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Tailgating As Important As Game Day Event?

Last time I talked about how bad tailgating had gotten at MetLife Stadium .  Someone from Twitter had read my article and said there are more important things to talk about with the Jets.

I agree, there is.  I do that on Football Reporters Online Presents The Jets Zone on Tuesday nights at 8 PM on BlogTalkRadio.  I know cheap plug.  But when it comes to on the field talk that is where we get it done.

I prefer to come on here and use this medium for off the field talk.  The time when many fans enjoy themselves even before any kick off has been taken.  The pregame festivities are planned by some well in advance.  Even more so that what they plan on getting inside the stadium.

Tailgating has become a ritual for some.  Making preparation a week in advance and doing prep work well into the night before a game.

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006...

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006…

Leaving early to make sure one has a prime piece of tailgating property.  Marking their territory, ready to kick the tires and light the fires.

There are quite a few who decide to watch the game from their HDTV at their tailgate rather than buying a ticket.  Truly making a full day of their blacktop BBQ.

So much attention has been centered on tailgating in recent years.  This is one volcano that is about to erupt and develop faster than Mt. Vesuvius. Leaving behind nothing but refuse, tired masses, and plenty of merchandise.

These days for Jets fans tailgating has been creating more positives memories and gatherings than the Jets games.  Certain games fans wish would be enveloped by amnesia.

Tailgating is as important as the game to so many fans.  I know a couple tailgating groups scattered around every parking section that prepare for tailgating a little more than your average joe.

Creating the bigger and badder tailgate has become a competition for those who decide to bring in their grills on a flatbed trailer.  It is amazing how some not just build a better mousetrap, but a way to filet and prepare it as well.

English: Tailgating

English Tailgating

This past Sunday, many from across the concrete jungle watched the New England game while attending a huge tailgating party as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Thrillist and Bleacher Report threw their latest Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Tailgate Throwdown at Beekman’s Beer Garden right on the pier.

Tons of events like these have been run that gather Jets fans to revel with their fellow Gang Green brethren.  It allows fans to enjoy a tailgate they may not have considered before.  Getting a new experience on what it means to watch a game.

I am sure today many are out making the necessary preparation for tomorrows game regardless of who they follow.  Menus being reviewed, meat being prepped, and beer being stored by the case so no one goes thirsty before kick off.

When it comes to college football, tailgating is a whole entity unto itself.  Many even tailgate and camp out the night before and turn it into a weekend festivity.  College football has had true tailgating going back to the late 1800’s when people had picnics behind their horse drawn carriages hence the name tailgating.

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

Now NASCAR knows the true passion of tailgating.  Thousands line up their trailers, campers,  and trucks on a Friday and party the weekend away just until the race on Sunday.  Now that’s tailgating.  NASCAR tailgating transcends what tailgating means.

So the next time someone tries to say tailgating is not worth discussing or not as important as the on field product, then that individual truly does not know the job tailgating does for their faithful blacktop chefs of BBQ.

Even the teams and companies who put out merchandise know the volumes of business it helps drive their way.  One can pass by a sponsored tailgate and see beer advertising, loaned grills, and free merchandise to help advertise their tailgating wares.

New York Jets fans know how important tailgating is.  The Jets do as well.  That is why they send Woody Johnson out there when they can to do PR to boost his positive image.  Certain Jets fans believe he visits tailgaters in order to keep a positive image and make fans believe he is just a regular guy.

But he isn’t.

Tailgating represents a way for fans to be individuals.  We may all arrive wearing the same colors and cheering on the same players, but we all tailgate differently.  That is why it is so much fun.  Everyone stands out in their own way and their tailgate becomes their own personal man cave.

No better place to throw some meat over an open fire.

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Lockouts Showing Who is Always On The Losing End

Allow me to speak for every NFL and NBA fan (which I am not really one of) when I say, end the lockouts.  I know there is a supposed end to the NFL lockout coming next week, but are we sure that date is set in stone?

Get it figured out, do not miss any of the season and just play ball.

While I understand the reasons for the work stoppages & lockouts, as a fan of football I want this to get settled and figured out as quickly as possible.  For basketball fans, you have a little time but not too much time.  That one should be over soon as well.  But all fingers point to non-favorable odds.

In the same breath, I am not going to stay glued to the television, internet and newspaper like this is some breaking news story.  Just get these issues solved and let all of us fans know when you are done so we can watch our teams again.  Let us know so we can prepare for fantasy leagues and get our gear together for tailgating.

When the battle is millionaires (players) versus billionaires (owners), it is difficult to pick a side. Most of America and myself are on the side that ends these lockouts and gets them back on the field and court ASAP.  More importantly, I am on the side of the fans who are always the silent majority in these cases.

Maybe if our side had seat at the negotiating table then these issues would get solved a little quicker.

While these lockouts are more complicated than strictly millionaires versus billionaires, money is basically what is keeping the leagues from operating as normal. But it is hard for fans to care about millions of dollars being exchanged when some struggle to make ends meet on a weekly basis.

Reaction to the lockouts have been mostly passive so far but if regular season games are missed due to the work stoppage then expect the fans to ignite with anger. Fantasy football owners are already starting to undergo anxiety and withdrawal symptoms because their annual shot to look like a football genius with a witty team name is in jeopardy.  But in one week, that could all change, supposedly.

With the NBA only entering a lockout a few weeks ago, the NFL has seen the effect that the work stoppage has had so far. One year after setting an NFL Draft record of 8.3 million viewers, viewership fell to 7 million for the first round this year. Ticket sales are down and NFL.com’s traffic has decreased also.

Luckily for football fans, the NFL has too much to lose for them to miss some, if any, of the regular season. As America’s new favorite pastime, NFL reigns king over all other American sports in terms of viewership, revenue and popularity. Missing regular season games would kill part of the momentum that the NFL currently has.

With most training camps supposed to start soon, these next few weeks will be essential in ending the NFL lockout so that the season can semi-start on time. There has yet to be a free agent period and once that happens mayhem will occur with teams scrambling to sign players. If you are upset about preseason games possibly being missed, well you are on your own there.

For the NBA, things look even bleaker. Former NBA legend and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley recently stated that, “It’s going to get ugly. I’ve already been on the record saying I don’t think they’re going to play at all next season.” Those cannot be good words to hear for NBA fans.  The last time a league halted play was the NHL in 2004-2005.

But with the NFL and NBA lockouts in full swing it gives other sports attention they might not have gotten before. The MLB slides into the top sport and should be able to continue to build off of its strike in 1994-1995. Other sports organizations such as the NHL, MLS, WNBA, NASCAR and PGA all stand to benefit from the NFL and NBA work stoppages.

Entering this fall, the NCAA counterparts of the NFL and NBA will garner most of the attention and might be the only national exposure of both basketball and football if the lockout continues.  NCAA Football 12 was just released for all game systems.  Madden 12 comes out in a few weeks.  Some might look forward to that more than the regular NFL season.

But hopefully for the sake of both sports’ fanbases the players and owners work out their issues and not only do what is best for the sport, but for the people who help support and fund them, the fans.