A Tailgater’s Off-Season Frenzy

If you are die-hard NFL fan like me you probably have been busy this weekend checking the Web for free agent signings and updates.  Hopefully your favorite team has been more active than mine!  And for you Bears’ fans, congrats on Peppers and Taylor!

This NFL off-season frenzy got this tailgater to thinking.   We tailgaters too are undergoing an off-season make-over.  Last season is history for your NFL team and for your tailgating team.  Next season will bring new faces for both groups.  Will the 2010 version be better than the 2009 version?  A lot is riding on this off-season.  Just look…

There has been a few signs of a turn around, but as a whole the economy is still in the crapper.  Despite this fact NFL ticket prices continue to rise.  Less disposable income for the fan means the possibility of losing a few key members of your tailgating crew.  As a tailgater you can only hope that those members saying good-bye aren’t the “meat” or “beer” guy.  Otherwise you better hope that you have a few extra bucks to step up or have a well-off replacement waiting in the wings.  Maybe not a Peppers, but at least a Kampman.

Another passing year means the pressure of maintaining relationships and friendships.  Despite your best efforts you are most likely to lose a few friends and a girlfriend or two (hopefully not a wife or two!). With this situation you are again looking for replacements.  More pressure because you have to assure that the newbies can co-exist and flourish with the old gang.  You are hoping for Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips.  But at a minimum at least a guy or gal that can get the pong ball in the cup, hold their liquor, and supports the home team.  Thankfully opening day isn’t until September!

After much effort you have either managed to keep the same crew or find viable replacements.  On to the next hurdle.  You know the old saying, “location, location, location.”

There has to be others out there like me doing the year-to-year plan with tickets.  I used to be a season ticket holder with the Eagles, but the prices became a bit too pricey for this fan’s wallet.  Every off-season my buddies and I scour the wire for the best deal on season tickets (ebay).  New tickets means new seats.  New seats means adjusting to new fans in the stadium or even a new tailgating spot to ensure easier access to and from the stadium.

You pray that the off-season trade-in of tickets works like Flacco to Boldin.  The alternative is a parking spot near annoying, too loud chicks or the Al Bundy like guy who needs to relive his high school football glory by going constantly too long in the parking lot for passes that end up hitting your car and grill.  Even worse, once inside the stadium it could mean constant interruptions from a man with the bladder of a 2 year old or a family more concerned with the latest concession stand goodies than the action on the field.

And lastly and probably most importantly, you have to think about the transportation to the tailgate.  Will the old paint colored van start-up for another season?  Will you need to go the route of Giants stadium and bring in a flashier model?  But will the new ride be as forgiving and comfortable as the old one?  Will you get in trouble for a dropped saucy rib?  Will the wife flip her lid when she goes to start the car the next morning and is overcome with the smell of cigar smoke?  Did the crap economy force you to downsize?  Can you tailgate in a Yaris or a Civic?  And what about that newborn?  Can you possibily tailgate in a van that screams more soccer mom than manly man?

So as you can see A LOT is riding on these upcoming months.  Will your tailgating crew go the way of  the Chicago Bears or the Arizona Cardinals this off-season?  You are the one playing GM…pick wisely!