Each and every NFL team has their “superfans,” especially the Atlanta Falcons. One of the biggest pet peeves of genuine die-hards are the fans that only seem to show up and support the team when they have more wins than losses. It’s easy to break out the jersey and the baseball cap when your team is doing well and it sure is easier to get up on Sunday morning.
Atlanta Falcons fan Gerard Grimes is far from the “fair-weathered fan.”
This Georgia native has been going to football games in Atlanta since he was a child. He remembers the days of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, but is now thankful his teams plays in a first-rate facility like the Georgia Dome. For six years, Grimes and his crew have tailgated in a private lot on Northside Drive across the street from the Georgia Dome. He says it gets bigger and better every year, but this fun comes at a cost.” At Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, it was so easy to get into games,” explains Grimes. “It’s so expensive to go to games now, that we just tailgate, bring the television sets and watch the games in the parking lot.”
Being the fan he is, the Georgia native says he does go to two or three games a year to root on the Falcons. As far as his tailgate, Grimes says the theme each week is just to have fun. ”We average around 25 people per week, but for the bigger games like New Orleans, Philadelphia and Green Bay, we can handle 50,” Grimes laughs.
Grimes, who lives in Smyrna and works for a documentary production company, is out in his favorite lot for every home game and is usually tending bar. His speciality drink is appropriately called “stuff.”
Grimes says the menu each week is as diverse as the crowd that attends his shindig. The tailgate menu features staples like ribs and chicken, but attendees are free to bring anything they choose. Recent additions have included turkey sausage, turkey burgers and crab legs. Grimes says that beer-butt chicken is also quickly becoming a favorite of tailgaters in his lot. When it comes to beer, Grimes’ group sticks with a couple of favorites like Corona and Yuengling. He adds that they are perfect on a hot day.
When an away game is scheduled, the party continues. It might be at his house in Smyrna or at a friend’s abode. Once in a while when he gets the urge, Grimes and his crew head to Athens to tailgate and watch the Georgia Bulldogs.
If you see Grimes and company tailgating before the next Atlanta game, stop by and introduce yourself. They welcome most, but if you’re not a Falcons fan, be prepared for some friendly trash talk.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer in Atlanta and he loves covering anything Falcons-related. His work can be found at Examiner.com.