As luck would have it, I once procured free box seats to an NFL football game.
As luck would also have it, during that game my hometown New York Jets got pummeled 41-10 in the midst of blistering winds and freezing rain. Yet amidst the many lowlights—I would say shortly after our quarterback got benched and right before the streaker ran onto the field—I daresay I discovered the secret to true football happiness: being indoors.
By being in a box seat, rather than spending my time freezing outside piling enough hearty heaps of sarcasm on a platter to make an offensive lineman blush, I instead spent my time in a heated lounge quite literally piling chicken fingers, wings, and some rather good sliders onto a platter.
While I may never have the chance to be in another NFL box seat, you can sure bet my goal this season is to turn my home into the next best version of one. Allow me to share with you some advice on finding your homegating nirvana.
Let your fandom run free
Being a New York Jets fan, my rival team, AKA my lifelong-nemesis, AKA the bane of my existence, are the New England Patriots. In my own home, I can show my friends (and frenemies) the full fan experience. I would love nothing more than to invite my Patriot friends to my house, open their first drink with a Jet bottle opener, pour said drink into a Jet glass, and then put said drink down on a Jet coaster, and for the final indignity have them dry their hands off with a Jet towel when they visit the bathroom.
Tailgate from home
While I am all for homegating, I know tailgating is still a lot of fun. One of the best and underrated parts of home gating is that nothing’s stopping you from carry on that tailgating tradition from your back yard, front yard, or nearby park. So bring out the heavy duty grill, the quick set-up tent, and the quintessential portable cooler (this one can hold 85 cans!), and tailgate to your heart’s content, all while just a couple of feet from the cozy indoors.
For when that forecast of freezing rain turns into golf-sized balls of hail, it’s sure nice having the option to go back inside.
Start a snack revolution
The grill, and more precisely the foods that come with a grill from hamburgers to shish kebabs, are an essential part of any tailgate. With homegating, however, I can take advantage of a previously inaccessible food making device that will open your horizon to the glorious plethora of foods: the microwave.
Keep the fantasy alive
One of the best ways to cope with your team’s losing ways is to play fantasy football. Sure your real team may never win a game, but rack up enough fantasy wins and you may win a real, fake fantasy team championship.
When my real team is not quite up to par (which is typical), I can still enjoy the football experience with your fantasy team. What if my team just threw an interception in the end zone and went on commercial break? Well at least I can switch channels and take a quick look at how my fantasy running back is doing in the other game on my, still-fantasy-but-maybe-one-day-reality, HD quality TV. Or what if I forgot to charge my phone before a tailgate and now can’t change my fantasy roster? Not to worry, at home I can just plug into this awesome charging station. Because a fantasy win still beats no wins.
Start campaigning for the Super Bowl before the Super Bowl
While many people will pay the price to attend a live regular season NFL game, most people will be watching the Super Bowl from home. And who will host that incredible Super Bowl party?
Homegating is your chance to audition to make your home Super Bowl central. If throughout the season you turn your home into a tailgate-friendly, fandom-centric, snack-erific, fantasy heaven, then even if your team doesn’t whiff the playoffs, you at least can be a homegating champion. (And if you think that sounds corny, you’re now cordially uninvited from all my incredible homegate parties. So there.)