NFL Seeks Limits on Tailgating to Curb Drinking

The National Football League
(NFL) would like teams to limit tailgating to 3-1/2 hours prior to
kickoff, but so far only the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers have adopted such a policy, USA Today reported Nov. 18.

The NFL has adopted a "Fan Code of Conduct" in hopes of deterring
behavior that league officials worry is scaring families away from
games. The code includes 43 recommendations, and a league auditor is
checking the NFL's 32 teams for compliance.

The NFL office sees a correlation between the length of tailgating
and the incidence of rowdy behavior and intoxication at games. "We hope
folks will implement this, or gradually work toward the 3-1/2 hours,
because we think it provides us with a better opportunity to have fans
come into our building in a condition that's not impaired," said
Jeffrey Miller, strategic security director for the NFL.

Teams like the Denver Broncos open their gates to tailgaters 5 hours
before game time. Mac Freeman, the Broncos senior vice president of
business development, said team officials "haven't seen tailgating
really cause binge drinking" around the stadium. Officials from other
teams contend that they need to open the gates early in order to avoid
traffic snarls.

Other recommendations include restricting stadium serving sizes and
amount to no more than two 20-ounce beers; two 6-ounce wines or two
1-1/2-ounce servings of hard liquor per sale. Ten clubs have complied
with this suggestion since it was made, and today only three teams sell
beers of 20 ounces or more.

Stepped-up police patrols also are part of the NFL's recommendations
to teams; and police at Buffalo Bills home games conduct random DUI
checks, and some alcohol-control agencies send underage interns to
check compliance with service laws at stadium concession stands

Some fans say the league is being hypocritical by trying to limit
drinking in the parking lot while selling beer, wine and liquor inside
the stadium and taking millions in sponsorship money from
alcoholic-beverage companies.