In Middle America, one thing brings everyone together. Male and female, young and old, blue collar worker and big time executive, parents and children, bulldog and wildcat all gather in front of the TV to… well… watch the big game! Of course!


Pizza rolls and popcorn may be optional, but cold beer for the boys is a must. (Add maybe a couple of light beers for the ladies, too.) College games all day Saturday, Titans games on Sunday after church and Monday night football are all made for blowing off steam and lazing in the den.


Having too much to drink doesn’t seem like such a big deal when it’s game day at the house. Is it a different story when we get to watch the action from the stands?


A recent study found out the story isn’t different enough. The University of Minnesota School of Public Health determined that 8% (or more) of us head home after the game legally intoxicated. According to their research, 1 in 12 of us leave the stadium and head towards the parking lot in a rush to beat traffic with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher.


The researchers checked the BAC of 382 adults after baseball games and football games. Those adults were volunteers, so it’s a valid assumption that the number of intoxicated people filing out of the stands was actually higher than 8%. Surely many who were invited to participate turned down the free breathalyzer test and survey because they knew they were drunk and/or they wanted to hurry on and avoid the impending post-game traffic jam. How many of them were about to drive themselves home from the game? It’s a wonder stadium parking lots don’t end up surrounded by car accidents!


A full write-up on the study, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, invites a lot more questions. Since so many adults can’t be trusted to stay sober through the end of the game, will we soon see stadium checkpoints? Perhaps stricter limits on alcohol sales during the game, including moving last call forward to halftime?