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The Five Senses of Texans Tailgating

There is no sixth.

Wild Card Round - Oakland Raiders v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After a 2020 NFL season disrupted by the COVID pandemic, fans are super excited to get back to their home stadium and see their team play live, a luxury many of us have taken for granted and have not been able to do in over a year.

Even if your team isn’t all that good like the Houston Texans, there is one thing everyone can look forward to on game day: TAILGATING!

While the Lombardi trophy is probably not taking any real estate in Houston this year, NRG Stadium and Texans tailgaters might be taking home the Lombardi of tailgating in 2021.

It really doesn’t get more Texan than tailgating.

Tailgating is about food, coming together and creating experiences and memories that can last a lifetime. Experiences that are top-notch involve all five of a human’s senses.

When you drive into NRG Stadium, seeing the crowd of people excited to be there to support their team and running into faces you might not usually see is a treat on game day. This year in particular is extra special considering the tailgate crew size diminished due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the sights of seeing hundreds and thousands of excited fans coming together from all over the city, state and country make tailgating special.

The second thing that pops in is hearing all of the fans and friends mingling and laughing, chanting team cheers and bonding over their passion for football and the Texans. You can also hear the sizzle of the barbecue when a rack of ribs or brisket or chicken hits the grill. The sounds of tailgating are simply ones that you cannot get anywhere else and it is a massive contribution to the overall experience.

After you park your car, you probably then feel your sense of smell kick in. The smokiness from barbecue on the grill; the freshness of a tortilla and carne asada meeting together to form the perfect taco. The smell of the foods from every different tailgate crew signals to your stomach that it is time to...

Taste. And taste everything. Take that diet you said you were going to start today and punt it into the sun, because a tailgate dictionary does not have the word ‘diet’ in it. The tailgating in Houston is specifically unique because of the variety of cultures we have here in Houston.

The ethnic barbecue cuisine that Texas is famous for meets Hispanic cuisine, meets Vietnamese cuisine, meets Southern soul food and everything in between. Houston is a melting pot that eventually turns into something that melts in your mouth. You can go to all eight home games this season and have a unique food experience each and every time.

This leads to the final sense, which is perhaps the most important tied with taste: touch. In the past 18 months, we have not had as much touch in our lives as we had hoped. Giving someone you haven’t seen in a while a hug (and being safe) can be incredibly special and rewarding, but the feel of tailgating can also be seen more metaphorically here.

The feel of tailgating is all about coming together. Regardless of your background, people can come to tailgate and unite as a family. The overall experience is one that should evoke pure happiness. People come together to see old friends and make new ones, hear the cheers (and sometimes jeers) of their favorite team, smell and taste a piece of people’s cultures and feel and become part of something that is bigger than themselves.

Texans tailgaters, happy football season! Be safe and go build some lifelong memories.