What is a tailgate in football?

A tailgate in football is a gathering generally held in the parking lot of a stadium before the game. Tailgates usually involve cooking and eating food, drinking and playing games.

On some occasions, tailgates are going to take place after a game as well but generally, they are before kickoff.

In the NFL, tailgates can start as early as six hours before kickoff though this usually results in the participants being quite inebriated by the time the game rolls around.

What happens during a tailgate?


One of the main activities at a tailgate is grilling. When walking through a parking lot of a stadium before a big football game you will notice tons of grills and grillmasters.

Many fans will bring their grills to the game along with tons of food which they will eat during the tailgate.

On some occasions, fans may be selling foods from their tailgate or if your wearing the right jersey you may even get some food for free.

If you are hosting the tailgate some sort of food is a must. With stadium food not usually being the best quality, it is often a good idea to cook your own.

If you are showing up to someone else’s tailgate it can be helpful to bring food or drink of some sort. It may be considered rude to show up empty-handed to these events especially if you are being cooked for.


One of the other main activities of tailgates in football is drinking. Depending on your age and lifestyle drinking can be the main purpose of the tailgate or something to do while you eat some great food.

Some tailgates are going to play out like a college party with fans playing all sorts of drinking games.

A great example of this can be seen with the Bills Mafia who often find themselves jumping through folding tables from the roof of their cars.

Drinking like this isn’t always going to happen at a tailgate

Prior to going to the game fans can read up about the different parking lot areas for the stadium. This will help you to determine which type of atmosphere each parking lot has.

There are always more rowdy tailgating areas and areas in which the energy level is a little more relaxed.


On top of eating and drinking football fans are often going play games in the parking lot.

The most popular option is playing bag-o or throwing around a football. Parking lot games like this can be a fun way to pass the time and often allow you to meet some other fans who are making their way through the tailgate.

Taking in the atmosphere

A tailgate can also be a great way for a fan who doesn’t live in the area to really appreciate the atmosphere of home-field advantage. If you are a football fan that has always watched his team on television then going to the stadium is going to offer a unique experience.

Going through the tailgate and seeing how the fans act and how passionate they are about the team can be a lot of fun.

This is one way that you can use the tailgate to feel a lot more involved in the fanbase.

That is all on tailgates in football to learn more about football terms find the answers to questions like what is a series in football or what is a drive.

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