out. They’re even coached by “Yell Leaders” who will teach them new yells before each game. And while this technically takes place before a football game, I’m willing to bet it’s held near a parking lot and at least one person is drunk. Also, did you guys see that episode of Criminal Minds where the bad guy planned all his crimes at A&M at midnight on Fridays? That’s a clever dude, right there.
Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
2. The World’s Largest Cocktail Party
The annual game between Florida and Georgia got its famous moniker after a sportscaster saw a drunk guy offer a beer to a uniformed cop. You should also note that the article I just linked to also includes the phrases “alcohol-fueled outburst” and “Florida fans stormed the field and tore down the goalposts.” In addition to combining my four favorite words into one thing, the World’s Largest Cocktail Party sounds, I don’t know, like a pretty good time, I guess.
Ah, Green Bay, Wisconsin, known for “Oh, the Olive Garden” and “no, no, the other Olive Garden” and a halfway decent football team. But look — Green Bay is a city that gets cold and hopeless by September 8th every year. But any Lambeau faithful will tell you that the colder it gets, the more it steels packs your resolve. Just remember, for the next ice cold game in Green Bay, there’s always plenty of brats and cheese to help put on some extra cushioning.
Now, you know what bugs me? The dearth of NFL traditions I was able to find. Look, man, I know everyone gets old and sad after 25, but not one of you can put a box of beer on your head and come up with a kooky dance? Come on, guys. You’re better than that. Let’s get some joy while we can.