Listen up, Mountaineer Nation. I have a challenge for you.
Help me show 2 brothers from Brazil that WVU tailgating not only ranks among the cream of the crop in college football but the NFL as well.
Since I started this blog in 2014, a number of people have reached out to me for advice about where to tailgate, what to bring, and which watering holes and eateries they should visit while in Morgantown.
Many of them are fans from opposing teams who are making their first trip to Motown, but others don’t have ties to either team and are just coming for the first-rate experience they’ve read about.
Luiz Fernando Coelho, an engineer from Rio de Janeiro, is among the latter.
He contacted me a couple weeks ago after buying tickets for the Nov. 10 TCU vs. WVU game. I erroneously assumed he was a TCU fan and replied with how much Dave and I enjoyed the game day experience in Ft. Worth a few years ago.
Once I learned he’s from Brazil, I started digging deeper into his trip to Morgantown for a WVU game.
Luiz has been making an annual trek to the U.S. for NFL games for the past several years, and this year he and his brother, Bernardo, also wanted to experience their first “top quality conference” college game.
They picked TCU vs. WVU because it coincides with the Panthers vs. Steelers game, which they’re also attending.
How his love of American football started
As any good-blooded American will tell you, football is ingrained in our national culture, and we plan a good part of our lives around it. It’s an American pastime that brings us together.
It doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you make, when you meet a fellow fan of your favorite team, you feel an instant connection.
Luiz first got turned on to pro football during the 2012 NFL playoffs while on a family trip to Canada. They went to a sports bar for drinks and the games were playing on TV.
“My brother (who’s been a football fan since 2001) was with me and began to teach me the basic rules,” Luiz wrote. “I enjoyed it so much that I started to read more articles and books about football.”
The football bug that infects so many Americans bit Luiz and he watched as many NFL games as he could in 2013.
His favorite team became the Green Bay Packers and he really wanted to experience the game atmosphere at Lambeau Field. So the Monday before the Cowboys faced off against the Packers at Lambeau Field, Luiz bought a ticket and booked a flight.
He left Rio de Janeiro the Friday night before the game. That 2014 Divisional Round game has become Luiz’s most memorable trip to date.
Not only was it his first NFL game, he watched his Packers rally from an 11-point deficit to beat the Cowboys at Lambeau Field on a freezing cold Sunday in January with more than 80,000 other fans.
The next year he wanted to go back to Lambeau Field during a special occasion.
“I chose to go to the Thanksgiving game, which also included Brett Favre’s number retirement ceremony,” Luiz wrote. “To make it even better, Favre was also there. The fireworks are still fresh in my memory.”
By the third year, Bernardo decided to join Luiz on these annual trips. And boy, did they pick a winner.
They went to the NFL Experience in San Francisco, the host city for the Panthers vs. Broncos Super Bowl game.
The next year they chose the Seahawks vs. Saints game during the Halloween parties in New Orleans.
“It was absolutely incredible,” Luiz wrote. “We also could experience a dome game. Later that week we went to Green Bay for a Salute to Service game. After that we went to a Patriots game at Foxborough for Sunday Night Football, and finished the day after at a Giants game at Metlife for a Monday Night Football game.”
Luiz is as big of a fan of the game as anyone I’ve met. He gets just how addictive the game day experience is.
When I asked him how the American football experience compares to soccer, he replied there’s no comparison. Soccer is a sporting event while U.S. football is an experience.
“The football atmosphere in the U.S. is more comparable to the World Cup atmosphere when people party together before and after the games,” he wrote. “In regular soccer seasons, the fans don’t get along. Each one drinks at his own place. The stadium has separate places to avoid mixing the fans.”
Here are Luiz’s top 4 things he enjoys the most about American football:
- Sitting at a bar and talking about football with locals
- The fact that fans always welcome other teams’ fans
- The game experience itself
Yep, that about sums it up. Now mark your calendar for the TCU vs. WVU game Nov. 10 when we prove to Luiz and Bernardo just how magical Morgantown is on game day.