In a press release issued just after midnight, April 1, 2008, the National Football League announced that it has banned all forms of tailgating prior to all games during the 2008 season. The decision was made during the NFL’s owners meetings held in Palm Beach, Fla. The tailgating ban was passed by an almost unanimous vote of 30-2. San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones submitted the two dissenting votes.
In a statement designed to address the expected public outcry, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offered these words in a prepared statement.
“Tailgating prior to National Football League games has become obsolete in today’s society. The NFL is going ‘green’ starting in 2008. In an effort to encourage fans to use public transit to cut down on greenhouse gases, this ban on tailgating will become effective immediately. Parking lot gates at all 32 NFL stadiums will open 90 minutes before kick-off. Fans will be expected to have gathered their belongings from their vehicle within three minutes and will need to make their way to the stadium gates immediately. Any fan attempting to tailgate will be subject to ticket revocation, removal from the premises and possible arrest by local authorities. This decision may be unpopular with our core base of fans but I really don’t care. We would rather you watch the game on TV anyway.”
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder did not offer much support to tailgaters either.
“Do you realize how much money I am losing by allowing people to come to FedEx Field and prepare their own food and bring their own drinks instead of buying my concessions? I’m worth billions of dollars but I could always use a few extra bucks to pay for another high priced free agent that will eventually turn out to be a bust. Getting people to pay $8 for a beer inside instead of drinking their own while tailgating will help me do that.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy empathized with the tailgating public but ultimately said the decision was not his to make.
“We looked closely at tailgating at all 32 NFL stadiums and felt that a change was needed. After all, we banned tailgating at the Super Bowl this year and that didn’t prevent anyone from enjoying the game. Some internet blogger even thought starting a petition would make us change our policy. That went over like a fart in church. The fact remains that the Super Bowl has not suffered in popularity despite a lack of tailgating and the owners made this decision on their own. If the tailgaters have a problem with it, they should take it up with them at next year’s owners meetings. Until that time, the tailgating ban will be in effect for all 2008 NFL pre-season, regular season and post-season games. If the tailgaters don’t like it, go tailgate before a Major League Baseball game. I am sure teams like the Florida Marlins would love the extra fans.”
The major proponents of tailgating, Joe Cahn, the self-proclaimed Commissioner of Tailgating, Stephen Linn of Theultimatetailgater.com and Jeff Dockery of the American Tailgaters Association were all too stunned by the news to provide an adequate reaction or comment.
For more on this story and to read the NFL’s press release in its entirety, please click HERE.