NFL: From Texas to New York, tailgating fuels football gamedays

    Story highlights

    • Tailgating in US started in 1869
    • Tradition spans college and pro football
    • Commerce is frowned upon

    Austin, Texas (CNN)Throughout his four years as a football player at the University of Texas, Todd Bondy had little awareness of the revelry taking place just outside the team's stadium.

    It was only after completing his football eligibility and remaining on campus to finish his degree that Bondy, a fullback on Texas' vaunted 2005 national championship team, felt he may have been missing out on something big.
      "It was quite an eye-opening experience," he says of attending his first tailgate party. "It's a sunrise to sundown situation for many."
        Freed from his seclusion in a team hotel the night before a game, Bondy mixed with Texas students who camped overnight in spots to toss footballs, barbeque, and engage in a fair amount of drinking leading up to kickoff.
        "It's a hyper-social experience and mini-reunion every week for a lot of people," he says, noting that he went back to every tailgate that semester, "and the fun thing is they are all rallying around Texas football."
        Since the very first college game played between Princeton and Rutgers University nearly 150 years ago, tailgating has gone hand-in- hand with American football as a celebration of fandom unmatched by other sports.
        And the parties keep getting bigger.