Be a respectful tailgater by following the rules (Credit, Karen Ulvestad)

When it comes to NFL tailgating, there are certain rules every fan must follow in their own home stadium, as well as at an opposing team’s venue. There are also what is known as “Tailgating Commandments” that every tailgater should honor. Whether you are a tailgating expert or novice, try to follow these 10 commandments for both home and away games out of respect for the NFL teams and your fellow tailgaters.

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1. Thou shall always wear team colors. Seahawks fans should plan to come dressed to any game wearing a team jersey, blue and green attire or something that sports the Seahawks logo. This shows true team spirit and some Seahawks fans come dressed to every game, home or away, in full makeup, wigs, jerseys and more.

2. Thou shalt not take more tailgating space than needed. Most NFL team venues have strict rules about only using one parking space per vehicle for tailgating. Be respectful of your fellow tailgaters and honor that rule. Regardless if you drive a large or small vehicle, this rule is in place for a reason – so that there is enough parking and tailgating space for all fans who wish to participate in the pre-game ritual.

3. Thou shall bring enough drinks and food. Never just plan for yourself and your immediate party, as no one likes to run out of drinks or food during a tailgating session. If you are able, bring more food and drink than you plan on consuming for yourselves. If you find you have extra leftover after your group is done consuming, then offer what you have to other tailgaters or wrap it up and take it home as an after-game snack.

4. Thou shall share in cooking and preparing duties. Tailgating, much like playing football, should be a team effort. Therefore, share in the duties of food preparation, as well the grilling and cooking of the food with your fellow tailgaters. No one person should be expected to do it all, so offer your help as often as needed.

5. Thou shalt not disrespect others. Tailgating is meant to be a fun experience. Whether you are tailgating at a home game for your own team or at an away game where your team is playing the competition, always be respectful of rival fans. Do not engage in disrespectful behavior against the opposing team and leave the competition for the NFL players.

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6. Thou shall arrive early. Let’s face it, the earlier you arrive to a tailgating parking lot, the better. You will have your choice of the best parking spots for tailgating and you will be able to park by the nearest exit, which helps you to leave before others. Sometimes this may mean showing up two to three hours before game time, but if you are a hardcore tailgater, this is probably a normal weekly ritual for you already.

7. Thou shall properly prepare. Preparing and having a well-planned tailgating experience is essential. You will need to make a list of everything to bring so you don’t forget anything, as well as check what the weather conditions will be. If it is going to be 70 degrees and sunny where your team is playing, you do not want to show up in a sweatshirt, gloves and hat. You also do not want to get to your tailgating location and realize you have forgotten any must-have items like charcoal, ketchup or hamburger and hot dog buns.

8. Thou shall bring a large cooler. If you are traveling as a group, you will want to have a cooler big enough so it can be kept well-stocked with plenty of ice and drinks for everyone. No one wants to run out of refreshments during tailgating and if you are bringing the kids, as well as other family and friends, you will need a nice-sized cooler to contain everything for your tailgating party.

9. Thou shalt not let kids out of their sight. Tailgating is more of an adult activity than it is for kids, but many parents do bring their children along to experience the fun. Just be sure to keep a watchful eye on your children if you do bring them and keep them entertained with some sort of alternate activity if you are engaging in your own tailgating duties. If you have a small TV you can hook up for them, bring it along. Or if they like to toss the football around or play other games, get a group of kids and adults involved to keep them from getting bored.

10. Thou shall always be a responsible tailgater. Everyone who tailgates likes to party a little and some maybe more than others. Whatever category you fall under, always be a responsible tailgater. If you plan to drink, have a designated driver and be sure to bring bottled water to keep yourself hydrated. Bring trash bags and always clean up after yourself when tailgating because no one else wants to have to pick up your mess. Lastly, have fun with your tailgating experience, but make it one that is enjoyed by all.

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Sue Gabel has been writing entertainment and travel-related articles in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and more. Her work can be found on