We all have that one football moment that is etched in our minds. It may be a long touchdown pass or an interception that sealed the victory. For Falcons fans, they will always remember Morten Andersen’s game-winning field goal in overtime that sent to Falcons to Super Bowl XXXIII. There are also those seminal tailgating moments that are remembered and talked about for years to come. Let’s hear from some Falcons fans as they talk about some epic tailgating moments in Atlanta.
Celebs Come Out to Tailgate
When the Falcons play, the celebs come out to tailgate. Falcon superfan Gerard Grimes recounted the time when local radio personality Ryan Cameron brought out his DJ equipment before the Packers playoff game a couple years ago. Rapper Pastor Troy has been known to make the rounds, and Grimes adds that one of the things that makes tailgating in Atlanta interesting is that you never know who might show up.
January 15, 2011 – Falcons vs. Packers in Playoffs
The tailgate before the Packers playoff game in 2011 must have really been something as numerous fans continuously mention this game. Yes, the Falcons got drilled by Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, but it was a bit unusual in that Atlanta had a snow and ice storm that stopped the whole city the six days before this game. Maybe the fans of the Dirty Birds were trying to fight off a little cabin fever by going all out for this game.
September 23, 2001 – First Game After 9/11
With a nation on pause and for only the second time in NFL history, a whole weekend of games canceled, football returned to Atlanta on September 23, 2001 and tailgating was ramped up to patriotic levels never before seen. The Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers on this Sunday, but what really stood out in the minds of many was a country joining together and getting back “normalcy.” There were American flags everywhere and both Falcons and Panthers fans were hanging out and appreciating what a great country we live in.
December 15, 1991 – Final Game at Fulton-County Stadium
Fans of the Falcons said goodbye to an old friend 10 days before Christmas in 1991: their home field in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. “The parking lots were jammed on that day,” remembers Terry Merrill, longtime Falcons fan. “It was cold, but it was the last tailgate at Fulton-County Stadium and we wanted to go out in style.” The Falcons also went out in style on that day defeating the Seattle Seahawks 26-13. Next year it was on to playing in the brand new Georgia Dome.
November 11, 2010 – Thursday Night Football
Night games always lead to some wild tailgates, especially when Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens come to town. Even though this was an 8:30 p.m. start, according to Grimes, fans arrived early wearing their throwbacks. The game came down to the wire and the Falcons pulled out a 26-21 win which caused the parking lots to explode in celebration. Grimes said everyone was cheering; the cops, security guards, MARTA bus drivers and even the homeless people. It was a really big win.
November 29 2012 – The Saints Come Marching In
Just as recently as a couple weeks ago, the Saints game at the Georgia Dome offered one of the best tailgates of all time, according to Grimes. This was another Thursday Night NFL Network game and folks started arriving to get a good spot as early as 6 a.m. There was a lot of trash talking, but the food was great and Grimes said it was amazing how quickly the Saints fans disappeared after the game. A loss to your big rival will do that to people.
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.