The hardest thing for professional football players is that the NFL only gives them 17 chances to show up. Every win or loss counts, so they better do their best every time.
For pro hookers, the stakes are arguably even higher: there are only eight home games to get it right.
On the other hand, that’s eight chances to throw an epic party. If you’re an Eagles fan and ready to do it in honor of your beloved birds, check out these tips. They are compiled from interviews with a group of hardened Sunday morning warriors, who graciously agreed to share their lessons learned.
(Note: You’ll find a printable list of tips at the bottom of this article.)
Pick the right pitch and arrive early
The first rule: stand on the right ground. This map shows which stadium-affiliated spaces are designated for pre-match tailgating and where you are not supposed to.
Most options are family-friendly. If you’re looking to introduce yourself in a more grown-up environment, the Jetro bundle is known to be a bit rowdy (and a bit less kid-friendly).
For most public lands, you will want arrive early to have your choice of spots. For a 1 p.m. game, that means you’ll want to wake up with the sun. Yeah.
Experienced hooker Ian Oakley said he usually comes 5 hours before to start up, or just at the opening of the batches. The 31-year-old Roxborough resident has been following Eagles games since moving to the town in 2013 and usually invites between 15 and 25 people on a date.
It’s especially important to arrive early if the bulk of your crew is arriving by car and you all want to park together.
“Hookers normally sit in the same spot every time,” said Alan Frankel, 66, who hooked the Eagles for more than a decade until COVID hit. He always showed up early to get a big spot for his classic RV. “Every time you go to a game, it’s like your neighborhood is united again.”
Marisa Magnatta, radio producer for Preston & Steve on 93.3 WMMR, is a Third Generation Eagles subscriber and one of the main hosts of Beast Tailgating. These die-hard fans set up right next to the stadium for every home game, and they find themselves with around 50 people as kick-off approaches. To get such a top spot, someone from their group shows up at 6 o’clock. Magnatta, who is 39 and comes from downtown, usually drives SEPTA to the stadium a few hours later.
Some bundles don’t fill up that early because they’re limited to certain groups of ticket holders. If you like to sleep, see if you know anyone who plans to be there.
Dave Lee, owner of Manayunk’s Pizza Jawn, said he usually shows up around four hours before kick-off – but his lot is one of the tightest. To enter it, you have to know someone.
Make a potty plan
Morning coffee + morning beers + tailgate food = we’re gonna need a bathroom, folks.
Be smart and find a place relatively close to the porta-potties, whether you can. It’s not a bad idea to bring some toilet paper from home too.
If you’re feeling brave, maybe BYO toilets? Our tailgating experts have seen others create a temporary bathroom with a privacy curtain – although none have gone this route themselves. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to do your homework and have a plan for easy and safe cleaning.
Another option for private restrooms requires a bit more commitment: getting an RV. Which brings us to the next tip…
Ride in a luxury – or at least practical – ride.
The highest level of bottoming comfort, hands down, is an all-equipped RV or van — like the $143,000 Winnebago UFC fighter Eddie Alvarez bought in 2018 specifically for Eagles tailgating.
But the convenience of an RV doesn’t necessarily equal six-figure luxury. The Beast Tailgating crew has “a 20-year-old RV that feels like a 20-year-old RV,” Magnatta said. It has broken down more than once, but it gets the job done and makes it a distinctive home base. “It works eight Sundays a year, hopefully a little more this year,” she said, cautiously referring to playoff hopefuls.
You could reuse another type of large vehicle – like the Iggles Ambulance, the ship commanded by Ken Brown, of Montgomery County. Brown, 58, bought the retired ambulance about 8 years ago from a guy in Port Richmond who rented it out periodically as a movie and TV prop. In its first life, it was a real emergency vehicle in Georgia.
Brown knew that an ambulance had certain critical characteristics for tailgating: large, distinctive, lots of storage space, and great electrical capacity. He also made the part look the part, wrapping the vehicle’s body in Eagles graphics, replacing the red lights with green ones, and installing a rear bar. It’s a sight to behold. Brown acknowledged that it was a lot of work.
Oakley and Lee said they’re doing just fine with their stalwart vans. The open bed means you can throw all your gear in the back without worrying about moving around the seats or making a mess.
At the very least, you’ll want something big enough to hold all your necessities for the day.
Equipment, games, grills and food
Let’s start with the practical things. Bring what you will need to brave the elements. At the start of the season, you’ll want some sort of attempted for shade. Later you may need it as a shield against precipitation. Camping chairs and the tables are a must if you want to sit down and eat.
If you like to walk, consider a scooteror maybe even golf cart or one motorized cooler.
If some of your team members don’t have tickets for seats inside Lincoln Financial Field (it’s gotten expensive), it’s good to have a TV for them to watch from the field, Lee said.
On the fun stuff. You will want more tables for beer pong and flip-cup – and table tennis balls too. And is it even a tailgate without cornhole?
Lee of Pizza Jawn says yes. His team isn’t much into games, but music is a must – make sure your bluetooth speaker is charged and ready to go.
Also a must for Lee are portable pizza ovens to heat up grandma’s pies he brings home from his restaurant.
For the rest of us, a grill is more likely (just make sure it’s allowed in the bundle you choose). Oakley recommends a compact version, and Brown says propane is preferred for faster cooling and cleaning.
If you are cooking outdoors, you will obviously need to bring plenty of burgers and hot dogs — including a supplement for unexpected guests and friendly passers-by. breakfast food is also a hit for those who like to get up early in the morning, Oakley noted.
Whatever you choose, if it’s perishable and you won’t eat it right away, make sure you have cooler space and lots of ice. And of course, plates, napkins and cutlery make the experience more enjoyable.
Don’t be afraid to mix it all up either. Frankel said his group always had the standard grill fare, but sometimes they threw in a rack of ribs too. Once a season, for a night game, they did lobster tails. One year they had a full Thanksgiving party.
You can also let someone else do the food preparation. Magnatta said his tailgate group tended not to cook. They will usually designate someone to enter a Hoagie trayand a tray of minis from Philly Pretzel Factory.
Having food is smart, but people tend to come to Beast Tailgating for the Beer, says Magnatta. That, and the pinata filled with mini liquor bottles they destroy just before kick-off.
If you’re attending a tailgate as a guest, it’s not a bad BYOB idea, and even smarter to bring drinks to share. For beer pong and other games, a light, inexpensive beer will do – in cansbecause glass poses security problems.
Address your mess and don’t be a fool
Nobody likes a redneck, and that’s Philly, so if you disrespect your hooker neighbors, you’re gonna get fired.
Seasoned hookers said they tend to start turn off the grills about 45 minutes before kick-off, and clean at least 30 minutes before. If you have people who don’t go inside, or are ok with missing gameplay, you can stretch it out a bit more.
“The second round of fireworks entering the game is an indication that we are on the final flip cup round,” Magnatta said.
Once you’ve had fun, there’s one simple rule: leave it cleaner than when you found it. Every veteran ‘gater said garbage bag are the most important item to bring for cleaning.
“A lot of times the trash cans are overflowing,” Lee said. “Throw the bags in your truck and take them home so you don’t contribute to the mess everywhere.”
Cleaning also includes that DIY toilet, if that’s your jam. bring a little gloves and have a plan to dispose of content responsibly.
If you have tables and other equipment, bring cleaning wipes and paper napkins so you don’t fill your vehicle with dirty material. do not forget plastic bags or containers to pack extra food.
Better yet, share it. Near stadiums “unfortunately there are a lot of people around who need food, so they’re happy to take your leftovers,” Brown said.
Soak it all up
Another sage advice from Brown, the captain of Iggles Ambulance: “Just have a lot of fun. There are a lot of people walking around on the pitch, including people wearing the other team’s colours. Have fun with them too.
That’s surely advice Oakley, of Roxborough, appreciates, considering the Birds aren’t even really his team — he’s a Panthers fan at heart. But Jalen Hurts is part of his fantastic team and he still loves the Philadelphia tailgating experience.
“I’ve been here for almost 10 years now and I enjoy watching both the joys of Eagles fans and the agony of Eagles fans at the same time,” Oakley said. “It’s just a love of the sport and a love of the city.”
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