The Ultimate Tailgate Tour – Part 1

Even if you have a casual interest in tailgating or are a hardcore tailgater, you have probably wondered how to take your tailgating experience to the next level. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to tailgate at every NFL stadium in a single season? There are 32 NFL Teams yet only 17 weeks in the NFL’s regular season. So how can you tailgate at least once before every NFL team’s game? Quite simple but it will take some imagination on your part. In order to do this you would need to be independently wealthy, have an extremely tolerant and understanding spouse and no commitments for the next four to five months. The chances that you have all of those things in your favor? I am assuming pretty close to slim and none is the correct answer. It never hurts to dream so we present to you the 2007 Ultimate Tailgating Tour. Your road map to tailgating at all 31 NFL stadiums (the New York Giants and Jets share the same stadium) in just 17 weeks. Join us as we take you through Part 1 of this two part series.

This exercise in imagination will take into account that you will be traveling via motor coach so that you can bring all your tailgating gear with you. Also, this ultimate tailgate party tour will involve you and two or three of your friends. After all, no one likes to tailgate alone plus you will need them to take turns driving from stadium to stadium. This is the ultimate tailgating tour so if you flew from game to game that would defeat the purpose of this trip. Travel time and distances between stadiums have been taken into consideration to maximize the opportunity to visit every stadium and tailgate prior to at least one game of all 32 NFL teams. This ultimate tailgating tour starts with the home opener of the NFL’s world champions in Indianapolis, Ind.

Week 1
Thursday, September 6th – Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints
What better way to start off the ultimate tailgating tour than by tailgating at the season opening game? Keep in mind this will be one of the final times you grill and tailgate at the RCA Dome because it will be replaced by the Lucas Oil Stadium set for completion next season.

Monday – September 9th – San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
With the amount of distance to be made up between Indy and the Bay Area, you and your tailgating buddies will have to skip tailgating on Sunday and use the day to drive cross country. With three complete days starting on Friday you can easy make the drive to California. Roll into the old Candlestick Park on Monday and you know have two stadiums in the books.

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Week 2
Sunday, September 16th – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills
The Iron City has been called a drinking town with a football problem. The only way to find out is to tailgate the game and discover for yourself. Grab some Iron City Beer in a steel can, put on a black and gold hard hat and you will fit right in.

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Monday, September 17th – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Lucky for you that the City of Brotherly Love is only a five hour drive from Pittsburgh. We’re sure the hangover from the Steelers tailgate party will last well into the next day. Park at Lincoln Financial Field and fire it back up. You have all of next week to rest up. Where you are going next week you and your liver will need the time off.

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Week 3
Sunday, September 23rd – Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Chicago Bear tailgating is notorious for starting early and being one of the most intense tailgating experiences in the NFL. Soldier Field tailgating has taken on a life of its own and seems to be in reaction to the Green Bay Packers Tailgate parties getting so much attention in the media. The rivalry between those two teams is so intense it spills into the parking lot to see who can have the better pre-game tailgate. This is a Sunday Night Football game so you will have to designate a driver to stay sober that will volunteer to start the drive south right after the game.

Monday, September 24th – New Orleans Saints vs. Tennessee Titans
After a 14-hour drive straight south on Interstate 55, you roll into New Orleans and the newly refurbished Super Dome. Make sure to have plenty of Cajun spices for grilled shrimp and a big pot for some jambalaya or gumbo. The best part of ending your week 3 in New Orleans is you will have a few days to hang out in the French Quarter and Bourbon Street before hitting the road to tailgate at your next stop.

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Week 4
Sunday, September 30th – Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Head north my son to the land where pro football was born. On your way to Cleveland, make a brief stopover in Canton, Ohio, and visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I am sure they will not mind if you fire up your grill in the museum parking lot to pay homage to those football greats inside those hallowed halls. Once in Cleveland, tailgate with some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the NFL. Make sure to bring the dog biscuits into the game for rabid Dawg Pound fans and leave them off the grill at your tailgate party.

Cleveland. Where even the homeless tailgate.

Monday, October 1st – Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots
Just a four-hour drive south from Cleveland you will arrive in Cincinnati and set up your tailgate party with plenty of time to spare. You may even have time to pick up some ribs from the Montgomery Inn-Boat House and share them in the parking lot.

Week 5
Sunday, October 7th – New England Patriots vs. Cleveland Browns
I know you just saw the Patriots on Monday Night last week but this is all about getting to tailgate at every stadium with all 32 teams’ fans. Enjoy the autumn colors in Foxboro with Pats fans. Don’t forget the clam chowder.

Monday, October 8th – Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
It’s an eight-hour drive from Boston to Buffalo but as a veteran tailgating crew, you are used to the miles. You understand with a new stadium comes a new tailgating experience. The drive might be long but just imagine the hot wings that you can sample in the parking lot at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Week 6
Sunday, October 14th – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Tennessee Titans
Time to head south to some warmer weather and some of the most intense tailgaters in the NFL. The Bucs may not win a lot of games on the field but the tailgaters in the parking lot make up for it with their tailgate parties. Blessed with great weather all season, Tampa Bay tailgaters have it down to a science and show up in droves.

Monday, October 15th – Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants
With just seven hours’ drive time between the two cities, the trek north lands you in Atlanta. Party outside the Georgia Dome and cook up some great soul food. Michael Vick may not be playing in the game this year but that may just mean you have a better chance of seeing the Falcons win.

Radisson Hotels & Resorts

Week 7
Sunday, October 21st – Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
With close to a week between the Atlanta game and the Miami game you have plenty of time to make your way down to South Beach. Feel free to grab a mojito and work on your tan during the week and just relax. Get to Dolphins Stadium early and fire it up. More than likely the Patriots will win this one so offer your fellow tailgating brethren lots of beverages to deaden the pain.

Monday, October 22nd – Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts
Head north and in less than six hours you will be tailgating outside Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville. This tailgating experience may seem like Deja Vu with the Colts in town so make sure to grab an extra case of beer for those Jags fans looking to take the sting out of a Peyton Manning fantasy owner’s dream afternoon.

Week 8
Monday, October 28th – Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers
What, no Sunday game? You read that right. Seeing how Denver is not in reasonable driving distance of any other NFL city hosting a game this week, we decided to give the Bronco faithful their own week. Also, with the way the Cheeseheads travel and tend to take over a visiting team’s stadium and parking lot, this is like tailgating at Invesco Field and tailgating at Lambeau Field at the same time.

Week 9
Sunday, November, 4th – Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers
The Chiefs fans take a lot of pride in not only showing up all dressed in red and supporting their team but by tailgating long and hard prior to kick-off. After tailgating with Green Bay Packer fans the week prior in Denver you may be a bit hesitant to do it again in under a week. You’re up for the challenge, right? After all, J√ɬ§germeister is a food group, right?

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After nine weeks of non-stop tailgating, you have now visited 16 NFL stadiums. You have visited Arrowhead Stadium, Invesco Field at Mile High, Alltel Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, the Georgia Dome, Raymond James Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Gillette Stadium, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Paul Brown Stadium, the Louisiana Superdome, Soldier Field, Lincoln Financial Field, Heinz Field, Monster park and it all started out at the RCA Dome. You may ask, ‘if it took us nine weeks to get in just about half of the stadiums, how are we ever going to hit the remaining 16 NFL stadiums in eight weeks?’ Behold the beauty of the Thursday NFL game that plays not only on Thanksgiving day but other Thursday nights later in the season. In part 2 you will be tailgating up to three games per week. Check back soon for part 2 and see where we go next.