The Tenants of Tailgating


Published: October 11, 2007

Football season is here again and you know what that means; tailgating is also upon us. Football fans all over the country will be pulling up lawn chairs, firing up the grill and drinking from the cooler before their team’s big home games. Whether you are tailgating in Giants Stadium or with the parents of the Rams’ football team at Fordham University, nothing compares to an authentic tailgating experience.

As Eric DiForce, FCRH ’09, puts it, “Tailgating should be like the way you are at the beach…the calm before the storm, unless the game is a big game against a rival.”

There are three essentials to running a successful tailgate:


This Miami fan and Eric DiForce, FCRH ’09, agree: “Never tailgate without meat.” (Scott Fisher/MCT)

1. The Early Arrival

For the average football fan, arriving at the game up to an hour before kickoff may seem practical, but not for die-hard tailgaters.

“I generally arrive two to three hours before the game, which is still too late to some real die-hards,” said Dan Benton, staff writer of Giants 101. “If you want to go at it hard and be there from the start, you should probably arrive the second the parking lots [at Giants Stadium] open.”

Whether you are in the Bronx or East Rutherford, the early arrival is vital for any tailgate. Arriving early assures that you and your friends will have first pick in choosing a prime location in which to set up shop. Getting there early also gives you an opportunity to get a head start on the pre-game festivities.

As a recent graduate and former Fordham wide receiver, Mike Melvin, FCRH ’07, said, “The parents (of the team) are usually tailgating by 10 a.m., before the one o’clock kickoff. You should bring whatever you see necessary but most of the stuff involved can be supplied (by the parents).”


2. Eat, Drink and Be Merry

What’s a tailgate without good food and drink? Supplying food and drink to the tailgate will keep you and your friends in good spirits for the game. However, what kind of food and drink you bring can say a lot about your tailgate.

Sean Carroll, also a staff writer for Giants 101, separates tailgating into two categories: the Classic and New Age.

“One way to tailgate (The Classic) is to bring some old-school lawn chairs, a small grill, sausages, burgers, bratwurst, some nice beers and soda,” Carroll explained. “There’s also the “New Age” tailgate, which consists of hoagies, lots of cheap beer and liquor.”

DiForce never attempts a tailgate without one key ingredient: “(You) always use meat,” he stated. “Never tailgate without meat.”

3. Entertainment and Tradition

So you arrived early and have your food and drink ready, but what are you going to do afterwards? Each tailgate has its own forms of entertainment before the game, but some even have their own rituals that must be performed prior to the game’s start.

“There’s nothing like a game of two-hand touch football in between a massive row of cars,” Benton said.

Heckling the fans of the opposing team can also provide a source of entertainment throughout the tailgate. Adam Dexter, FCLC ’10, stated, “under no circumstances should anyone wear a jersey or hat of the opposing team unless you want to get screamed at constantly.”

With the Fordham tailgate, the tradition itself is the people who attend. “All the players uniting with football alumni is a great experience,” Melvin said. “Players can unite with their former teammates as well as men who played on the Rams in the 1960s, when they brought football back to the Bronx.”

With these three essentials in mind, you too can prepare a successful football tailgate before any big home game. However, as Melvin asserts, there is really only one main requirement in order to have a successful tailgate: “Passion for your team will make any tailgate a great one.”