The 21 crucial rules of tailgating etiquette

Freeloaders and timid eaters beware: your presence at a tailgate party is about as welcome as the winner of American Ninja Warrior would be on the set of a real ninja competition, assuming real ninjas have competitions, and there are real ninjas. These 21 rules are designed to stop profaners of the parking lot in their tracks, so that the business of tailgating can be gotten down to. Don't violate them, or you'll be forced to pregame at the nearest Houlihan's.

Cooler Chillin'
Kyle James

1. If you're going to sit on the cooler, don't complain when someone wants to open the cooler every 15 seconds.

2. If you're visiting another tailgate, never leave with a road soda unless it's offered to you.

3. Don’t bring a six-pack of crappy beer and assume that entitles you to somebody else’s whiskey.

4. Don’t wander off with the bottle of whiskey, or offer generous pours of the whiskey to your lame tailgate-hopping friends who showed up empty handed and who nobody else in your group likes very much anyway.

5. Never get yourself another beverage without offering to get someone else another beverage.

Fat Sandwich
Jeff Miller

6. Bring prepared food only if it’s awesome, like cheese steaks from that bad ass cheesesteak shop, or 50+ White Castle burgers, or any hoagie that’s longer than you are tall. Otherwise, you should be grilling something.


7. Don’t brag about how awesome your ribs are if you’re not making your ribs.

Deviled Eggs
Keith Kendall

8. Do not bring deviled eggs. Not to a tailgate. Not to a potluck. Not to a funeral. Don't do it. No.

9. Don’t expect anyone to accommodate your food allergies. The parking lot is a gluten-free-free zone.

Tailgating Fans
America's Power

10. If you’re a visiting fan who got invited to a home-team tailgate, don’t overdo it on the team gear/enthusiasm -- you’re just going to embarrass whoever invited you. But if you're at home, definitely wear your team's version of whatever this guy's wearing.

11. Don’t aggressively haze visiting fans unless you’re in a city where it’s against the law not too, like Philadelphia, or Philadelphia.

Throwing that ball
Neon Tommy

12. Don’t show off your arm. Nobody wants to sprint after your JaMarcus Russell-like heaves and then get glared at when they narrowly miss landing in some random dude’s face.

Robert S. Donovan

13. If you’re not going to help cook, help clean up. If you don’t know how to pick trash up off concrete, just drive down any state highway and observe those guys in orange jumpsuits.

14. Don’t assume that bringing beverages exonerates you from cleanup duty. Cooking for 12 people is a lot more work than showing up with 12 beers.

15. Don’t disappear to some other tailgate without your ticket and make whoever has your ticket wait for you to get back before heading into the game. And obviously don’t disappear with someone else’s ticket

Tailgating Chair
Chuck Stanley

16. Don’t sit in someone else’s super-awesome tailgating chair. Buy your own super-awesome tailgating chair.

17. You know that rule that says you shouldn’t date someone if they’re younger than half your age + 7? Don’t be that old guy hootin’ and hollerin’ with all college kids.

18. Don’t bring a canopy that takes more than three steps to set up unless you're just awesome at canopies and need no help from anyone else ever.

Solo Cups
Aaron Miller

19. Don’t forget the damn Solo cups. Don't forget the damn bottle opener.

Aaron Miller

20. Don’t put hot coals in your trunk. It seems obvious but it’s not so obvious that people don’t do it.

21. Always remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.