NFL, Food Network Team for Tailgate Cooking Competition Show

Food Network is teaming up with the NFL for a new primetime competition series that celebrates the art of tailgating.

In the six-episode “NFL Tailgate Takedown,” hosts Sunny Anderson and New England Patriots Hall-of-Famer Vince Wilfork will president over tailgate chefs going head-to-head in one-hour episodes shot on location at an NFL stadium tailgate just before the big game, with each tailgating duo representing one of the two NFL teams competing that day. The chefs will endure three themed cooking rounds that feature “each city’s authentic tailgate dishes” — like New England lobster rolls and Philly cheesesteaks — for an “epic battle of hometown pride.”

The show’s rotating panel of judges, which includes Kelsey Barnard Clark, Eddie Jackson, Ali Khan and Ian Rapoport, will decide who wins the grand prize each week: VIP seats on the 50-yard line at the game they are ahead of, and their own “Yum-Bardi Trophy.”

Per the show’s description: “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 a significant ingredient 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.”

“NFL Tailgate Takedown” episodes will feature cooking competitors duking it out at these NFL games: 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.

NFL celebs featured on the show include Carl Banks, Johnathan Joseph, Brandon Stokely, Thurman Thomas, Andre Tippett and mascot KC Wolf.

“NFL Tailgate Takedown” premieres Wednesday, Jan 4., at 9 pm ET on Food Network and will stream on Discovery+.

“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 game day bites can be,” Jane Latman, Warner Bros. Discovery’s president of home & food content and streaming, said. “Partnering with the NFL is a perfect fit and we can’t wait to deliver the ultimate tailgate competition to diehard fans.”

“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 of commercial operations and business affairs at 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.”

“NFL Tailgate Takedown” is produced by NFL Films and Simple Alien for Food Network and Discovery+.