Tailgating is the ultimate pregame party. College towns dedicate entire streets to the cause while one NFL fan base is infamous for lighting themselves on fire and destroying every table in sight. At least one NFL city has decided enough is enough.
The Kansas City Chiefs will enact a new tailgating policy for fans utilizing the Arrowhead Stadium parking lots: once the game kicks off, you either have enter the game with your ticket in hand, or you have to pack up and go home.
The effort comes based from suggestions by the NFL on how to make the fan experience a better one. Chiefs president Mark Donovan talked about why the rule is coming into play:
“From a safety and security standpoint, we don’t want someone out there all day who’s not going to the game. If you’re out there taking up a spot, if you’re out there taking in traffic and you’re not going to the game, that’s impacting a person who is going to the game.”
FOX4, a local Kansas City news affiliate, found that reports of fights and drunken behavior happen more frequently outside Arrowhead Stadium than in “other similar sized markets.”
Security teams will sweep the Arrowhead stadium parking lots after kickoff, and ask fans who are not attending the game to pack up and leave the area.
“We’re going to transition into this,” Donovan said. “It’s not going to be a hard stop and start kicking people out of the parking lots. But we are going to go out into the parking lots and explain this is what we’re trying to do.”
Despite all the good intentions, Chiefs fans are furious. Everyone in Chiefs Kingdom from public personalities to casual fans are up in arms about the new tailgate policy.
It all makes sense in theory: they want partying close to the stadium to cap at kickoff. The Chiefs organization is hoping to curb any incidents they can near their property, like this 2013 incident that left one drunken tailgater dead, and ended with a wrongful death lawsuit.
Various college programs institute the same rule around the country, but that’s because they’re trying to keep kids from excessively binge-drinking. Now, they’re taking a stab into adults’ weekend livelihood, stepping into pool of constitutional rights entitled to every person of peaceful assembly.
Some fans are there for the true tailgate experience — they fire up the grill, sit back with a few cold ones and good friends, and cheer on their team when they can’t get into the game.
Fans are furious, and this policy is going to be met with a ton of backlash.
The new policy’s first test will come during Kansas City’s final preseason home game when the Green Bay Packers rolls into town Thursday night.