Rams

Late Start, Late Tailgate: Embrace The Change

Nathan Grimm (@Nate_Grimm)
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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28:  A Rams tailgate party prior to the NFL International Series match between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium on October 28, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 28: A Rams tailgate party prior to the NFL International Series match between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium on October 28, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

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This past Tuesday, President Obama won re-election on the idea of moving “forward.” Four years ago, people embraced the idea of “change.”

St. Louis Rams fans will also have to embrace change this week. Over the course of the football season, Rams fans become accustomed to noon start times. This year, six of the eight home games start at noon CST, and in total 11 of the team’s 16 games – just shy of 75 percent – start or have started at noon.

This Sunday is one of those exceptions. The Rams travel west to the take on the San Francisco 49ers in a game that starts at 3:25 p.m. central. Not only does it affect the schedule of those playing the game, but a later start affects those watching the game as well.

There are benefits to such a change, though. Do they outweigh the negatives? That depends.

Pro: More time to recover from Saturday

The wake-up call to tailgate for a noon game can come awfully early after a Saturday night of not worrying about early wake-up calls. A 3:25 p.m. game allows for more time to recover from the previous night before getting back at it.

Con: Less time to recover from Sunday

And get back at it fans often do. Alcohol is a staple at the majority of tailgates, regardless of time. For 16 weeks a year, nobody questions drinking at 9 a.m. on a Sunday, but do it in May and suddenly you’re the weird one.

A 3:25 p.m. game means more time to drink before and during the game while allowing less time to stop drinking after the game. Late games – and late tailgates – can make for some rough Mondays.

Pro: More football

Tailgaters love football. It’s the reason they’re in a parking lot at 8:30 a.m. in December.

So when the Rams play the late game, football fans get to watch football while preparing to watch more football. One of the handful of noon games is often on when the Rams play later (today is a double-dip, with Giants-Bengals and Broncos-Panthers both on local television at noon) so tailgaters get more football. And more football is good.

Con: Less gets done

In theory, a Rams tailgater’s day this Sunday could look like this:

9:30 a.m.-noon – tailgate
noon-3 p.m. – Giants-Bengals
3:25 p.m.-6:25 p.m. – Rams-49ers
7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. – Texans-Bears

That leaves approximately one hour, from 6:25 to 7:30 p.m., for everything else to be done on a Sunday. Rake leaves? No time. Grocery shopping? Nope. When the Rams play the late game, Sunday suddenly becomes a lost day. A glorious, wonderfully lost day.

Next week, the Rams will return home to the comforts of the Edward Jones Dome and a noon start. So enjoy or lament this late start as it pertains to your tailgate habits. Just embrace the change.

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