Tailgating Through the NFL

From stadium to stadium and division to division, we’ve crisscrossed the country highlighting all 32 NFL teams and their top tailgating experiences.

By: Ben Breslerman

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Oakland Raiders (AFC West)

One of, if not the, most intense places to tailgate in the NFL is O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. Home of the Raiders and the infamous ‘Black Hole’, nobody shows out or gets more dressed up for a game then the fans of Raider nation.

Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West)

Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, might be the fifth largest in the NFL, but when it comes to tailgating, they make a strong claim for the No. 1 spot, based solely on the food. Known for their mind-blowing barbecue recipes, tailgaters at Arrowhead put on a show in the parking lot during pregame festivities.

Denver Broncos (AFC West)

Home of the Denver Broncos, Sports Authority Field at Mile High boasts some of the most loyal and fierce tailgating fans around. Whether it’s watching other NFL teams go to battle on your "car" TV or chowing down on some green chili and hot dogs while waiting for Broncos kick off, make sure not to miss out on the parking lot mayhem when heading to see the 2016 Super Bowl champs.

San Diego Chargers (AFC West)

If there’s a more enjoyable place to catch a game than Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, I sure as heck don’t know it. Boasting picture-perfect weather year round, fans are free to tailgate in jerseys and shorts all season long.

Dallas Cowboys (NFC East)

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the same holds true for tailgating when attending a game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Just like their rivals down the road in Houston, the barbecue at Dallas Cowboys’ tailgates is on a whole other level. And then there’s the fan base. Fans of "America’s Team" travel from far and wide to come to "Jerry World," where the most passionate of them are dressed in team garb from head to toe.

Washington Redskins (NFC East)

You can hear the famous fight song, “Hail to the Redskins, Hail victory,” being sung far and wide across the parking lot at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. But sometimes that “victory” line get blurred between winning football games and winning tailgates. Loud and gregarious, the Redskins faithful definitely know how to have a good time when cheering on their team, both inside the stadium and out.

Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East)

Eagles fans take tailgating just as serious as they do rooting for the guys in green inside Lincoln Financial Field. I mean, what party wouldn’t be complete without a punch-buggy VW shaped like a football helmet and overflowing with beer? No matter the weather — rain or shine — you can be sure that Philly fans will be out in full force, defending their team to the ends of the earth.

New York Giants (NFC East)

Everybody in the sports world knows just how passionate fans from New York truly are, and just like fans of the state’s other two professional football teams (the Jets and the Bills), Giants fans are a rowdy and emotional bunch. Make sure you have your hard hats ready when heading into Giants Country, as fans of opposing teams are sure to come under fire when protesting the Giants football prowess.

New York Jets (AFC East)

With the exception of possibly Philadelphia, there is no crowd more raucous than the New York faithful. Although they share a stadium with that other team in N.Y. — the Giants — Jets fans sure know how to make MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., feel like they're the only team in the world on game day.

Buffalo Bills (AFC East)

No trip to upstate New York is complete without a visit to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, home of the Bills. Although burgers, dogs and chicken are as prevalent as any other tailgate, the mainstay here are the buffalo wings. Just don’t forget to bring some long johns and a jacket, the weather gets a little dicey come winter time.

New England Patriots (AFC East)

These New England fans take tailgating to a whole new level, bringing their own brick pizza oven with the Patriots logo emblazoned on the side to the parking lot. Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, is known for being fun inside — mainly because they never seem to lose at home — but trust me, the tailgating scene outside is sometimes just as fun.

Miami Dolphins (AFC East)

Would you expect anything less than sunshine and palm trees when heading south to Miami? When tailgating at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, short sleeves, face paint and a delicious Cubano sandwich are a must.

Arizona Cardinals (NFC West)

Corn hole, one of the biggest tailgating games on the planet can be found in spades outside of University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Matter of fact, with warm weather all football season long, every tailgating game is on the table. Just make sure to wear some sunscreen, that sweltering Arizona sun can definitely sneak up on you, especially if you’ve had a few too many cold ones.

Los Angeles Rams (NFC West)

Fresh off their move back to the west coast from St. Louis, Los Angeles Rams fans are lucky enough to tailgate outside one of the most iconic stadiums in all of football, the LA Coliseum. Excited to have football back in Los Angeles, tailgaters from all over the country will be able to take advantage of the warm weather all season long, basking in the sweet California sun.

San Francisco 49ers (NFC West)

After finally leaving Candlestick Park behind in 2014, the 49ers faithful take tailgating to all-new heights outside Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Although San Francisco is known to be pretty liberal when it comes to lifestyle, 49ers fans are anything but when it comes to defending their home “turf” in the parking lot.

Seattle Seahawks (NFC West)

The don’t call Seahawks faithful the “12th man” for nothing. Seattle fans are some of the rowdiest bunch you’ll find and their tailgates are no different. The scene outside CenturyLink Field is pure football bliss, and they party just as hard as their team plays on the field. Take my word for it!

Baltimore Ravens (AFC North)

If there is one thing that Baltimoreans love more than their seafood, it’s their beloved Ravens. In the beginning of the season, during the week, the parking lot is flooded with Orioles fans due to M&T Bank Stadium’s proximity to one of baseball’s most famous homes, Camden Yards, but when Sundays in the fall roll around, it’s a sea of purple from sun rise to sun set.

Cincinnati Bengals (AFC North)

Nicknamed "The Jungle" for a reason, Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati plays host to some of the wildest tailgaters in the league. Rain, sleet, hail, snow or sunshine, Bengals fans are prepared for any type of weather, and anyone wearing black, white and orange will be welcomed into any tailgate with open arms.

Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC North)

If there's one thing fans from Pittsburgh know more about than steel, it’s about winning NFL championships. No team in the league has won more rings than the Steelers (six), and when traveling to Pittsburgh for a game, tailgaters are sure to let you know just that. And with a stadium named after a world-famous condiment company, you can bet there are a ton of burgers and dogs being barbecued all day long at Heinz Field.

Cleveland Browns (AFC North)

Debauchery runs rampant inside the Muni Lot outside of FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns may have been mediocre on the football field for the last two decades or so, but nobody knows how to throw a wilder tailgate than the members of the Dawg Pound.

Chicago Bears (NFC North)

If there are two things every fan should know when heading to a tailgate at Soldier Field in Chicago, it’s 1) be ready for some hard-nosed football, and 2) if you’re going to a game any time after early October, it’s bound to be mind-numbingly cold. Bring a jacket, heck, maybe even bring two, and ‘bear down’ for some extreme NFL tailgating.

Detroit Lions (NFC North)

When you think of tailgating at a football game, you undoubtedly think about a parking lot scene. However, not when it comes to the Detroit Lions faithful. Sure, there is plenty of tailgating that goes down in the Ford Field parking lots, but for the ultimate pre-game tailgating experience in the Motor City, make sure to check out Pride Plaza on Brush Street.

Green Bay Packers (NFC North)

They don’t call Lambeau Field the "Frozen Tundra" for nothing. Affectionately known as Cheeseheads, Packers fans heading out to a tailgate should be prepared for some blistering cold weather. But that won’t stop the Packers faithful, in fact, they embrace it. Whether it's extra jackets, beanies, long johns or even some blankets, fans in Green Bay are ready for just about anything.

Minnesota Vikings (NFC North)

After bouncing around for a couple of years after the doors of the Metrodome were closed, Minnesota fans finally have a new place to tailgate — and more importantly to watch Vikings football — in U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

Houston Texans (AFC South)

Tailgating at NRG Stadium in Houston, home of the Texans, is an event in itself. But if there’s one thing in the world Texans do better than most, it’s barbecue, barbecue, barbecue. While getting ready for the big game, don’t miss out on the amazing food, from brisket to pulled pork and everything in between.

Indianapolis Colts (AFC South)

They may need a little “Luck” on the field — Andrew Luck that is — but outside Lucas Oil Stadium in the parking lot, Colts fans use all skill when it comes to tailgating. Stop by "The Blue Crew Saloon" or any of the other tailgating tents for some real midwestern hospitality.

Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South)

The Jaguars faithful come out in full force for home games at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Beginning to feel a bit of a resurgence in winning on the field, Jaguars fans have never needed a boost of confidence when it comes to a winning tailgate. Great weather, good food and rowdy fans make up a typical tailgate in the River City.

Tennessee Titans (AFC South)

As legendary guitarist Jerry Garcia once sang, “Tennessee, Tennessee, there ain’t no place I’d rather be …”, the same can be said for game days at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Full of passion and ready for fun, Titans fans pull out all the stops when it comes to tailgating.

Atlanta Falcons (NFC South)

You know the old saying “early bird gets the worm?” Well, in Atlanta, it’s the “Dirty Bird.” That’s right, fans of the Falcons — also known as the Dirty Birds — know how to throw a proper southern-style tailgate better than anyone. Currently, the party takes place right outside the famed Georgia Dome, but starting in 2017, the tailgate moves to the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Carolina Panthers (NFC South)

Just like the ferocious feline that sits on the sleeves of the Carolina team jerseys, Panthers fans tailgating at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., are as protective as they are passionate. And their tailgating specialty? Mouth-watering barbecue you’d be fool not to try.

New Orleans Saints (NFC South)

Just like the city the Saints call home, tailgating in New Orleans heavily involves good food, good tunes and fantastically funky wardrobes. The atmosphere inside the Superdome for a Saints game is always epic, but don’t miss out on the local culture tailgating outside the stadium just before kick off.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South)

No matter what time of year it is, you can be sure that the fans outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida, will be dressed to impress, even if they are just wearing shorts and a t-shirt. One of three different teams located in Florida, Bucs fans are privy to the good life, with warm weather circulating all season long.

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