Hosted by Food Network’s Sunny Anderson & New England Patriots Hall-of-Famer Vince Wilfork, series kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 4, on Food Network and discovery+
In a first-time partnership, Food Network and the National Football League have teamed up to celebrate the best tailgate chefs from around the country in the six-episode primetime event, “NFL Tailgate Takedown,” premiering Wednesday, Jan. 4 (9 p.m. ET/PT), 2023, on Food Network and streaming on discovery+.
Hosted by Food Network’s Sunny Anderson and New England Patriots Hall-of-Famer Vince Wilfork, each one-hour episode’s action takes place on-location at an NFL stadium tailgate just before the big game. From New England lobster rolls and Philly cheesesteaks to Green Bay deep-fried cheese curds and Buffalo chicken, each city’s authentic tailgate dishes are front and center in this epic battle of hometown pride.
Each team competing on the gridiron is represented by a team of tailgating duos who compete in three themed cooking rounds. A rotating panel of judges, including Kelsey Barnard Clark, Eddie Jackson, Ali Khan and Ian Rapoport, decide who will emerge victorious to win the grand prize – and in real-time, the winners are ushered straight from the tailgate to their VIP seats on the 50-yard line and receive their own “Yum-Bardi Trophy.”
The series also features guest appearances from NFL legends Carl Banks, Johnathan Joseph, Brandon Stokely, Thurman Thomas, Andre Tippett and mascot KC Wolf.
"Food and football are a perfect pairing – and ‘NFL Tailgate Takedown’ is not about your dad's old-fashioned burgers and dogs. The dishes these competitors create take tailgate food to the next level and will surprise our viewers by just how delicious and creative gameday bites can be," said Jane Latman, president, home and food content and streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery. "Partnering with the NFL is a perfect fit, and we can't wait to deliver the ultimate tailgate competition to diehard fans."
Locations featured are Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Green Bay Packers vs. Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium, and Philadelphia Eagles vs. Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.
“On game day, the biggest and greatest rivalries in the NFL begin in the parking lot with incredible food made by passionate fans,” said Jessica Boddy, vice president, commercial operations and business affairs, NFL Films. “We are excited to collaborate with a great partner in Food Network to showcase and celebrate the wonderful traditions our fans enjoy each week on game day.”
In each episode, Sunny and Vince welcome two teams of talented tailgating duos outside the stadium on game day – one representing their home turf and the other fans of the visiting team. In the first round – known as “The First Down” – each team must create a platter of their best bite-sized snacks with a dip that represents their city’s flavors. The winner of round one, as determined by a rotating panel of judges, gets an advantage and selects an ingredient significant to their hometown that both teams must use in round two.
In round two’s “Between the Uprights” battle, the duos must make their best handheld tailgate treat between the buns – and the losing team is penalized as one player must complete a tailgate game before entering the final round. In the “Hail Mary” third round, each team must create a tailgate platter of a meat and two sides that would make their hometown proud.
Finally, the grand-prize winner is named and presented a “Yum-bardi Trophy” by a guest NFL legend and then, in a once-in-a-lifetime moment, the winning duo is ushered right into the stadium to their VIP seats on the 50-yard line.
Fans can see exclusive extras and extended footage with Sunny and Vince on FoodNetwork.com/TailgateTakedown. Follow along with the competition on social media and share your favorite gameday dishes using #TailgateTakedown.