In the 2019 NFL season, Jacob Barnor, a 25 year old NFL and San Francisco 49ers fan from Leeds embarked on a wonderful football odyssey. Jacob aimed to see a full NFL game at every franchise in the fewest days possible. Jacob broke the Guinness Book of Records by three days at the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving day- who in turn gave him tickets to the Super Bowl in Miami!
Having done a mammoth NFL trip myself back in 2008, we had a lot in common and ended up talking all things football and road trips for three hours, and probably only barely covered the surface. It was fascinating to hear how some things have changed in the eleven years since my trip, new stadiums have been built, teams have moved and tailgating rules have changed, yet so many other things have remained- the Green Bay Packers for example continued to have a wonderful warm and welcoming fan base.
I know you may not have spent the same amount of time in every city because of such a tight schedule, where for most weeks you would be seeing three games per week, but what NFL cities did you enjoy the most?
Chicago- was great, it is a big city but not quite as busy as say NYC but certainly more relaxing.
Kansas City- it felt really up and coming and the people there were so nice.
Nashville- A fun city and the stadium is downtown. A lot to see and do. Definitely a great city for a weekend.
I particularly liked the teams that had a downtown stadium (though Arrowhead is not downtown), but the Tailgating isn’t quite as big compared to an out of city stadium.
Your Favourite Tailgates
Buffalo Bills- The Red Pinto team was crazy.
Detroit Lions- The Tubgators were a lot of fun. I arrived at 8am for a 1pm kick off and everyone asked why I was so late. They had all started at 6am!
Los Angeles Chargers- Thunder Alley is a large area with just so many great tailgate parties , one after the other. Many of the tailgaters drive up from San Diego
Deep Dish from Chicago. I’m not a huge deep pan pizza guy, but this was amazing. But at the tailgate I have to say the best was the succulent ribs that I had the Denver Broncos tailgate.
For pure architecture wonder it has to be AT and T , the home of the Dallas Cowboys, or the Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta, but in terms of fan experience I would go with these:
Arrowhead – Kansas City Chiefs. Great fans and tailgate who really get behind their team.
Century Link Field- Seattle Seahawks. Certainly the loudest stadium on the trip.
Ford Field- Detroit Lions. I was as surprised as everyone else.
Soldier Field- Chicago Bears.
Mercedes Benz Superdome- New Orleans Saints.
Here at NFL Weekends we like to check out other things in an NFL city for the weekend, Did you manage to go to other events during your travels?
It was a lot of travelling and a lot of football but yes I did get to spend a good amount of time in each city and I saw some other great events too:
I went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Ohio, which was really good.
Chicago Cubs baseball game, an Arizona Coyotes ice hockey game a CFL game in Hamilton, which was really good. I really enjoyed that.
I also saw five college football games. UCLA, SMU in in Dallas , the Florida Gators, and I saw games at the two largest football stadiums in America, Penn State Lions and the Big House, the home of the Michigan Wolverines
Any places that you have to go back to?
Some places I would like to go back because I may not have had enough time there first time round. I’d certainly like to go back to Arizona, because when I was there, which was towards the end of the trip I was ill- and there had been just so much travelling, so I would like to go back there. I would like to see my beloved 49ers
However I would like to go back to these places, not just because of the places themselves but because of the people I met there and that I had such a good time there.
Pittsburgh, Detroit, Kansas City, Denver, Chicago and Tampa Bay
Best games that you saw
I was really privileged to see so many great games, but here are my top ones.
Texans at Saints (28-30) It was such a see saw game
Rams at Seahawks (29-30) a great game with a lot of drama
Chiefs at Titans (32- 35) The stadium was electric when the Titans blocked the Chiefs field goal attempt on the final play.
Texans at Chiefs ( 24-31)
Patriots at Ravens ( 20-37)
Best player you saw live
Either Patrick Mahomes, I got to see him on his first game back after injury , which was that great game against the Titans, or Lamar Jackson who certainly was the most fun to watch.
On all of your travels to all these teams was there anything that surprised you?
I was really surprised by how many fans travel away, especially where some of the distances are really far. L.A and NYC are big cities it is expected that they have fans from many teams, but I was really surprised to see so any away fans at the Titans. But I understood because Nashville is such a fun city that so many fans from all over the country just really want to go there for a weekend.
I was surprised to see people wear the jerseys of other teams who were not playing on the day of the game.
Certainly seeing the mixture of home and away jerseys both at the tailgate and inside the stadium.
Any tips for fans going to see games in the U.S?
Some stadiums that are outside of town are head to get unless you have a car, so if you can stay by the stadium, or find out if your hotel or a bar does a shuttle bus. That was a great way to get to the games and meet people. I also used the e scooters quite a bit to get to the stadiums, but of course they were never there after the game
I pre booked all my tickets before hand via Ticketmaster or Stubhub, but looking back, I really should have just waited to nearer the game and go on Stubhub.
Written by Adam Goldstein @TailgateKnight