Super Bowl Bound? Leave Your Hibachi at Home

ByABC News
January 29, 2007, 11:39 AM

Jan. 29, 2007 — -- Two classic NFL franchises battling it out in the Super Bowl.

One classic pastime missing from the parking lot.

The NFL has banned all tailgating within a one-mile radius of Miami's Dolphin Stadium prior to Sunday's showdown, a precautionary policy that has some enthusiasts crying foul.

No sizzling barbecues. No stocked coolers. No grown-ups dressed head to toe in Chicago Bears or Indianapolis Colts gear taunting one another.

"The 'No Fun League' has forgotten what football is all about," said Mike Baum, a Bears superfan and tailgater extraordinaire. "They've forgotten that tailgating is a lifestyle. These are the die-hards that make football go."

Baum, the owner of a property management company in Aurora, Ill., takes his tailgating seriously, from the famous prime rib recipe he grills to the school bus he bought and transformed into a "Bears" bus -- often the first vehicle inside the gates of Soldier Field at Bears home games.

When the Bears beat the New Orleans Saints to earn the trip to Miami, Baum's first instinct, naturally, was that it was time to put about 3,000 more clicks on his odometer.

The tailgate dream, Baum learned last week, would have to take a detour.

"We're very disappointed," said Jeff "Doc" Dockeray, vice president of member services for the American Tailgater Association. "Here, you have the Holy Grail of football and you're taking a major element out of the game-day experience."

Dockeray first heard about a rumored tailgate ban early last week when calls from concerned Bears and Colts fans began to stream into the organization's San Antonio headquarters.

A team spokesman for the Miami Dolphins then further fueled confusion by mistakenly debunking the rumor and promising a full-tilt parking lot party scene.

Finally, the NFL stepped in to confirm the no tailgating policy.

With so many fans packed into such a small area and the ever-present backdrop of a terrorist threat, the NFL, with the help of local and state police, will man a strict security perimeter around the South Florida stadium.