History of Tailgating in San Diego
Every week, San Diego Chargers old and young party like rock stars in an effort to boost the wins of their beloved football team and, well, just to have a reason for a round of beer pong. Some tailgaters think they are the know-it-alls of the pavement party scene, but little do they realize, tailgating and the San Diego Chargers have a history that goes back to the late 1960s. Using the guide below, you’ll blow your tailgating pals away with the insider’s scoop at the next NFL alma mater name trivia game.
Back Story: In 1967 when the all-American hipsters debuted bell-bottoms and fringe, the San Diego Chargers played their very first game in a freshly minted San Diego Stadium. Formerly known as the Los Angeles Chargers, owners Barron Hilton and Jack Murphy moved the football team from the L.A. Coliseum to San Diego and officially coined the team as the San Diego Chargers. The San Diego Stadium received a $9.1 million makeover in 1984, where it expanded to over 60,000 seats. Another expansion took place in 1997 and the Chargers’ home base added 10,500 seats, 34 suites and four club lounges. In addition, the owners gave the food service a facelift and built a practice facility for the team. A total of $78 million was spent on creating a top-of-the-line venue that targeted fans near and far.
Name Game: When Jack Murphy died in 1980, San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson crowned the San Diego Stadium as the Jack Murphy Stadium. It then became the Qualcomm Stadium after the 1997 revamp, which will remain the property’s name until 2017.
The Beer: There are many theories as to how tailgating parties got their claim to fame and how beer became the official beverage of choice while partying on the blacktop. Some say the tailgate and beer combo was born from the very first college game between Rutgers and Princeton. Others believe it was sparked at a Yale game in 1904. While still others deem it was the day the San Diego Chargers played against Detroit on August 20, 1967. It is these fans that, as they were cheering in the sweltering summer heat, cooled off with a nice cold beer. Fast-forward to 2007, when a beer-loving, 21-year-old San Diego native by the name of Wesley Keegan launched TailGate Beer. Touted as “the official craft beer of tailgating,” TailGate Beer has quenched the thirst of millions of fans since its inception.
Player Facts: Having Chargers’ facts in your back pocket will always be a crowd pleaser, especially when you are trying to impress your tailgate crush.
Hall of Famers:
1978: Lance Alworth
1979: Ron Mix
1983: Sid Gillman
1993: Dan Fouts
1995: Kellen Winslow
1996: Charlie Joiner
#14: Dan Fouts
Wide Receiver: Lance Alworth
Alworth became a San Diego Charger in the 1962 AFL Draft and played with the team until 1970. Named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team and inducted into the San Diego Charger’s Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Alworth played 136 games, gained more than 10,000 yards and successfully scored 85 touchdowns.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Jennifer Geisman is a freelance writer and faithful beauty junkie living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.