Inside Food Network's NFL Tailgate Takedown With Host Vince Wilfork

The link between football and cooking shows might be a new one, but the pairing of food with tailgating is a sporting tradition. Before many pro football games, fans gather in a parking lot or a nearby field and serve up food and drinks from tents and, as the name suggests, tailgates. These types of parties rely heavily on food that's quick to prepare and leaves guests full. Thankfully, Americans are predictable, usually opting for the tried-and-true. Per PR Newswire, a Hormel Foods survey of 5,000 people found that hamburgers and hotdogs are the preferred tailgating food of 66% and 56% of participants, respectively.

Sounds like a good time, right? It likely will be, as long as you follow proper tailgating safety measures. According to University of Minnesota Extension, food should be stored at temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, lest they risk bacteria growth and a foodborne illness outbreak. If you're keeping hot foods on hand, they should remain over 140 degrees Fahrenheit. These measures can be implemented by insulated coolers and containers of boiling water.

For football fans, tailgating is as traditional as the game itself. Now, the fun will be underway in a Food Network competition straight from an NFL stadium parking lot.

Two teams compete for tickets

Food Network's new series "Tailgate Takedown" highlights the culinary aspect of tailgating, following two teams through three rounds of competition. Filmed hours before an actual NFL game, the contest takes place in a stadium parking lot, where each team fights to win tickets to that day's game and the coveted "Yum-bardi" trophy.

Host and former NFL player Vince Wilfork spoke about the show to the host of Food Network's "Obsessed" podcast (via Spotify). He described the show's format, explaining that "[the first round features] a main dish, the second round is like an appetizer, then they finish up with the big shebang." Likening the build-up to a Hail Mary pass, he shared that each round is 10 minutes longer than the last, with the first round lasting 20 minutes. Wilfork said he was impressed by the speed of the teams, which they claimed was authentic regardless of filming. "What I loved about it is in that short amount of time ... what they created sometimes takes an hour for guys to do," he said (per Spotify). He added that anywhere from 200 to 400 people show up to these tailgates.

According to Wilfork, the food being presented is as delicious as it looks. Needless to say, we're ready to watch and take some notes for our next game day cookout!