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Clemson Fans Still Won the Tailgate: Scenes from the 2016 Championship Tailgate


Arizona — a state normally known for deportations, meth, and shitty sports teams. That is until the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers rolled into town to play in the College Football National Championship Game, a matchup destined to be a clash of the titans between the two best teams in the country, as well as a competition to see which fan base can get more hammered in a smaller amount of time. The Black Sheep ventured to the Wild West to see for ourselves.


7:00 a.m. Game Day



Since we’re not Powerball winners, decent plane tickets were hard to come by. Instead, we headed to the airport at the crack of dawn on game day. The flight attendant, as they normally are, was WAY too excited about everything and made us chant three cadence counts over the intercom. Dedicated as we are, the Tiger fans onboard stayed awake long enough to mumble their way through. Hey, we had to conserve our energy for that night.



10:00 a.m.




Touched down in Phoenix, a barren place reminiscent of Mars with taco trucks. Already we’re seeing lots of smart people wearing orange and some dumb rednecks wearing red. Doesn’t matter if you’re a Alabama fan from Boston, you’re still a redneck if you associate with those cocky spastic fans that would rather yell “RAWL TAHHD” than say “I do” at their marriage.



11:30 a.m.




We arrive at the University of Phoenix stadium, presumably where during the regular season the University of Phoenix Fightin’ GEDs play against other online schools. Boy, did the Clemson fam come through: the parking lot was a roiling sea of orange, rowdy tiger fans having begun drinking at a highly questionable hour of the day. Always a blessing to see someone puke before lunchtime. We’d put the ratio at 75% Clemson fans and 25% Bama fans. We too deep.



2:00 p.m.

The music is bumpin’ and shotgunned beer is spraying everywhere. Arizona cops wearing combat gear and clutching semi-automatics roll by in golf carts, just in case we take off our visors and put on our ISIS robes. At this point most have been drinking for 4 hours, and that’s with another 4 and a half until game time. If it weren’t for the decked out cops, you might think you were at an SEC tailgate as the button downs, sundresses, and sperries were on point. One could even say on fleek. We wouldn’t, though.


4:00 p.m.




The official College Football-sponsored and way lamer tailgate got underway on the great lawn. There were a whole bunch of festivities, including an Eric Church concert, where he tried way too hard to be impartial by alternating between “All in!” and “Roll tide!” in between every song. We know you’re solid orange Eric, don’t lie to us. Also a lot of ESPN events, including the official “Heisman House” with the actual trophy inside. Johnny Football where you at let’s rage.



6:00 p.m.




Ciara sings the national anthem. The screams from the upper deck asking if she’ll go to formal with one of us go unheard.



6:30 p.m.

The game is officially underway, and thousands of screaming, most likely shitfaced Clemson fans drown out the Bama side cause that’s what we do. Even though we lost, we’ve never lost a tailgate, and today was no exception. CU in Tampa in 2017. Roll Damn Tigers.


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