Football has long since eclipsed baseball as our national pastime. And not so much because we all obsess over how many points the backup running back on a team we don’t even care about can get us for fantasy, but because football — both college and pro — has become more than just a game.

It’s an event. And the first four to 12 hours of that event make up a great American tradition known as the tailgate. It’s the best way to day-drink period, and quite often much more entertaining than the game itself. And what makes it so entertaining? Well, it’s usually the people who are partying with you. Here are 21 you might recognize.

The Grill Master

Easily the most important person at the tailgate. He (or she) determines what you eat, when you eat it, and how much food to give the cops so they don’t bother you for that “smell.”

The First-Time Drinker

More often found at college tailgates, you can typically locate this person urinating between cars, vomiting in a Porta-Potty line, and occasionally crying during the third quarter after an unsuccessful fourth-down conversion. Also, desperately looking for a ride home after the game.

The Roamer

Paid $10 to park on some guy’s lawn two miles away and will now spend four hours roaming the parking lot to see who will offer him free beer.

The Second-Guesser

So desperately wants to be the Grill Master that he spends his entire tailgate standing next to the barbecue saying, “You suuuure you wanna take those off now?”

Empty-Handed Eddie

His idea of contributing to the tailgate is bringing a bag of off-brand potato chips, then eating his body weight in steak kabobs.

The Surly Girlfriend

The absolute BEST way to ingratiate yourself to your new boyfriend’s buddies is to show up at a tailgate, complain that you’re bored, sulk in a chair, and then start fights because you’re not getting enough attention. But, hey, cool pink jersey!

Full-Pads Guy

For the rest of your life you can tell people you suited up in full pads for a game. Because, hey, semantics.

Non-Participating Superfan

Because it wasn’t quite clear from your giant “12” tattoo, thank you for letting everyone in the parking lot of this Titans-Jags game know that your REAL loyalty lies with Russell Wilson. Wait, are the Seahawks even playing this week?

The Over-Accessorizer

Did you really need that officially licensed area rug?

DJ Tailgate

Couldn’t quite cut it at the local drink-and-grind club, but that’s not stopping him from deafening the entire parking lot with his “special” mix of “Trap Queen.”

Needless Instigator

In Europe they’d call the guy who spends all of pre-game trying to start fights with opposing fans a “hooligan.” Here, we just call him a Raider fan.

The Food Mooch

Somehow thinks the phrase, “Oooohh… whatcha cookin’ there” entitles him to a free hamburger. He’s different from Empty-Handed Eddie in that he didn’t bring annnnnypotato chips, off-brand or not.

The Village Nuker

Kudos for your efforts to “go hard” by ripping six shots within a half-hour of setting up the tent. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon in your car.

Sticker Guy

If you try to fine me one more time for not partying hard enough…

Pee-Wee Football Fundraising Scam Artists

If by “national tournament” you mean “your drug habit,” then yes, $4 is perfectly reasonable for a pack of Skittles.

Old Man Going Hard

He doesn’t let any of those sissies like “his cardiologist” spoil game day! If he wanted to stop doing kegstands and pulls of Jager, he’d have died 15 years ago.

Custom-Car Guy

Nothing screams “superfan with more money than he should probably have” like someone who takes a perfectly good Econoline, clears out the seats for more tailgating gear, and paints the team logo on the outside. Other than being named “Spike Lee,” of course.

Tent-City Navigators

You’ve either made a career of leading broadcast news crews through Middle Eastern bazaars, or you’re the asshole who expects everyone to pick up their tailgate so you can make it to the “preferred” lot an hour before kickoff. Doesn’t matter — expect a football to be hurled at the windshield of your Cayenne.

The Parking-Lot Quarterback

While trying to show off the arm that got you to the 1996 district semifinals, you forgot to take into consideration things like barbecues, parked cars, and turkey fryers.

The Child Prodigy

He just out-threw that last guy by a solid 25 yards. And he’s 12.

The Guy With the Tip Jar

You charged a cover at your wedding too, didn’t you?



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