The muddled history of tailgating

Contrary to popular belief, tailgating was not invented by Al Gore before he invented the Internet, global warming and Seven Eleven convenience stores.

The original tailgate episode is said to have occurred in 1869 at the first ever college football game played between Princeton and Rutgers. Fans were hungry before the game and concession stands had yet to be invented. The famished fans stopped at Gore’s Seven Eleven and bought bread and meat to be eaten at the stadium before the game.

Sitting in their horse drawn carriages, behind the horse, sandwiches were made and eaten. The event was first referred to as eating behind the horse’s tail or horse’s tail eating, which was quickly changed to horse’s tailgate as some fans, who couldn’t afford carriages, began lowering the rear tail door on their wagons so as not to look at the horses backside as they ate. The horse part was dropped after automobiles, invented by Al Gore, replaced the horse.

The modern tailgating began in New Orleans in 1967 when Orville Henderson, tired of paying fifty cents for a semi-cool can of beer, pulled into Tulane Stadium in his 1949 Chevy pickup. He parked in his usual spot, let the tailgate of his truck down and proceeded to pull a baloney sandwich (note: only Yankees and advertising sales people eat bologna) and a cold bottle of beer from his cooler.

His bold action soon drew a crowd of onlookers, also tired of paying fifty cents a can for semi-cool beer, who began mooching free beer from Orville. Within weeks the stadium parking lot was filled with pickup trucks, with the tailgates down, and people eating shrimp and meatball po’boys and drinking Dixie beer. This inspired Al Gore to invent to Subway Restaurant chain. Also tailgating helped inspire die-hard fans who watched the New Orleans Saints loose every game for twenty years in a row.

Tailgating reached a new high in 1968 when the first RV arrived at the stadium. Al Gore parked his RV, produced an awning and charcoal grill and began cooking burgers and hot dogs. Someone turned on a transistor radio and the party began. No one remembers who won the game as the party outside was more interesting than the game inside. Pickup trucks were soon replaced by RV’s. This was also the last tailgate party attended by Al Gore as he realized his using a charcoal grill was instrumental in global warming.

He traded in his RV for a Boeing 747.

Modern tailgating has soared to new heights as fans begin arriving on Thursday for Saturday’s college football games. At the NFL stadiums fans never leave. RV’s are permanently parked in one spot all season and spectators receive their mail general delivery at the local post office.

President Obama credits tailgaters for the high unemployment figures. “They just won’t leave the stadiums and return to work,” he said. Of course Obama extending unemployment benefits for a person’s lifetime may have contributed to the outcome. “Don’t blame me,” said the president, “Bush did it.”

As far as the future of tailgating is concerned, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Applebee’s and Papa John’s Pizza are attempting to purchase partials of stadium parking lots for their restaurants. Papa John’s already owns Peyton Manning. The FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are considering home loans for portions of stadium parking lots. Holiday Inn is attempting to become the official hotel of the NFL with units at every stadium. The new motto will be, “Stay here, play here, sleep here!” Upon hearing that, Bill Clinton bought three rooms.


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