Football is not golf. Football is a contact sport (save from the experience of the golf ball!). Thirty-seven percent of American adults say that football is their favorite sport. In contrast, only 9% say baseball is their favorite sport to watch. NFL fans love going to the games, but they also love going to the stadium. The live game is more than the sum of its part and therefore exponentially more exciting than watching on television. Game-day traditions are what set the live game experience apart from any other watching experience with its rituals and fanaticism. As for the NFL gameday experience, there are a few traditions worth mentioning.
Sports fans may be aware that college and high school football games take on a life of their own; however, the NFL, as the premier professional football league, is unrivaled in its number of fans and it is well on its way to rivaling the traditions of the most fanatic college football fan.
Whether fans play fantasy football, carry the “Terrible Towel,” wear their favorite team’s jersey, or tailgate--or fire up one’s vocal cords, such as the New Orleans Saints’ “Who dat” chants--NFL fans have as unique as they do well known gameday traditions.
NFL Fans Celebrate With Food And Drink
What Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving are to patriotic Americans, gamedays are celebratory days for football fans. Football fans love to cheer but they also love to eat and drink. Tailgating is the ultimate pregame experience and one a true fan will always strive to be a part of. Tailgating is, for those who do not know, a pregame football social event that is held on the tailgate of a truck or, more often due to space considerations, held in the stadium parking lot complete with barbequed and grilled food, alcoholic beverages which are shared with fellow fans and travelers. Tailgating has become so common and so much a part of the gameday experience that the National Football League commissioned its own cookbook in 2008.
Wearing the replica jersey of a fan’s favorite player has become, since the 1980s, an important part of the gameday experience. It may be compared with lady fans of the Kentucky Derby wearing their large and conspicuous hats, or it may be compared to a fan wearing their band’s t-shirt during the concert. Some NFL teams, such as the Oakland Raiders, have their game day memorabilia available at chapters nationwide. Oakland Raiders fans, Seattle Seahawks fans, Dallas Cowboys (commonly referred to as “America’s team”), and Minnesota Vikings fans are known for the dedication of wearing their team’s colors. However, do not say that to a dedicated Washington Redskins fan, Carolina Panthers fan, or San Francisco 49ers fan!
An NFL football game is more than a game to watch but an experience to live. There are 32 NFL teams, and there are 32 sets of football fans who have traditions that match the intensity of the desire to see their team win. So, whether you are planning to attend the 2019 rugby world cup, the Preakness Stakes, or the British Open for your next bucket list sporting event, do not forget to include football’s biggest game in that list.