The National Football League (NFL) would like teams to limit tailgating to 3-1/2 hours prior to kickoff, but so far only the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have adopted such a policy, USA Today reported Nov. 18.
The NFL has adopted a “Fan Code of Conduct” in hopes of deterring behavior that league officials worry is scaring families away from games. The code includes 43 recommendations, and a league auditor is checking the NFL’s 32 teams for compliance.
The NFL office sees a correlation between the length of tailgating and the incidence of rowdy behavior and intoxication at games. “We hope folks will implement this, or gradually work toward the 3-1/2 hours, because we think it provides us with a better opportunity to have fans come into our building in a condition that’s not impaired,” said Jeffrey Miller, strategic security director for the NFL.
Teams like the Denver Broncos open their gates to tailgaters 5 hours before game time. Mac Freeman, the Broncos senior vice president of business development, said team officials “haven’t seen tailgating really cause binge drinking” around the stadium. Officials from other teams contend that they need to open the gates early in order to avoid traffic snarls.
Other recommendations include restricting stadium serving sizes and amount to no more than two 20-ounce beers; two 6-ounce wines or two 1-1/2-ounce servings of hard liquor per sale. Ten clubs have complied with this suggestion since it was made, and today only three teams sell beers of 20 ounces or more.
Stepped-up police patrols also are part of the NFL’s recommendations to teams; and police at Buffalo Bills home games conduct random DUI checks, and some alcohol-control agencies send underage interns to check compliance with service laws at stadium concession stands
Some fans say the league is being hypocritical by trying to limit drinking in the parking lot while selling beer, wine and liquor inside the stadium and taking millions in sponsorship money from alcoholic-beverage companies.