HBO Piece Focuses On ‘Dark Side of Tailgating’

hbo-sports.jpgYou may have caught the first run of HBO’s popular sports news magazine show Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday, January 22, 2008. The opening segment was an expose on excessive alcohol consumption at NFL games. Much of the segment focused on drinking while tailgating. If you saw the program or not you can probably imagine the images they chose to show. NFL fans drinking to the point where they are no longer able to stand up, vomiting at the stadium gates, chugging beers out of a road cone and public urination were just a few of the negative images HBO chose to include in this piece. Although the segment showcased negative fan behavior throughout the entire NFL game day experience, the public perception of tailgating took a serious hit. To that point I suggest HBO air a follow-up piece depicting the positive and responsible side of tailgating.

If you have not seen the Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel segment, the power of the internet is here for you. The entire segment was broken up into two separate videos and has already shown up YouTube.

Part 1

You get the point. Drinking and tailgating at an NFL game were not shown to be a positive aspect of the entire NFL game day experience.

tailgate-binge-drinking.jpgI understand that the piece was designed to rip the lid off of what I call ‘the dark side of tailgating’. HBO’s intent was to shock the audience. Mission accomplished. Images of NFL fans doing shots of Crown Royal at 8 am to the point where they are throwing up before kick off would shock just about anyone. Do you think HBO is going to invest a lot of time and money and bring back footage of tailgaters who have a few beers, stay in complete control the entire time and have a designated driver to take them home after the game is over? Where is the shock value in that? Yet again, the national media showcases those that take this activity to the extreme and make it look as if every NFL stadium parking lot resembles a prison riot.

As with anything in life, when you gather enough people together in the same area, you are going to have some morons who exhibit rude, obnoxious and boorish behavior. I don’t care if it is a frat party, a tailgate party or a private house party. When people drink to excess they will display a new level of jackassedness. (I know that is not a real word but it should be to adequately describe this type of behavior.)

Binge drinking is the personal choice of the individual drinker. We as a society can not legislate morality or good manners. We tried that. It was called Prohibition and it failed miserably. Parents are in the business of teaching manners and proper conduct. If you want to blame anyone for this bad behavior caught by the HBO cameras, blame the failures of America’s parents.

binge-drinkers.jpgI am 100% opposed to drinking and driving. Everyone should designate a sober driver if they plan to drink while tailgating. If you have a responsible ride home and you will not act obnoxious outside or inside the game, who is HBO or the NFL to tell us how much we can consume prior to the game? I will admit that is a very big “if” and people tailgating to excess does pose a problem. However, this problem is not quarantined to just the tailgating parking lots. This problem persists anywhere people choose to overindulge in alcohol consumption. Until everyone in this country makes a conscience choice not to binge drink or get drunk, this problem will always be around no matter what venue or activity they choose to do it prior.

I would encourage HBO and Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel to air a follow-up piece on the fellowship and camaraderie that tailgating generates. Tailgating is not all about shots of Jose Cuervo at 9 am with a chaser of sexual harassment by kick-off. I am confident that the “Dead Tree Crew”, the well known boisterous tailgating group of Redskins fans known a the DTC, are not an accurate example of how the majority of NFL fans choose to tailgate. Unfortunately in the case of the HBO Real Sports segment, it is the proverbial “bad apples” that ruin the image of tailgating for everyone.

Will HBO do a follow-up story on how tailgating is enjoyed responsibly by millions of people across the United States and Canada? I doubt it. Showing images of tailgaters sharing shish kabobs with the fans that parked next to them is not interesting enough for TV. Informing the general public that revenue from the purchase of tailgating merchandise is a multi-billion dollar industry doesn’t really have that shock value of belligerent fans throwing hay-makers at halftime.

It’s sad, really. Then again, much like the ill-behaved tailgaters shown on HBO, why would we expect the media to act responsibly as well?

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4 thoughts to “HBO Piece Focuses On ‘Dark Side of Tailgating’”

  1. Geesh.. What a downer…. Glad I didn’t get involved with that segment.. F*ck that… Definitely gotta stay away from drinking and driving..

    I drink at the tailgate but stop before I go inside the stadium.. I always stay for a while after the game as well. Gives me enough time to sober up and eat some more…

  2. 1. We were actually taking shots at 7:53 AM. HBO Rounded up.

    2. The original YouTube version of this video was posted by MJD via

    It was taken down because he didn’t have permission to post it. I however do, since I am in fact mentioned by name. This is DTC hosted video. Your welcome.

    3. The DTC isnt for everyone. We make that clear. But just because we don’t tailgate like you, doesnt mean we are not properly tailgating.

    Most of the footage you saw, was on Arena drive. The main road that leads you to the Fed Ex Field parking lot.

    We couldnt get in until 12:00 NOON, as the gates open 4 hours before, so if you didnt see us cooking up burgers, well that’s because is 7 motherf*cking 53 am.

    Chugging Crown first thing is a DTC tradition. The traffic cone is a legend, and should be reffered to as the DTC Cone. It’s not your ordinary traffic cone we scooped off the beltway on our way to the game.

    Prior to each game, a new cone is purchased rom Home Depot. A complex paint process then ensues. First a white primer is sprayed on it. Next the color coat. Colors are typically either white, burgundy, mettalic gold, and black. The final coat is a polyurithane clear coat that stops the paint from being tacky, and firms the body of the cone.

    It has recently been lettered the past few games, starting with a memorial to Sean Taylor.

    The cone has sure evolved over the years, as the legend was born when the CEO (Co-founder) was dared to wear a Fed Ex Field security orange jacket and chug a beer out of a dirty road cone on top of the hill.

    Your tailgate has your history. So does mine.

    4. The Dead Tree Crew was featured on FOX 5’s pregame show during the 2001 season opened againt the Cheifs. I was shown cooking up my famous Redskin burgers. And talked about the changed security, this being 2 weeks after September 11th. Since then we have had air time on NBC, ABC, FOX 5 again, Comcast Sports, the Discovery Channel( ) and now HBO.

    Print articles in the Warpath magazine and Washington post.

    We have been the subject of ridicule and praise (mostly ridicule)on popular sports blogs including but not limited too:

    Mr. Irrelevant (Big ups to the Mottram brothers)

    DC Sports Bog (Shout out to Agent Steinz)

    Hogs Haven (The best Washington Redskins blog on the internet)


    With Leather

    Scott VanPelt Style

    Awful Announcing

    Gimme that Brew

    AOL Fan House


    The Big Lead

    DC Steeler Nation

    I am sure there are more I am forgetting, and I am sure there are some I havent even seen.

    Our most popular piece of media will always be our music video titled, Hit a Motherf*cking Eagle fan.

    You can say whatever you want, but you can’t say the DTC don’t have sawg. We have always been hot on the lot, now we are hot on the streets.

    5. We have grown over the years. We started with just three, now we can have almost 150-200 people at a time.

    There is a lot of preperation behind this tailgate. The President and myself spend alot of time, money and effort to get thing thing rolling.

    Newer members Coach and S have really stepped up as of late and helped us big time the past few seasons.

    If you don’t think we eat at the game, you are sadly mistaken. An excellent menu is planned for every game before the team shows up for training camp.

    Enough food to feed 50-75 people is done exclusively by myself and the President.

    We have a radio system that pumps out 800 watts of bass. It can be heard in a 600 yard radius.

    The tailgate is about 75% regulars, and 25% new comers or, “1 or 2 gamers” (notice the percantage of opposing fans). I have met alot of people during the past 6 years that I consider close freinds and I even met my current girlfriend of almost 2 years who I am in love with dearly.

    How is that for camaraderie?

    6. The producer of the show, Andrew Bennett contacted me a few weeks before the Redskins season finale. He asked if he could film the DTC for the season premiere of Real Sports. Mr. Bennett was very upfront when telling me the focus of the segement. He hid no puches, and was upfront from the begining.

    I accepted. Do you know why? Because the DTC is like a business. We want to grow every year. We want more and more hardcore Redskin fans to replace the sissies who go to the game and complain about the food prices, the prices of the beer, the team on the field, and the guys that tell you to sit down when we get a first down.

    7. I want to make one thing clear. The majority of DTC tailgaters have a safe and sober ride home. You can surf through many a gameday picture section and not once see me drink alcohol. 4 games a year I am my groups driver, and my group seats 7 in my SUV.

    As you see, the behind the scenes part of the DTC tailgate is very complex and detailed.

    Why wouldnt the most important part of the plan begetting my close friends and loved ones home safely?

    You better f*cking beleieve it is.

    So don’t make any judgements until you attend a DTC tailgate.

    On another subject, I have linked this blog to the DTC Message board.

    I read some other stuff. I like it.

    About time there was a blog devoted to tailgating.

    PS: Ain’t nobody in the DTC was filmed throwing up.

    We go hard.

    The pukers go home.

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