The Ultimate Football Fan Road Trip: Tailgate32
By Michael Sadowski
Brothers Mike and John Trupiano are just like you and your buddies.
They grew up together, they played sports, they moved away from their native Detroit, later got back together in Chicago, love football, and they spent their 20s wondering what they wanted to do when they grew up.
They also had the discussion you and your buddies have had a thousand times.
“You know what we should do? We should quit our jobs and just go to every NFL football stadium in the country this fall.”
Here’s where the Trupianos are different. Whereas you and your buddies go to sleep and wake up the next day forgetting you even said that, the Trupianos actually did it. Not only did they do it, they documented most of it for their own web series – and they’re doing it again. This time, it’s going to be broadcast as KoldCast TV’s newest series, “Tailgate32,” a documentary mini-series about the brothers’ adventures crisscrossing the country to go to all 32 NFL stadiums and experience big-time tailgating and the electric game day atmosphere.
You are watching the Denver episode of Tailgate32
The two both had technology jobs until 2011, deciding to leave them in pursuit of their dream of working together and watching football at the same time.
“We knew we wanted to do some kind of business together,” Mike Trupiano, 35, an MIT graduate, said. “We were in Chicago in 2011, trying to figure out what it would be. We were thinking about a new type of financing company, and we considered starting a chain of taco trucks, but what we kept coming back to over and over again was, ‘We’ve worked pretty hard for few years; maybe we should just go and see a whole lot of football games.’”
The idea actually started in 2011, but fizzled out when they ran out of time and couldn’t make a definitive plan ahead of time because of the specter of a lost season looming due to the NFL lockout. It ended in time for the season to go off without a hitch, but not in enough time for the brothers to get out on the road.
“We didn’t have any of our ducks in order,” Mike said. “We just thought we wanted to go to a bunch of football games. John was still getting out of his job, and the season was still in jeopardy, so we decided not to take the project on. But we said we’d be ready the next season.”
In 2012, though, the plan came together. They spent the winter in Austin, TX, and met some film professionals who helped them figure out how to go about the whole thing if they chose to do it. That included Aidan Brezonick, who edited and directed much of the series.
John mapped out the super-aggressive route, they hired a team of five football fans to come with them – including a road manager and cinematographer – and they embarked on the craziest journey of their lives.
Brothers Mike and John Trupiano and their Rolling 42’ Tailgate32 Headquarters
Even though they had a plan… they really didn’t have a plan. They still weren’t totally sure what medium they would use to document the trip, but decided on a web series.
It started in New York City for the opening kickoff and didn’t stop until they made it to the Super Bowl in New Orleans. They didn’t make it into the big game, mind you, but they couldn’t have had the kind of trip they had without finishing it off the right way. “We had to,” John said. “We just had to even if we didn’t go to the game.”
Along the way it was crazy. Their schedule had them at three football games on eight different weekends – a Thursday night game, a Sunday game and a Monday night game.
In each city they needed tailgate footage from the stadium parking lot scene, and they needed footage of the city’s landmarks… even if they weren’t staying in the city for a day.
“Arizona in particular, that was hard,” John said. “We only spent 23 hours in the city. We had to shoot our regular segment, had trouble on the way there, and we had to be in San Diego the next day. All those little details made it tough.”
Don’t shed a tear for the guys though. No matter what difficulties may have befallen them, they still spent five months on the road tailgating at every NFL stadium.
Click to watch the Cleveland episode of Tailgate32
They had their fair share of surprising experiences (“Oakland lived up to everything people said it would be,” Mike said, along with Buffalo and Cleveland) and their share of disappointments, including two of the famed tailgating havens in the league, Philadelphia and Green Bay.
“Philly was on a Monday night late in the year (against Carolina), they had a rough year, and no one showed up. I mean, nobody,” Mike said. “In Green Bay, we’re not sure what happened. It was a ‘Milwaukee’ game (for season ticket holders in Milwaukee, an hour away) and it was a night game, so maybe people didn’t get out of work in time to tailgate. Those are the two places we want to give another shot to. I think we got them on down nights.”
Ah, yes, another shot. As crazy as the first trip was, they’re back at it again this year for KoldCast. They’re repeating the journey in 2013, mapping out another course to visit all 32 NFL stadiums, tailgating at each one and trying to get themselves into each game.
While they’re at each stadium they’ll be on Twitter to let fans of the show know where they can be found in the parking lot. That was a huge help in Jacksonville, FL, in 2012, where they said Twitter fans found them throughout the stadium.
Now they want to see that kind of support throughout the league’s tailgaters.
“It’s going to be a great trip,” Mike said from Denver, their first stop of the year. “We’re ready for it.”
Michael Sadowski is a pop culture-obsessed freelance writer based in Harrisburg, Pa., who believes that there was some kind of government conspiracy to keep viewers from watching “Friday Night Lights” for five years. What other explanation can there be? Hit him up on Twitter @hburgreporter or follow his work at facebook.com/ michaelsadowskireporter.