The fan experience for the Washington Commanders has not been a good time since owner Dan Snyder bought the team, and took over operations at FedEx Field. Old time fans remember the days at RFK Stadium when the team was winning, the stands were rocking, and everyone was having a good time watching the team they love. Fans still go to FedEx Field to support the Washington franchise and players, and some of them are still having fun in the parking lots tailgating.
For fans like myself that haven’t been to FedEx Field(my last game there was the win and get in game at the end of the 2016 season against the New York Giants where Kirk Cousins threw two picks in a loss), going to away games has become a welcome option. Last year’s trip to Las Vegas to watch the Washington Football Team beat the Raiders in a basically brand new stadium was an eye-opening experience, and made me want to go to more away games at different stadiums around the league.
People that don’t want to go to any stadium, whether that be because of the always rising prices of tickets/parking/concessions, don’t want to travel, or just don’t want to leave their house, homegating has become a great option to take advantage of the fun of tailgating without dealing with the costs, price, and potential bad weather. It also allows you to spend time with your family, without having to deal with any potential bad fan behavior you can run into at any stadium in the NFL.
I have been watching games at home for years, and my gameday rituals change by the week, the season, the opponent, or just by the mood I’m in. I have always been a pretty avid griller, and have prepared many different meals for game days to be enjoyed by friends and family. I recently picked up a Masterbuilt 800 smoker/grill/griddle combo that has made homegating this season a ton of fun, and added some levels to what I was able to put on the table.
Smoked pork butt
One of the other traditions we have in our house is celebrating touchdowns from Washington teams. When the good guys score I typically yell TOUCHDOWN loudly enough for the entire house to hear. I used to get some first bumps or whatevers from the older boys in the house, but they’ve never really been into watching football, or sports in general. Luckily my youngest son Jackson loves everything his father is into, and has been a willing partner in my touchdown celebrations.
His first word at a very early age was touchdown, after a little prodding from his mom and dad. I still pick him up and run around the house after Washington scores, and then slam him down onto the couch. He loves it that part of the game, even if he doesn’t sit down and watch the actual games for more than 10 minutes at a shot.
This team has made winning look difficult to impossible and has driven many fans from its stadium and its ranks. Whether you’re still watching Washington, or just enjoying the NFL every Thursday, Sunday, and Monday during the season, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the experience at home. Grilling/smoking at home, and doing silly celebrations with your kids give the games a little more meaning, even when the outcomes aren’t what you want or expect to see on your television.