Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man Finds His Neighborhood in Stadium Lot

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man Finds His Neighborhood in Stadium Lot

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

When I talked to the Commissioner, he was in the middle of Arizona, heading east on Interstate 10 toward Jacksonville.

That was after he spent last Sunday and Monday hanging out in the parking lots outside San Francisco's 3Com Park and Oakland's Network Associates Coliseum.

That's been pretty much how Joe Cahn has spent every weekend from August through January for the last seven years, hanging out in parking lots. The rest of the week he spends in his RV, driving to another football stadium.

Cahn, who used to run a cooking school in New Orleans, calls himself the Commissioner of Tailgating. Since the fall of 1996, he has crisscrossed the country, driving from one football game to the next, about 45 each year.

By his perhaps exaggerated estimate, he has consumed more than 60 million calories. Cahn loves to eat. And he loves to hang out with football fans who are eating.

He's supposed to be writing a book about tailgating and even secured a grant from Coca-Cola this year "to study the partying habits of the American public in the parking lot."

But Cahn keeps ignoring his deadlines -- the book was originally scheduled to come out last year. He's having too much fun doing research.

Cahn has been visiting Jacksonville every year since 1996 and thinks of the city as a mecca of fried seafood. He comes here annually either for a Jaguars game or for the event he calls "the cocktail party," which of course is the annual Florida-Georgia game. "It's that rare event which lives up to its reputation," he said.

This weekend he planned to break with his normal routine by parking his RV Friday night and flying to New Jersey for yesterday's Army-Navy game. When he attends Army-Navy, Cahn said, he doesn't hang out with the tailgaters, preferring the spectacle inside the stadium. …

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