Everyone knows that Bears fans take their tailgating very seriously. A visit to Lot B at 31st Street a few hours before kickoff and one quickly realizes the traditions and skill sets embedded in grilling brats, seek decorating vans, cialis sale chugging beers and battling the elements with style.
But what about other NFL stadiums? We’ve all heard stories about the ridiculous food at Saints tailgates, advice the crazy costumes worn by the Oakland faithful and the viciousness of Eagles fans, but is it all true?
We’re about to find out. ESPN’s Sarah Spain is embarking on a tour that makes us insanely jealous. The espnW columnist, SportsCenter Anchor for ESPN 1000 and reporter for ESPNChicago.com is hitting the road for a nine-game tour of some of the NFL’s most interesting stadiums and tailgating cultures in her “No Spain, No Game” Tour.
I had the chance to speak to Sarah about her latest adventure in what she is calling a “glorious, gluttonous, tailgating tour.”
MMV: Nice gig! Did you have to convince someone at ESPN to send you out on the road to some of the best NFL stadiums in the country?
SS: Actually, we’ve been wanting to do more video for espnW and ESPN and this tour will generally be a video series on the espnW and ESPN platforms – but, I came up with the concept after the Bears/Titans game last year in Nashville where I noticed just how different the scene was than Chicago. I wanted to come up with a concept that shows people that may not have the opportunity to visit other NFL cities on game day, just how different and cool the tailgating experience is in other markets. The series will be more than just tailgating in the parking lot though, we’re going to be looking at the stadium within the city, game day traditions, and more.
Check out Sarah’s very cool recent one-on-one interview below with the Chicago Sky’s Elena Delle Donne about life on and off the court.
MMV: Women usually have a big role in the whole tailgating ritual, a lot of times from a planning standpoint from the food to the booze, even the decorating. Who do you think does tailgating better, men or women?
SS: I think it’s pretty evenly matched. There are the stereotypical discrepancies that people assume, for example, that men won’t remember to bring silverware or trash bags or napkins, but will remember to bring that extra can of lighter fluid. In my household, when it comes to who is more domestically capable and will remember stuff, my boyfriend, who is a die-hard sports fan and also works in sports, blows me away. I can be counted on to cook better food, but no one would be able to eat it because I would forget the necessary items needed. He would be much more organized and responsible, but with a lot simpler food. So I think it is a good combination of both – and a lot of it just comes from practice.
MMV: Your schedule starts you off in some northern regions known for harsh tailgating conditions and finishes the tour in balmy San Diego in December. How was the schedule and the locations determined?
SS: The schedule was determined from a combination of factors. Most importantly, I wanted to head to stadiums that offered something different and a unique tailgating experience. I talked to a lot of people about specific locations and did a lot of research before deciding on where to head. For example, people told me that Patriots tailgates aren’t that great and that the Bills tailgates are good in the beginning, but once they start losing, the tailgates start to suck. I heard that the tailgates in Philly, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Green Bay are honestly pretty similar and that of all places, Oakland’s tailgates are awesome. Sure, the stadium may suck, but the tailgates are something worth checking out. So, once I picked the teams, I then had to personally fit them into my schedule that is already packed with baby showers, weddings, and Blackhawks games.
MMV: Looks like you will avoid dragging the parka out on the road with you thanks to your schedule that wraps up in the West. What’s your traditional go-to game day look in the colder months of the NFL season? We all know it’s tough to look hot in a parka and layers upon layers. What’s your strategy?
SS: I usually wear something similar to my normal game day look but with tons of layers. Jeans, an undershirt, my #34 “Sweetness” jersey, pigtails, a Bears hat and sneakers. Once it gets really cold I add leggings under my jeans, a couple of pairs of socks, and up to three to four layers on top, and my Bears 2006 Super Bowl scarf.
MMV: What stop are you most excited to hit?
SS: New Orleans, because I’ve never been there before. I’ve been to about six Super Bowls, but last year when it was in New Orleans, it was the first time I didn’t get to go for logistical reasons. The Saints have such cool traditions and crazy support for their team that I just know it is going to be an amazing experience. I’m also looking forward to Seattle because I know it will be so different from Chicago as well.
MMV: Where can readers find coverage of the tour?
SS: espnW.com but a lot of those details are still being hammered out. We’re hoping to get the video out a week to a week and a half after the date. The editing and production additions will take some time. The tour isn’t about the matchup but more about the tailgating and stadium experience.
- 9/8 — Soldier Field, Chicago
- 9/22 — Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
- 9/29 — Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
- 10/20 — Lambeau Field, Green Bay
- 10/27 — Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
- 11/10 — Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
- 12/2 — CenturyLink Field, Seattle
- 12/15 — O.co Coliseum, Oakland
- 12/29 — Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Got any tailgating tips for Sarah as she heads out on the road? Email them to her at NSNGtips@gmail.com. You can follow Sarah Spain and espnW on Twitter for the latest details and news on the No Spain, No Game NFL Tailgate Tour.