To the most enthusiastic sports fanatics, few things are more important than football tailgating. When perfected, the art of tailgating will provide energy and entertainment for a full day of friends and football.
Here are four tips to make sure your upcoming tailgates are more like Lions QB Matt Stafford and less like Broncos QB Brock Osweiler.
Diversify Your Junk Food Offerings
Encased meats are a tailgating trope and by week nine, season ticket holders can’t even look at another cheddar brat. But did you know propane grills can perfectly cook frozen pizza and other treats? Years of tailgating experience have found that everything from Bagel Bites to Totino’s Pizza Rolls and even generic mini-pizzas from a convenience store can be cooked and crisped in short order. Be creative. With a heat source and the right cookware, you can make breakfast omelets, pancakes, paninis and more. Career tailgaters have even been known to create weekly themes to provide a unique experience and diverse menus. Suggested tailgate themes include: south of the border, Halloween, Texas Barbeque, and Champagne & Bacon – which is ideal for morning affairs.
Regardless of your grilling plans, identify a grill master who is tasked with eyeing the foods, and more importantly, bringing the fuel. Portable grills are sometimes only compatible with smaller propane tanks, or need specialized hoses to connect to conventional tanks. Charcoal is easily available but have matches and a flute to properly start your fire. Lighter fluid can ruin the taste and smell of your food.
Lastly, warm up the grill early enough so food is done well before your march to the stadium. You also want your grill cooled down before packing up.
Don’t rely on the jumbotron operator to relay how other games or certain players are doing. Check scores and follow your fantasy team by utilizing XFINITY WiFi Hotspots, which customers can access for free throughout Metro Detroit. You can also use these free WiFi Hotspots to communicate with friends in the vicinity and guide them to your tailgate via voice or text. Be sure your mobile devices are fully charged – and consider bringing a power cord, and/or additional power pack. With football on your phone via the WatchESPN app and NBC Sports Mobile, Big Ten games, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football can be watched from any mobile device, anywhere you are.
Also, the X1 Cloud DVR can always be used to record other games while you are out, or watch the game again to try and catch yourself in the crowd. If you’re partying with a friend who is not so into the football festivities, he or she can remotely catch up on his or her own recorded shows to pass the time via the XFINITY Stream app.
Have a Plan
Even the most professional tailgaters don’t always have game tickets. Meanwhile, rookies may not know what to expect in an overcrowded city during a rivalry weekend. Have definitive plans to watch the game. This may require leaving the tailgate to get a good seat at a nearby restaurant or bar. (Anyone who has tried to watch from a public place in Ann Arbor or East Lansing knows the pain of standing for an entire game). Technology has afforded tailgaters the ability to stream content to big screens and watch big games from nearby the stadium. If you’re lucky enough to know someone cool enough to provide this setup, make sure to bring your own chair, drinks and food. Hosting a tailgate for scores of people can get expensive – so don’t be that guy or gal who shows up empty-handed.
Strategize Around the Right Spot
Most people flock to spots near grass so they can eat, drink and play Kan Jam in the shade. But the real ticket is parking at or near a parking garage. The structure provides shade from the sun and protection from the wind, and many garages have external outlets that are just an extension cord away from connecting your Crock Pot or electric space heater. If money and space aren’t a barrier, a generator is a great way to power your entire tailgate from cooking devices to TVs and radios.
If you do park in a garage, be sure to park on a lower level and back in. This will save you untold amounts of time when fighting post-game traffic. Of course, you could always break out the coolers and grill and have one more snack before calling it a day.
With these four tips in mind and the right group of friends, your gameday experience is sure to be a touchdown (or at least a field goal).
We want to hear how you plan to tailgate this season. Share your go-to tailgating tips with us on Twitter @ComcastMI.