Prepare your food and drinks the day before. Prepare and repackage all raw meats so you can throw them on the grill with minimal cleanup. Make sure everything is ready to transfer from fridge to cooler just before leaving home.
Pack a radio tuner/speaker. You’ll want to be able to catch all the pre-game action while you’re in the comfort of your own lawn chair. Let the crowds wait in those long lineups. If you’ve already got your tickets, then stay where the drinks are cheap for a while longer.
Bring extra clothing. Go ahead and wear your comfiest outfit, but pack a small bag with rain gear and cold-weather clothes. Fall temperatures can catch you by surprise.
Use a meet-up app to find friends and overlap parties. Apps like Foursquare and Find My Friends make it easy to share your location, so that no one gets left out of the fun.
Pack a stainless steel bucket for your hot coals. If you’re using briquettes for your grill, make sure you bring a safe container to dispose of the hot coals in after the burgers and s’mores are gone. You don’t want to return to your car and find that the hot coals you dumped on the asphalt got blown around and burned a hole in your tire.
Prepare some tailgate party games. Bring along some football trivia cards and a few toss-type games for when everyone is feeling rowdy — bean bags, Frisbee and ring toss are classics that go down well with a bowl of chili and a cold one.