Yes, tailgating is a communal party and a blast for Eagles fans. There are eight (and up to nine now) away games each season, though. Even if you throw an awesome tailgate, you’ll still need to do it big when you’re at home for a Birds game. We love tailgating, but “homegating” can be just as exciting.
I’ve written before on how to have the ultimate food setup for an Eagles game. Grilling in the Jetro Lot is awesome, but you can get even more creative from the comfort of your own home.
Sometimes, the simplest move for a watch party at your place can be pizza and wings. You may think that’s played out, but they’re classics for a reason. My two favorite foods? Pizza and wings. What more do you need in life? Order a pie with sausage and onions plus two dozen wings and you’ll have a feast fit for a king. It’s the best spread for watching a football game from home. It may conjure up images of an over-the-top beer commercial from the early 2000s, but it’s perfect.
If you want a slight twist on a traditional pizza, opt for a tomato pie, a delicacy in the Philadelphia/South Jersey region. What makes a tomato pie an excellent option for watching football at home is that it’s at its best at room temperature. The sauce thickens up and it just hits. If you have one at your house or apartment at noon, it’s going to be just as good, if not BETTER, by 4:00 p.m. It takes away the hassle of reheating food when you’re just trying to enjoy the game. The dopamine will flow through when you anxiously crush a slice at halftime when the Birds are down a touchdown.
My personal favorite “GO BIG OR GO HOME” food option is a breakfast stromboli. Yes, you’ve heard of a regular stromboli, but the breakfast ‘boli might just be the ultimate early morning game day food. There’s a place on East Passyunk in South Philadelphia called Isabella Pizza where you can get a stromboli filled with your choice of meat, eggs, cheese and potatoes. Going with scrapple or pork roll, two local favorites, is highly recommended.
I don’t want to undersell getting a normal ‘boli (love the cheesesteak and pepperoni and cheese varieties). If you get a ‘boli, you’re going to have an awesome day of football.
If you have a big family or you’re having a large crew over, you’re going to want some pickings too. You can’t go wrong with your standard chips with hummus, guac or salsa, but I have a Philly-specific recommendation: there’s a place in the Reading Terminal called What a Crock. Among other heartier dishes, they have some dips that you can cook in a crock pot. They’re incredible. Back in 2019, their cheesesteak dip was a fixture in my apartment during Eagles road games.
I grew up in a household with an Italian mother in South Philly. I can’t even imagine how many meatball sandwiches I’ve eaten on Sundays during football season across the first 20-ish years of my life. I always stress carb loading if you’re drinking (more on that soon), so maybe a big plate of pasta does the trick for you. Now, I’m just craving my mom’s baked ziti. Look what I did to myself!
A hoagie tray from Fink’s Hoagies would certainly go over well at your Eagles party too.
As for booze... be responsible, but, hey, there’s nothing like football season. If you need to let loose, let LOOSE! Wake up in the morning, get a mimosa (or a BEERMOSA!) going, break out the Bloody Mary (or do a Bloody Maria with tequila) mix and pour a little Baileys in your coffee.
I’m mostly a light beer guy. If you’re pounding brews all day, I’m not exactly sure why you’d want to fill your stomach up with milk stouts, but if that’s your prerogative, I’m not stopping you. An ice cold Kenwood at kickoff works for me. If you’re really going to start whacking, I’ve been known in the past to take a shot after every Eagles touchdown and shotgun a beer at halftime. That’s not so much me anymore because I’m increasingly washed up, but that could be your vibe!
I also don’t hate a nice mixed drink...
If you’re hosting people, be reasonable and get a case of water too. Hydration is key and you want to be respectful to people who may be driving or skipping out on alcohol.
Beyond just food and drinks, you need to make sure your entertainment setup is in order. Maybe you have a lucky spot where you sit on your couch. Don’t let anyone else sit there! In the case that you’re having company, you better have enough seats for everyone to sit comfortably so that you don’t have four people jammed together on a three-person couch. That’s not being a good host!
It’s not doable for everyone, but I have a two-TV setup. I like having the Eagles on the main TV and then RedZone on the second one. You’re probably a gigantic fantasy football nerd, so it makes sense to keep tabs on what’s happening around the league while you’re simultaneously freaking out about an Eagles holding penalty wiping out a 27-yard gain.
I don’t have my living room set like this, but if you’re able to sync up the Eagles’ radio call with Merrill Reese and Mike Quick with the TV on mute, that’s one heck of a move.
The most important thing about homegating? The people you’re hanging out with.
The Eagles are a religion and you want to celebrate that with people you love hanging out with. We do all of these fun, wild things to make the experience of watching a game that much better, but it’s the friends and family screaming after a touchdown with that make all the preparation totally worth it.
Cheers. Go Birds.