Jaguars fans must stop tailgating within 30 minutes of kickoff

Season ticket holder speaking out against football tradition being cut short

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A football tradition is being cut short in Jacksonville. 

Jaguars fans will have to stop tailgating within 30 minutes of kickoff. 

A season ticket holder is speaking out about it.

"I am fighting this. I don't like it because it's not fair," season ticket holder Michael Laurie said. "You can't force someone who has paid for your parking pass and paid for your season tickets and you are going to force us to watch a game."

Tailgating and football games are two traditions that go hand in hand. That's why Laurie, who has been a loyal Jaguars fan for years, said he's disappointed with the new policy, which took effect this football season.

Laurie said he was at Lot H outside TIAA Bank Field with friends for the first home game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs when they were told it was time to pack up and watch the game or go home.

"The manager for the parking lot he came up to us and told us that we had to shut down the tailgating and I was, like, 'Why? Where is this coming from?'" Laurie recounted. "This tailgate, I think I had over 30 people out there this time and a lot of them, this was their first time out there." 

Laurie said he and other tailgaters found out it was a policy coming from the NFL that the Jaguars decided to follow. 

"They should waive that policy. They really should because there is not a reason for that policy for tailgating. Tailgating is a part of football. Tailgating is a part of the NFL," Laurie said. "So for you to sit here and say no you can't once the game starts, you either go in the stadium or go home, that's totally wrong."

The policy took effect this season and, so far, the Jaguars are sticking to the policy. All of the Jaguars controlled parking lots are subject to the new tailgating policy.

"All tailgate parties must breakdown and conclude within 30 minutes of kickoff as part of the NFL Security and Fan Code of Conduct Best Practices.," states the rule in the Jaguars 2019 Fan Guide.

The Jaguars are not the only team that have made the change. 

The Chiefs have adopted the tailgating cutoff policy, but the parking management for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals are not enforcing the policy. 

"Tailgating is one of the things I love about it, so for you to sit here and tell me you are trying to strong-arm me into the game, that's not something I want to be apart of," Laurie said.

Laurie, who said he has been tailgating for 15 years and there had never been any problems during that time, added that he now has mixed feelings about being a season ticket holder since the lifelong tradition of tailgating is being cut short. 

As of late Friday afternoon, News4Jax was still waiting to hear back from the NFL.

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