There’s nothing like having your team’s season opener at home. After a few years of (losing) road openers, it was nice to see the Eagles hosting their season kick-off game once again. The atmosphere is almost playoff-equivalent and the combination of the excitement of a new NFL season and the ability to watch your team play a meaningful game for the first time in seven months, makes for an electric event, especially in an “overzealous” fanbase such as Philadelphia’s.
Adding to the enjoyment of the event was the 1:00 start time. Prime-time and 4:00 games can go to hell. What better way to spend a Sunday than to have breakfast and lunch in the tailgate before the game, then some dinner afterward.
So what are the elements of our typical tailgate party?
1:00 games mean one thing… a brat and egg sandwich for breakfast. What’s in a brat and egg? Did you really just ask that? To be a little more specific, the sandwich consists of a Johnsonville bratwurst, split halfway through cooking, slapped on a Philly-style roll and topped with a fried egg. There are two schools of thought in starting in on the brat and egg. You can squeeze the sandwich and let the yummy goodness ooze out of the sandwich, or you just bite right in and let the yolk fly as it will. Either method is acceptable, as long as you eat it… KEVIN!
Many people have visited our tailgate over the years, those that have dined on the brat and egg always ask about it when they return. The brat and egg is the marquee menu item of the F2 Crew.
Shortly after breakfast the next course is introduced to the grill… the pork course. Ribs slathered in the sauce and honey mustard-marinated pork loin. The key to both is to have them cut up and ready to go prior to grilling. Even though we start the tailgate at 8:00am, we don’t have all day to cook, especially since the grill needs to cool off and get back in the jeep. The smaller pieces decrease cooking times and is key to keeping on schedule.
Additional fare are some chicken drum sticks, two thin bone-in steaks and the standard hot dogs and hot sausage. In my mind, there is no better compliment to a hot sausage than melted sharp cheddar. Pop that baby on a potato roll and it’s pure heaven.
By this time we have quite a few bowls and plates out, buffet style, for all regulars and visitors to pick and choose from. There is even a brat and egg left… KEVIN.
What’s a tailgate without beer? Well, it wouldn’t be a tailgate party at all. The number of beers to choose from this week didn’t quite equal that of the food, but it was close. We did have something for everyone though. I was rotating between Stone’s Arrogant Bastard and Flying
Fish IPA. Other fare included Bud Light, Yuengling Lager, a Heineken mini-keg and even some Schmidt’s. Like I said, we really did have something for everyone.
The parking lots were a buzz with plenty of activity. Some people were just chilling out in the chairs or RVs, others threw a football around and becoming more popular each year are games like washers, bean bags, or ladder golf. In my own humble opinion, throwing the football is not a great idea. Yeah, I know you’re going to a football game, but you’ve been drinking all day and to be honest, you probably throw like a girl. That football is going to hit something it shouldn’t at some point. I’ve seen everything get hit in my years, including a Marsha Brady “Ow, my nose” imitation from an innocent passer-by. If you must have a catch, stick with a Nerf ball… Nancy.
Amidst all this eating and drinking, we did manage to squeeze a football game in. As most of you have probably seen already, the Rams didn’t put up any fight whatsoever and the game was a lock already by the second quarter. So another good time was had by all. The first game of the season was in the books, but the first tailgate wasn’t quite finished yet.
As we head back out to our vehicles, it’s time to finish what we’ve started. The final course consists of some more hot dogs, sausage and honey mustard pork. Water finally started to replace beer since we were sitting in the hot sun all day and our faces were a few shades closer to red.
Ok, I’ve had my fill and it’s time to head home. The other great aspect of the 1:00 game is that I can go home and catch the end of the 4:00 games and watch the late game in it’s entirety, most often with my 5-year old, who is starting to appreciate the game already.
My face is crisp from baking in the sun all day, my throat is sore from singing the Eagles fight song so many times, my gut is full with the ridiculous amount of food I’ve consumed today, I’ve spent an entertaining 10 hours with good friends and my team is 1-0…
Yeah, it was a good day.