Top 20 NFL Tailgate Party Essentials – updated for 2016-17

1. NFL Football Ladder Toss Game with Houston Texans Logos.

NFL Ladder Toss Game

Tailgate Party Essentials: NFL Ladder Toss Game

What you need for your tailgate party is a range of games. And if they match the (licensed) logo of your team, wow, that will be even cooler.

Of course, they need to be compact, easily transported, built and taken down, nice packing, fun to play whether adult or child, sober or buzzed, no sharp edges and entertaining enough to add to the fun of your party.

This is one of the games the ‘Survivor’ tribes sometimes play. Most commonly though, it’s played in the car park or patio at tailgate parties – which is more fun because there’s no beer on Redemption Island. There is no age limit. Kids enjoy it as much as the adults do. Toss the rubber football shaped bolos onto the ladder rungs and score points. Each ladder rung earns different score. It’s simple but so darn addictive and the winner gets a beer or three.

With this easy-to -assemble and take-apart, lightweight kit (24 lbs) you get 6 football bolos (2 teams of 3 throws each), game rules, 2 x 50″H x 25″ W metal goal posts that you set on a Football Field base. All parts fit into a nylon carry bag for easy packing.

Note that some buyers have found a challenge in putting it together. Try using a little WD-40 on the metal rods and you will be fine. The good thing is that it is strong and will last. Also, the assembly and game rules are not super clear in the instructions but if you want to learn
how to play ladder toss, check out our guide on How To Play Ladder Toss.

Be sure to specify your team’s logo when you place the order.

Keep score with your NFL Team themed pens!

2. NFL Team Themed Retractable Click Pens- 5 Pack


The whole idea is to keep these NFL pens in your tailgate party box for keeping score on the games but I guarantee that the diehard fan will have them stashed all over the house, office, gift bags and even sneaked into the kids’ backpacks to start them off the right way as a fan. So you’d better buy two packs. And you can annoy supporters of rival teams by handing them out while you gloat.  They are retractable pens, five to a pack.

3. NFL Tailgate Toss Game – Dallas Cowboys or your own team

NFL Bean Bag Toss - Essential Tailgate Party Gear

NFL Bean Bag Toss – Essential Tailgate Party Gear

Exclusively Licensed NFL merchandise, the Toss Game has two game boards branded with your NFL team colors and logo and eight bean bags(four for each team) sized to match. Instructions for the game are included but if you want the full lowdown on the game of Corn Hole (as well as some of the best Corn Hole boards for tailgating) check out our guide to Cornhole For The Tailgate Party.

There are 2 game boards (Football Field Base) , 2 sets of 4 bean bags and 2 x 50″Hx25″W metal goal posts in the kit which is niftyly packed up into a carry bag. When you first unpack it, just take note of how it was packed so that you can keep it all together. It weighs 24 lbs so is quite sturdy and won’t bend under the pressure of the bean bags being thrown at it.

It has carry handles and the boards flip out for use and back again underneath the boards when you pack it away after your tailgate party. I usually have a practice at re-packing because who knows how I will feel at the end of the day? You want to do it well so that your gear doesn’t get damaged.  All teams are represented in this range.

4. NFL Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo 14-Inch Plush Doll

NFL Plush Doll range

NFL Plush Doll range

Now, IMHO , this doesn’t look much like Antonio Ramiro Tony Romo, famous Cowboy’s quarterback. For starters it’s only 14″ high and Tony is 6’2″. But if you can’t get Tony to come to your tailgate party, then you could buy one of these and take it instead. Kids love these and so do adults who kind of treat the doll like some religious statue. However you like to show your team love, that’s fine with me. Anyway, it’s equally popular with boys and girls, men and women, is made in China from plush and polyester filling and is one of the Bleacher Creatures. Why not buy the whole team and stage a re-enactment of the game after your tailgate party?

Recommended ages 3 and up.

5. NFL Licensed Hot Dog Brander

NFL Hot Dog brander - Essential Tailgate Gear

NFL Hot Dog brander – Essential Tailgate Gear

So you have hotdogs on your tailgate party menu! But do you have NFL hotdogs? You can. Just buy one of these brands and sear the sausages with the Cowboys logo while the brats are cooking on your flat-top BBQ. Here is how you do it:


(Preheated) Gas BBQ: heat the brand well on a burner.

(Preheated) Charcoal or solid fuel BBQs: Bury the brand in the coals once they have reached cooking temperature.

On first use, it takes some time to get the letters red hot and ready to make a clear sear but gradually the brand will be seasoned.

Allow 10-15 minutes for the letters to heat first use but after, 5 to 7 minutes pre-heating is fine.

Take great care and don’t pick it up without tongs. An oven mitt is a help to protect the chef from radiant heat.

When it is red hot, brush with some oil to stop any sticking, put the brat on the flat top and stamp/brand it by dropping it on the top and pressing it down.

Note, you may need more than one to cook enough hot dogs for your tailgate party guests but wow, this really makes an impression. (Pardon the pun).


6. NFL Dallas Cowboys Meat Brander

NFL Meat Brand - essential gear for Tailgate parties

NFL Meat Brand – essential gear for Tailgate parties

Working on the same principle is this meat, veggie and bread branding plate and it proudly features the Dallas Cowboys team logo. I think these are a real hit at tailgate parties and work well with the brats branders above. You will get faster at using them but again, practice with a few steaks before launching at your tailgate event.

Spray with some Pam or other non-stick spray.

Heat till red hot and place your food on the Fan Brand. Logo will be cooked on in minutes.

Remove, cook the meat to required doneness and reheat the plate on the BBQ thoroughly before moving on to next piece of meat. ie. Don’t put a lukewarm one onto raw meat. Always avoid mixing raw and cooked foods.

Made from high conductivity metal alloy and it will be very hot so use tongs and mitts to avoid burning.

7. NFL Dallas Cowboys Chef Hat and Apron Set

NFL Apron, hat, mitts and utensils

NFL Apron, hat, mitts and utensils

You’re going to cook at the Dallas Cowboys tailgate party so you may as well look the part. There’s so much great Dallas Cowboys gear out there that you can put on your game colors, celebrate your team while you man the BBQ. And we have hunted for the best prices. This Chef Hat and apron not only look great but will keep the spatters off your clothing and are easily machine washed and dried.  The pack has everything a Tailgate Party Chef would need.

I think these make great gifts and also a nice souvenir for your international friends and guests as they are lightweight and easy to ship.  They are available for all teams so follow the links.

8. Green Bay Packers NFL Face Paint Kit

NFL Green Bay Packers Face Paint

NFL Green Bay Packers Face Paint

Theming a tailgate party successfully can be as easy as painting everyone’s faces with the team colors. Tailgate party essentials include this kit from Rico which is licensed and therefore, the colors are authentic as well as the team name and logo stencils. Contents are 3 colors plus a sponge and genuine logo stencils and 15 of your guests can be painted with just one kit. It’s great value as the professionals can charge more for one face than this can cover. Just have a practice before the big day and get a few skilled painting moves.

9. Game Time Veteran series – NFL licensed Wristwatch

NFL themed watch - essential tailgate party gear

NFL themed watch – essential tailgate party gear

You will need to keep tabs on the food, the games, the match of the day and sometimes the smartphone isn’t enough. It’s not hands-free! But this watch is, and will keep you on track with cooking times and other vital times at your tailgate party. Smart enough to wear to work, water resistant to 99 feet (30 meters) so heck, dropping it in a red cup of beer won’t damage it at all. A smart-looking watch with a Japanese-Quartz analog movement and tough fabric band with a Velcro fastener for easy on and off. And it’s not expensive!  Comes in all team logos and colors.

10. NFL Dallas Cowboys Riddell NFL Ultimate Hand – Essentail Tailgate Party Gear

NFL team themed pointing finger

NFL team themed pointing finger

Show everyone who’s Number One with Ultimate Hands for the Cowboys. (or whatever team you support!)

These are amazing and a definite improvement on the foam finger at any tailgate party. 20″ in size and joined to a coordinated team ‘jersey cuff’ that fits over your hand and forearm. Think the Dallas Cowboys are Number One? Then wear one of these to your tailgate party. Weighs around a pound so it stands to reason that you bring one to your tailgate party.


11. NFL Themed Sunglasses – Denver Broncos pictured

Denver Broncos NFL themed Sunglasses

Denver Broncos NFL themed Sunglasses

Officially licensed NFL merchandise, these sunglasses are a cool accessory to wear for tailgate parties and any other day, for that matter! They are so cheap that you could make them host gifts for parties you attend. Diehard fans will love them, logos and colors on display. 100 UVA/UVB protection, great for sunny days or the day after the tailgate party. Super cheap at the moment here. They feature the logo on one arm and the team name on the other and team-color rubber accents are set into the arms.  All NFL teams are represented so follow the links from this one.

12. Dallas Cowboys custom made Mat “The Ulti-Mat

NFL Themed Tailgate Party Mat

NFL Themed Tailgate Party Mat

At any tailgate party, the challenge is to mark your territory, especially in small spaces. This Dallas Cowboys logo-emblazoned mat is perfect out in the field or at home. Show your team pride and add style to your tailgating party with Fanmats area rugs, proudly made in U.S.A. 100% nylon carpet and non-skid recycled vinyl backing so you can slap it on the blacktop in the car park without damage. Officially licensed and chromojet printed in true team colors.

NOTE: These products are custom made and take around 7 – 10 working days to make and print and any team can be accommodated.  They are official.

Great for the man-cave as well, of course! The comfy nylon pile and vinyl backing are like a deluxe picnic rug too.

SIZE: 60 x 96 x 0.5 inches.

NOTE: It weighs around 15 pounds and is a quality item.

13. Amazing Raiders NFL themed BBQ Cover for Tailgate Party – Essential Tailgate Party Gear.

NFL themed BBQ cover

NFL themed BBQ cover

When you set up your BBQ for the patio tailgate party, make a statement with this awesome grill cover. It’s like a big version of NFL jerseys printed over weather-resistant vinyl so it will protect your favorite appliance and last for tailgate parties and beyond. Some people I know do transport their full sized BBQs to the car park and these nicely made covers are like a banner declaring the love felt for the Raiders or whoever you support (all versions are available).

Measurements = 60″ x 41″ x 19″

It’s heavy duty so will last for many seasons.

14. Dallas Cowboys 4-Piece BBQ Grilling Utensil Set

Dallas Cowboys NFL Themed Utensil set

Dallas Cowboys NFL Themed Utensil set

The finest accessory to go with your grill at the tailgate party is a set of cooking tools especially one branded ‘Dallas Cowboys’ with logos and colors of the team. This one is official licensed.

Contains a basting brush, fork, tongs and spatula (and that has the Dallas Cowboys logo etched into it – pretty cool!) with the colors on the long handles. It’s all the stuff you need to grill a great rack of smoky ribs.

Keep one in your tailgate party kit and get one for home. It makes a great gift for all Cowboys fans and is essential tailgate party gear.

15. New York Jets NFL Coleman Folding Chair With Carrying Case

NFL Themed folding chair

NFL Themed folding chair

It’s your standard Coleman camp chair with your team logo on the seat – SWEET! These are official licensed chairs so the quality and comfort are superb and you do need reliable chairs at the tailgate party. Especially if you’re beer is pumping from a keg and nobody’s counting. Sure, they aren’t as comfortable as a reclining camp chair but you’ll appreciate it when you’re at a game with no bleachers. Come to think of it, you’ll probably be so drunk comfort won’t be an issue. The important thing is that they have your team logo. Period.

Remember to select your own team when you make your choice.

16. New England Patriots XL Cooler Quad Folding Chair

New England Patriots NFL Themed Chair XL

New England Patriots NFL Themed Chair XL

So if you’re a big fan of the Patriots, and I mean a BIG FAN then you’d better pay a little more and get this bigger version for your tailgate party guests.

Everyone needs a Coleman chair – especially an oversized version. You’ll be the coolest and coziest guy at the tailgate on this padded seat which includes a cooler that holds up to 4 cans and an ice pack. It’s the perfect chair for hours of sitting. Definitely one of the more comfortable outdoor chairs and super sturdy capable of supporting 300 lbs. Also has a mesh cup holder and 13″x9″ program holder.

17. Dallas Cowboys 10 X 10 Straight Leg Canopy Tent Shelter

NFL themed canopy - Essential Tailgate Party Gear

NFL themed canopy – Essential Tailgate Party Gear

I prefer the straight leg canopies to the slant leg as the latter pokes over into your neighbors’ spaces and can lead to an exchange of bad language especially as the tailgating festivities ramp up. So this tent shelter is pretty awesome for setting up a self-contained tailgate party ‘kitchen’. Be sure to keep it away from the grill as the Silver coated 150D poly Oxford canopy with UPF 50+ protection will burn. It’s always safer to grill in the open air anyway.

Comes with a neat carry bag with wheels and can be erected and dismantled by one person. Again, practice this in your back yard.

TIP: To secure it on blacktop, you can’t use tent pegs because hammering them into the ground is a no-no, but just thread some rope/bungee through the hole and tie it to a sandbag at each corner.

It may seem expensive but you will be pleased after a few seasons of tailgating when this model survives and your neighbors have replaced theirs many times. It’s good quality.  Also available in all teams so follow the links.

18. Coleman Dallas Cowboys 10X10 Tailgating Shelter Wall

NFL Themed Canopy Wall - essential tailgate party gear

NFL Themed Canopy Wall – essential tailgate party gear

We all need some privacy as we empty that keg and feel the effects of a fun tailgate party.

Here’s how you can protect yourself from a few embarrassing moments. Put up a one-wall screen on your canopy and still be a part of the fun with a little protection. This can be a huge shout out to your team with the Dallas Cowboys colors and logo while sheltering you from the elements. It’s from Coleman the tailgate and camping experts, with all kinds of stuff you need for outdoor living and partying.

NOTE: If you own a slanted leg canopy, you will need a different shelter wall.

If this is for camping, buy more than one.

For attaching it you can simply use clamps or bungee cord threading it through the eyelets.

19.NFL Themed Auto Folding Umbrella – San Francisco 49ers.

NFL Themed Umbrella

NFL Themed Umbrella

This is a personal umbrella, auto folding feature and will be handy for the tailgate party downpour or need for shade. You can strut your stuff in team colors with the NFL Team logo printed on it and store it in a bag when it’s not needed as it folds to a compact size. There’s a sturdy handle, rubber coated for waterproofing and it’s nicely made. Excellent gift for NFL fans.

Approx. 42″ across.

20. NFL Dallas Cowboys 62-Inch Double Canopy Umbrella

NFL themed double canopy umbrella

NFL themed double canopy umbrella

For tailgate parties, for golf or just for emergencies, this is the grand-daddy of all umbrellas and has a double canopy for waterproofing and a push button feature to open it. 100% nylon, nicely printed with the Dallas Cowboys’ logo and in their colors and even the base has the star on the end. The nylon sheath (for storage) has the team name printed on it. You can get any team so follow the links.

This is the real deal – super high quality.

The handle is also sturdy and made of a rubber alloy material and the wide canopy will give you some real protection from the elements. This is 62″ across and gives a lot of shade.

TIP: Check with your stadium as some do not allow umbrellas to be taken in.


THE BONUS ROUND – More Dallas Cowboys Accessories For Your Tailgate Party!

Dallas Cowboys NFL Stadium Seat

NFL Themed Stadium Seat

NFL Themed Stadium Seat

This is the standard stadium seat cushion and really, there’s no alternative to its nice design, with the Cowboys’ logo and colors adding a lot to its
quality. It’s made by Coleman, those kings of camping and tailgate party gear.

Made of 600D polyester, it rolls up for easy carrying and stashing, is comfortable enough to protect your sensitive areas from those tough old bleachers and gives your back a little support. It’s handy for tailgating as it takes up so little space and provides plenty of seating in the back of a truck or on your tailgate. Kids can sit in these for hours. Buy one for everybody in the family.

Don’t forget to specify ‘Dallas Cowboys’ in your order or choose another team by following the links.


Happy tailgating!