For fans, football is a sport of rituals. One of those rituals, for the intrepid fans daring to leave their sofa and actually go to the game, is tailgating. You know, arriving hours and hours before the game, setting up minivan-sized grills and going to town on burgers and beer. The Super Bowl is obviously the football game to end all football games; so, you might reasonably expect it is also the granddaddy of all tailgate parties. But, this year at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, you’d be wrong. There will be no tailgating at all.
That’s not to say you can’t eat and drink, after all, this is America. But you’ll have to keep it to yourself. Think of it more as a standing, shivering pregame picnic in a parking lot. The news of the tailgate buzzkill came from Super Bowl committee CEO Al Kelly in a press conference on Monday.
"You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in your car," Kelly said. "And provided you're in the boundaries of a single parking space, you'll be able to eat or drink right next to your car. However, you're not going to be able to take out a lounge chair, you're not going to be able to take out a grill, and you're not going to be able to take up more than one parking space. And it'll all be watched very carefully."
In the end, that won’t be that much of a problem for most Super Bowl attendees because they won’t be able to drive, much less spread out and feast. Of the 80,000 ticket holders there will be fewer than 13,000 parking spots for fans. The limited space is due to the large security perimeter that will be set up around the stadium.
How is one to get to the game then? "You cannot walk to the Super Bowl," Kelly said. So that’s out. You also can’t get dropped off unless you have a parking pass, which sort of defeats the point. The only other options for actually getting to the game are New Jersey Transit and a $50-plus shuttle from nine locations around the region.