Tailgating Tips: Cheer on Your Team While Avoiding Penalties

Football season is in full swing, which means you’ve probably already worked out the kinks in your game time snack strategy. Remember, the Buffalo wings come after the nachos but before the BBQ ribs. Now it’s time to perfect football’s best tradition. No, we’re not talking about lofty ideas like athleticism, sportsmanship or championships – we’re talking about tailgating.

While tailgating provides all kinds of fun, you have to return to work Monday morning and you don’t want your boss to know that “gameday you” spends his weekends draped in your favorite team’s jersey, screaming at the top of your lungs and acting like a fanatical maniac. You’ve spent years fooling your boss into believing that “workday you” is an even-keeled professional, and those types of shenanigans just aren’t you.

On that note, here’s a Monday-morning checklist that will both maintain your professional appearance and limit gameday mishaps to those not requiring an insurance agent…or a doctor.

Grill safely. Keep the grill well away from your car, as the taste of burning upholstery imparts a funny flavor to hot dogs, and don’t use anything but charcoal starter (or propane if it’s a gas grill) to light it. Singed eyebrows take a while to grow back.

No Facebook photos! This requires a pact with your friends, almost certainly a signed contract and perhaps even a blood oath. Painting your body in team colors and waving the foam finger is fun when you’re tailgating, but photographic evidence probably won’t do much for your career advancement.

Be careful with color. Speaking of body paint, make sure any colors you apply to your body are completely washed off before you pull into the parking lot Monday morning. You might not land that new contract when the client reminds you to wipe the blue from the corner of your eyes and behind your ears.

Pass on the “Hail Mary” pass. Tossing a football in the parking lot is one thing; trying to thread the needle on a 60-yard bomb is another. You’re not Tom Brady. You’re not even Tom Brady’s towel boy. So if you tear your rotator cuff during the final scoring drive of a parking lot football game, think of excuses before you see your coworkers.

When asked, come up with something like, “I hurt my shoulder helping to build an addition onto the community center.” It sounds much better than the fact that your would-be touchdown pass fell 10 yards short and the receiver ran headfirst into someone’s car door (and didn’t even make the catch!).

Save your voice. Screeching like a wild banshee for hours in an effort to will your team to victory will have you sounding like Joan Rivers gargling thumbtacks on Monday morning. With flu season approaching, it would be easy to blame it on laryngitis, but avoid saying it’s strep throat…because you may be quarantined in a plastic bubble by guys in haz-mat suits.

Keeping this checklist handy can help you show up to work as your usual, dignified self, without injuries and repairs to your car (or image). Then again, if your co-workers are discussing ESPN’s coverage of your debut on the stadium jumbotron, you might have some explaining to do.

This weekend, the Allstate® Tailgate Tour visits Iowa City, Iowa, as the Michigan State Spartans take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 11am CST. Don’t forget to visit to see if the tour that visits 22 games throughout the regular season is coming to your town.
For a chance to attend the Allstate BCS National Championship, enter the “60 Seconds of Mayhem” sweepstakes from September 1st – November 30th. In addition to a grand prize of a new car, the winner will have 60 seconds at halftime of the Allstate BCS National ChampionshipTM to kick field goals into the Good Hands® Nets for the chance to also win a boat, a motorcycle, an RV, and a home makeover. Fans can enter online at, via mobile phone, in-stadium at select games via text messaging, and at the Allstate® Tailgate Tour .