We can all agree that tailgates are radical. But often lost in the conversation is the delicate balance of just what makes a tailgate tailGREAT. Y’see, much like a dish needs a dash of salt, just the right amount of cardamom and no cilantro (because cilantro is for sociopaths), a tailgate can only succeed with the perfect blend of personalities. What kind of personalities, you ask? Who knows? If only there was some kind of website dedicated to this kind of… OH, RIGHT HERE.
The Kid takes the bottom slot on our list because he could be the ruination of your entire tailgate. He’s under 21, but he’s cool with the people there. Now, it is not in the interest of Tailgate Fan to suggest supplying The Kid with any mature beverages. All we CAN say is that the most dangerous of Kids are the ones who are 20.5 years old, but look 12 (we all knew Kids like this). If you’re not careful, they’ll be caught shotgunning a beer, and then your whole tailgate is done for. I’ve seen it happen before. It’s lousy. That said, The Kid does add bright enthusiasm and youthful vigor. So keep him around. Just be careful.
Can be found at: Any tailgate at any college.
One of the beautiful parts about tailgating is that expectations for fashion are generally pretty low. Cool clothing in the summer, warm in the winter, and anything with your team’s logo on it. But no, this isn’t good enough for the Fancy-Pants. The Fancy-Pants puts on a sharp blazer, spiffy tie (with a tie clip!) freshly pressed khakis and well-polished shoes to attend his tailgate. The ladies, they wear fine dresses. Both sip on wine and snack on hors d’oeuvres and probably laugh like this: “TA TA TA TA TA TA.” Look, different strokes I guess, but for me, this misses the mark.
Can be found at: Many southern schools, but most notably Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.
Ah, The Bro. Of all the entries on our list, The Bro might be the most pervasive throughout society as a whole. The Bro lifts a lot of weights and tries to “score” whenever possible. He’s usually wearing a visor in any direction except the right one, and he always seems to have sunglasses. The Bro prefers Jager shots, but really, any will do. And dude, he just doesn’t understand why you don’t want to party, bro? Much like a Pokemon can only communicate by saying his own name (“PikaCHU!”) you can identify bros by the way they constantly say “Bro. BRO!? Bro. BRO. Bro” all while trying to hit on your sister, girlfriend, wife or mother.
Can be found at: Any prestigious football school that hasn’t cracked the top 50 in US News & World Report’s university rankings.
At first blush, The Douche Bag appears like your normal jeans ‘n t-shirt tailgater. However, The Douche Bag makes their presence known after the game is over. You can identify The Douche Bag by how they interact with opposing fans. They’re colossally crappy, condescending and mean. Case in point, one time whilst attending Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish were playing the Purdue Boilermakers at home (Purdue, of course, being a fine school with a fine football team.) Purdue eked out a win over the Irish. And good for them. Hard-fought game, and they came out with it. Outside of the stadium, I saw a couple of Purdue fans high-fiving and talking about the game. That’s when I saw a classmate of mine say, “Oh YEAH? While YOU’LL be WORKING FOR US SOMEDAY!” thereby implying Notre Dame was an academically superior school. THAT. THAT is a Douche Bag.
Can be found at: Any prestigious football school that HAS cracked the top 50 in US News & World Report’s university rankings.
You know him, you love him. The Drunk went to bed 90 minutes before the tailgate. Then he woke up 60 minutes before the tailgate and started a power hour. He puked and rallied while drinking coffee (I’m loathe to admit that I’ve done this). And he shows up to your tailgate not just half in the bag, but, like, nine halves in the bag. But like a beautiful, brilliant star, he will go out in a blaze of glory, either by passing out, disappearing or being apprehended by the proper authorities.
Can be found at: Again, most colleges.
The Wizard is arguably the most intriguing person at the tailgate. He’s a member of your group of friends, but on the day of the tailgate, he suddenly gains a series of mischievous powers. For instance, he won’t have walked over to the tailgate with you, but then suddenly he’ll appear out of nowhere with a handle of rum. When you turn back, he’s gone again. Then he’s back, with a staff of beer cans built as high as his head. Then he’s gone again. After the game, suddenly he’s behind you with Kate Upton. All the while, he’s seemingly unfazed by all of this. It should be noted that The Wizard can rotate among your friends every tailgate. The universe is mysterious about whom it grants its powers to.
Can be found at: Nobody knows. Not even The Wizard.
The Dad is the most lovable member of your tailgate. He uses old-timey phrases, talks about what college was like when he was there, and he’s always got a good-natured laugh. He’s adorable, especially paired with his partner The Mom or, hell, if you’re lucky maybe even another Dad. The Dad’s only deficit is that he doesn’t understand the needs of the modern drunk, and he’ll frequently show up to your tailgate with four cases, astounded that any tailgate would need more than that.
Can be found at: Good tailgates!
The Invincible 50-Year-Old is never The Dad. He’s usually an uncle or a friend or some distant cousin. And alcohol does not phase him. He shoots as well as the younger folk, but it only seems to fuel some kind of twisted combustion engine in his soul. Later in the evening, he may challenge larger members of your crew to wrasslin’ contests, which he will win, because he has been imbued with the powers of drunk strength. Don’t feel bad. He’s been doing this for a long, long time.
Can be found at: Mostly Big 10 schools.
The Chef barely drinks, except for maybe a few sips of beer. The Chef should not be bothered, for he or she is the creator of food. The Chef needs quiet while working on the subtleties of brisket, and whether or not the indirect cooking is working as it should. The Chef commands respect amongst the tailgate. Like a high-ranking official, he or she is immune to challenges of shots or shotguns, chop-busting and the like. The Chef is the high priest of the tailgate.
Can be found at: Schools with good cooking traditions. LSU is a prime breeding ground.
There are not many Legends in the tailgating world. Hell, we profiled 10 of them not that long ago. They are the captains of incredible vehicles and unbelievable spreads. Understand, “The Legend” is an additional moniker, since The Legend can be #6-2 on our list in addition. In short, there are no more than three at any given tailgate ever, anywhere. And when you meet them, you are to speak in hushed tones, and with reverence. Remember that, child.
Can be found: few and far between, at tailgates far away in distant lands.
So there you have it. Incidentally, if you’re wondering, I flip-flopped between “The Drunk” and “The Wizard.” Sorry I’m not sorry.