Not only did the New York Jets pull out a win in the final seconds of the game, but there was another winner at the New Meadoalwands Stadium. A winner in Bing’s National Tailgate Competition. This morning at 10:30 was the national competition being held in seven locations across the country sponsored by Bing. Today’s stop in New Jersey was the third stop on the circuit. It will end on Thursday February 3rd in Dallas during Super Bowl week. All the winners will go head to head to see who is the best tailgater in the country.
Sixto, Anthony Quintano, and myself got there early enough to stop by the L7 Tailgate who got together via Twitter. They had about 40 or so Tweeters there and I missed out on the Rex Ryan for another week. DAMN! By the time we got to the Bing.com set up we were presented with free scarves and wool hats bearing the Bing.com logo. There were four groups vying for best tailgater. You had Franks Lot 11 Flagmen, Lenny’s Lot K Tailgaters, Gang Green Grillers, and the Winters Brothers. Each group had not just their own set up, but they had to stand out from everyone else. The Winters Brothers had their Jets bus behind them. Frank Conway had 28 flags flying on 14 poles. The Grillers had a tiki bar, Revis Island, and ice sculptures. Lenny’s had a kosher grill and his famed Lenny’s burgers.
There were also social media photo booths with wall mounted touch screens provided by SMART that allowed guests to immediately Tweet, Facebook or email photos right from the event. Or just play the bean bag toss or football throw on your own/ Even a couple of stations where you could try out Bing if you were unfamiliar with the website search engine. DJ’s not just from Bing were playing music, but from every tailgate. You could not walk anywhere without being blasted by some kind of music.
Before the event started, we were introduced to the judges. First up as “Crazy Legs” Conti. The green bean eating champion and a regular on the competitive eating circuit. You can see him in his dreadlocks every year on the Natahan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Next up was SNL Alum, comedian, actor, and fitness magnate Joe Piscopo. Even though he is a Giants fan, he had a blast being amongst the Jet faithful. The third judge is no stranger to Jets fans. Two time Pro Bowl player, inducted in the Football Hall of Fame, and Wide Receiver for the Jets from 1977-1989 was none other than Wesley Walker. The final judge is the Commissioner of Tailgating and head of the Tailgating Institute of America, Joe Cahn. Four men brought together for their love of food and football.
The teams were judged on their tailgating game skills first. A bean bag toss and football throw was up first that was not easy for all those who competed. I can not post all the pictures here so check out the slide show at the bottom of the page or on my Flickr page. Next the judges went around and had to taste all the food. What would a tailgating competition be without eating? Lenny had his special Lenny Burgers with the cheese inside. Wesley Walker could not put his down. The Winters Brothers had a menu all prepared with Jets players names accompanying the dishes. The Flagman Frank had some nice steaks prepared that tasted great. The Gang Green Grillers had, well, about everything as their special! Was hard to keep track of all the food. Some had great shrimp, turkey legs, fillet mignon, and anything else that would make the Homer Simpson in us drool.
We wanted to eat more than we did. Which was not enough. We had to do a lot of interviews and film the event so there was not enough time to eat. I will say the coffee flavored Patron is very good though. Beers to the left of me. Beers to the right of me. Would have been nice to have had one but we had to stay focused. By this time I was able to talk with Wesley Walker. Wesley loved being amongst the Jets fans who had not only watched him when he played, but even the younger fans who were introduced to his greatness. He did say he was such a great receiver that he would be able to escape Revis Island every time jokingly. Wesley does enjoy watching today’s players as he sees an intensity now that was still around when he played.
There was one aspect of Wesley Walkers career I had to find out about in depth. Wesley is legally blind in one eye. He was able to make it past the physical back then as there was no vision test. He knew what he needed t do to compensate for that vision loss. It made him step up his game and be that much of a better player. It was after a while that the team had found out about his vision. Wesley says it was because of that they started doing the combines, to make sure players were 100% in all areas on the field so they would not play with any limitations. I myself have a loss of central vision in both my eyes that forced me out of wrestling in high school. So it was a unique experience to be able to find out from an NFL Hall of Famer what he did to make sure his “handicap” did not stop him from what he loved to do.
As the competitors were trying to grease the palms of the judges with their burgers, chicken, and ribs, I managed to get some words with Bing.com representative Kari Dilloo. Kari talked about Bing’s abilities to search anything football like Bing’s Sports Compare & Bing Instant Answers. Bing is doing what they can do make their search engine so football user friendly that you can find anything on football.
Multiple stations set up throughout the event to allow guests to try their new software. “Bing Sports Compare” which creates a direct side by side visual comparison of NFL players and “Bing Instant Answers” which provides instant and accurate information at your fingertips – both perfect for brushing up on football stats prior to tailgate and game time. Also on display was “Bing Travel” which is perfect for the next time you are looking to follow your favorite team to an away game as Bing not only allows you to see hotel and flight price comparisons but also lets you know when would be the best time to book your trip.
The final contest of the day was the trivia contest. Each team sent their best man to the stage to answer questions on everything Jets. From questions ranging from where was Super Bowl III played to where did Nick Mangold go to college. Every team had their strengths and weaknesses. But only one team could walk away the best Tailgater in NJ and move on to Dallas. Joe Piscopo said he has never really tailgated before and wished he could send them all. He enjoyed his time there even though he looked like a fish out of water. He provided the comedy element for the day. Joe said he would rather be escorted into the stadium via a side door than go in through the fans in the parking lot.
But in the end just like in the Highlander, there can be only one. Everyone did what they could to come out on top. As the judges tallied their votes they all settled on one winner. The Winters Brothers took the trophy and title of Best Tailgater in NY. They will head to Dallas during Super Bowl week to compete for best tailgater in the country. All in all it was a success and everyone that participated enjoyed themselves, especially the Winters Brothers. I will have more details up soon along with videos of the event and interviews with the judges. Next year will bring about more competitors and Jets fans. No one left unsatisfied, or with an empty stomach.
[flickrslideshow acct_name=”LBProd” id=”72157625440065424″]