Hear ye, hear ye Panthers fans. Imagine if you will that the NFL’s messenger of the football gods, Mike Ditka, has come down from the mountain bearing two tablets inscribed with the 10 Commandments of Tailgating. He is flanked on the right by Terri Bradshaw and on the left by Joe Montana, and they are all boasting million-dollar smiles as they present the world with pre-game rules to maximize fan enjoyment of the tailgaiting experience.
So, you ask, what would these new tailgating laws say? Here they are, unabridged and in a perfect defense formation:
1. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER favorite team than your home team. Honor the Carolina Panthers and their mighty Superbowl potential, if not this year, then next.
2. YOU SHALL NOT BOW DOWN to any fried chicken that is not homemade. The same goes for the coleslaw and potato salad. If you have to buy it, at least fake it by putting it in tupperware so people will think it’s your own.
3. YOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE NAME of the home team in vain. No matter how bad that last pass was or how frustrating that last play – keep calm. We’re all in this together. No cursing or threats, unless it is against the rival team. Remember, the Panthers are high and mighty.
4. YOU SHALL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE SABBATH of Monday Night Football and keep all home games sacred. Remember, the Panthers take on the Eagles on November 26 for their next MNF appearance. Make sure to tune in.
5. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER’S alma mater, but when it comes to playing in the NFL, there is only one team to pledge your allegiance – the Panthers! Wear Carolina blue, black and silver proudly, but keep that college sweatshirt in the back of the closet just in case there is a weekend when the Panthers don’t play.
6. YOU SHALL NOT KILL an entire 12-pack in one sitting, unless you are sharing it with a best friend.
7. YOU SHALL NOT SERVE ADULT BEVERAGES in glass containers. This is a tailgate, people! Keep it plastic or aluminum for easy clean up.
8. YOU SHALL NOT STEAL another tailgater’s secret BBQ sauce recipe. Enough said.
9. YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST YOUR NEIGHBOR, even if he is a Broncos or Dolphins fan. It takes all kinds to make the world go round, right? Live and let live – the Panthers will win in overtime, anyway.
But the most important commandment of all:
10. YOU SHALL NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR’S grill, no matter how cool or customized it is. Remember, it’s not the size of the grill that matters, it’s how well you use it to cook up the burgers.
That’s a wrap, Panthers fans. Happy tailgating!
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
S.L. Schmitz is a published author, and more of her work can be found at Examiner.com.