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Tailgating – A Classic
American Tradition

A Field Guide to Superfans

 

They dress in costumes, paint their faces and bodies, and rev up the party spirit at tailgates wherever they’re seen. But some superfans are more super-dressed than others. If you plan to be in a place where any of the following are frequently sighted, make sure you’ve got your camera.

  • The most passionate and theatrical fans of all, Cheeseheads represent in team colors and crazy cheddar-inspired costumes for Green Bay come rain, snow, or full-on blizzard.
  • Oakland Raiders superfans earned the “Football’s Most Notorious” title in the ’90s, and they still absolutely glory in it. Their self-appointed name, The Black Hole, references their desire to drown an entire stadium in Raiders black and silver during games.
  • University of Louisville Cardinals superfans rep their mascot in red onesies, often with beaky masks or bird-claw appendages on their hands.
  • The New Orleans Saints have some awesomely supernatural superfans, though the best opt for individuality in their costumes. Endless press attention has been devoted to fans like Voodoo Man, Who ‘Dat Elvis, Fleur d’Licious, and the Holy Trinity of Saints.
  • San Diego Chargers superfans belie the notion that everyone in this southernmost California county is uber-mellow. They dress up in wigs, masks, face paint, medieval weapons, and all sorts of bling to support the team … and in fan families, it starts with the infants.
  • BYU Cougar superfans love to dress up and parade in support of their team – in fact, one regular participant compares it to being homecoming king, every year.
  • Not only is it easy being green on game day at Notre Dame, it’s practically expected. Superfans go big with face paint, wigs, beads, and the occasional full-on leprechaun costume.
  • It’s not just that Florida State Seminoles superfans paint their bodies all over in red and gold – with sequins and big wigs and tummy-baring crop tops on the ladies and headdresses for the bold – it’s that there are tens of thousands of them – fandom on an epic scale.
  • Steelers fans are known for their Terrible Towels in team colors, yellow and black. Who could ever guess that such an innocuous little towel could take over an entire legion of sports fans? But it did – and spawned a line of Terrible merch.

 

 

BEST COLLEGE TAILGATE SCENES
SCHOOL TEAM NAME  
University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Fight song: “Victory March”
University of Alabama Alabama Crimson Tide Rally cry: “Roll Tide”
Texas A&M Aggies Rally cry: “Gig ’em, Aggies!”
University of Louisville Louisville Cardinals Fight song: “All Hail, U of L”
University of Kentucky Kentucky Wildcats Fight song: “On! On! U of K.”
Auburn University Auburn Tigers Rally cry: “War Eagle!”
Florida State University Florida State Seminoles Fight song: The “War Chant,” combined with The Chop arm motion
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Ole Miss Rebels Fight song: “Forward Rebels”
Louisiana State University (LSU) Baton Rouge LSU Tigers Mascot: Mike the Tiger, a live Bengal tiger with a $3 million habitat near Tiger Stadium
University of Tennessee Tennessee Volunteers Tailgate tradition: The Sailgating AKA Boatgating “Vol Navy”

 

 

Best Major League Tailgate Action

 

Football

  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Green Bay Packers

 

Baseball

  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Philadelphia Phillies – where tailgaters get the nickname “Phanatics” because of their serious tailgating tradition
  • Kansas City Royals

 

And Don’t Forget Spring Training!

 

According to Southern lifestyle writer Doc Lawrence, one of the main reasons so many people travel for the “Spring Fling” baseball warm-up season is for the laid-back yet high-life tailgate parties surrounding baseball’s so-called “grapefruit league” and “cactus league” six-week training season. Since many spring training venues are in small cities and handle only a fraction of the capacity of a normal stadium, Spring Fling tailgate parties usually spill out onto parklands or other green spaces in the center of town. Recommended grapefruit/cactus league tailgates:

  • Lakeland, Florida – training home of the Detroit Tigers
  • Maryvale Baseball Park, Phoenix, Arizona – training home of the Milwaukee Brewers
  • Surprise Recreation Campus, Surprise, Arizona – training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers
  • Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, Florida – training home of the Houston Astros

 

 

 

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