Best Tailgate Adventure

Raiders Opener

It looks like something out of Lord of the Rings. Endless fields of smoldering blacktop, filled with the smoke of burning flesh. Skulls and spikes, war drums and howls fill the crowd, along with plenty of cheep beer. This is the annual Raiders opener tailgating scene, one the most ebullient, potentially dangerous tailgating adventures a football fan can get into, especially if you’re wearing a San Diego Chargers jersey. The Raiders are known throughout the world for their criminal, barbarian fans, who wear their loser outcast status like a badge of honor. Every year they show up by the tens of thousands with hope in their black Raider hearts. Every year that hope is usually crushed by the second half, as fans turn on each other, the players, and the maligned owner Al Davis, the Gollum of the gridiron. But for that brief period before the first snap, out there on that simmering blacktop, it’s easy to see the draw of the Raider Nation.

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