While we all love our Denver Broncos, there are only 76,125 seats in the stadium. And life isn’t always fair enough to situate all of us nice and close to Denver, the Broncos, and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. So, for the many Broncos fans cheering the team on through a TV screen, homegating is a way of life.
What is homegating? Simply put: Anything and everything you do to create a gameday atmosphere right there in your house or yard.
If you’re like me, having multiple priorities in life (and many a firm “No” from your spouse) prevents you from decking your living room out in orange & blue as standard décor. But when it comes to gameday, that just means you need portable, storable alternatives. Thumb tacks, tape, and command strips are your friends, along with a box of pennants, photos, and other wall art. That makes for a great start.
A little more progress on the Kenzo cave wall...I might make a couple changes.. but I'm happy with it... almost ready for Football Season!! #broncoscountry #kenzocave #broncos #mancave #fancave #gobroncos pic.twitter.com/PCMctuQGl3— Kenzos_customs (@Kenzos_customs) July 6, 2019
Add in a Broncos throw blanket or two to hang over the back of the couch or other furniture, and you’re well on your way. And if you can swing it, a small rug can help bring it all together. Extra points for a John Elway or Peyton Manning bobblehead set up to watch the game with you.
Scaling down to a more personal level, a jersey or at least a Broncos T-shirt is arguably the basic must-have of having a watch party at home. If you can control or do nothing else, then at least that should hopefully be an option. Maybe you’ve got a lucky jersey. Or perhaps you wear a different player’s threads depending on the mood or opponent. I know I’m likely to pull out my blue Chris Harris Jr. jersey if we need a great defensive showing, or else my orange Manning #18 if the offense needs to explode.
Tailgating or homegating, food is an essential and awesome part of the experience. It’s one of those things that are highly individual, though. Wings, of course, are the classic headliner. But the sheer variety of potential gameday food is something to celebrate.
Pizza, dips, nachos/queso, jalapeno poppers, potato skins, friend <insert just about anything>, burgers, hot dogs ... the options are endless and the favorites vary from place to place.
As an out of state fan, and more or less living in the south, barbecue is an essential part of my NFL game days. Depending on the start time, I’ll happily spend my Sunday (and/or my Saturday night) doting on my offset smoker as it slowly and steadily readies some tender, delicious ribs, brisket, or pulled pork.
BBQ has the added benefit of often being a great way to feed a crowd. But when many hands are grabbing for ribs, and other sides are still to be eaten, the thick, sticky barbecue sauces that are popular are more of a problem than a benefit. So on game days I tend to lean on my favorite dry rub recipe to make the pigging out process quicker, easier, and cleaner for everyone involved. I’ll include it here, in case BBQ has piqued your interest for your next NFL Sunday feast.
Taylor’s DIY Dry Rub
- 3 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tsp onion powder
- 1 Tsp oregano
- 1 Tsp celery seed
- 1 Tsp mustard powder
- Combine it all and use a fork or whisk to mix thoroughly and break up any clumps. Sprinkle some extra rub on top after the meat is done cooking.
- Salt separately to taste when used on ribs. When used on a pork shoulder, add 3 Tbsp of salt per batch.
- And if you want to add some kick to it, adding a tablespoon of cayenne pepper works pretty well.
One of the best parts of any Broncos gameday is to experience it with others. Gather in the family, a group of friends, or even the neighbors. Enjoy some of that great grub. Play some horseshoes, cornhole, or ladderball together. Make a few prop bets with stakes serious or silly. Take a moment to enjoy the utter lack of things like traffic, bathroom lines, absurd food & beer prices, and (hopefully) annoying loudmouths wearing the other team’s colors. And then sit back and spend a few fun hours cheering for the boys in orange & blue.