This is an updated version of a story originally posted at View From the Couch in 2010.
This Independence Day, when the Colorado Rapids face off against the New England Revolution, is also the 15th Annual/Biannual Jameson’s Night at the Supporters’ Tailgate. It’s a rare event that occurs only when the Revs come to town, (though sometimes multiple times a year if the Revs visited more than once). I took some time this week to figure out the beginnings of this tradition.
In 2002, the Rapids got off to a slow start—the team was slightly above .500 (4-1-3) and had only scored nine goals in those eight games. A couple of the supporters decided they needed to change things up and that the next game would be Jameson’s night at the tailgate. It’s unclear if the choice of Jameson’s was intentional to tie into New England being in town and Boston’s Irish background or if it was just a coincidence. Those 2-3 supporters brought Jameson Irish Whiskey to the tailgate and a few other die-hards joined in. Unsurprisingly, by the end of the tailgate, some people were pretty hammered as they headed into Invesco (this was also the Rapids’ inaugural year at Invesco by the way).
The Rapids didn’t just win that night, they destroyed the Revs 5-2. This was a team averaging 1.125 goals per game leading into this one and hadn’t scored more than two in any game. It was an offensive output the fans hadn’t seen since the team scored five against Chicago at Mile High Stadium in 1998.
Of course, those that partook most heavily in the Jameson didn’t really remember the game. ;) Not only that, but the next game the Rapids scored three at home against LA and suddenly the Rapids offense was on fire. New England came back three weeks later, which was too soon to organize another Jameson’s Night. And the Rapids lost 2-1.
In 2003, the Rapids started even slower than 2002. By the time of the New England home game, Colorado was 1-2-6 with four goals in those nine games. Obviously, it was time to bring out the Irish whiskey again. Sure enough, the fans got sauced and the Rapids won 4-1. The Rapids hadn’t scored four goals since the prior Jameson’s Night.
As Jason Greene, one of the 2-3 supporters that originally came up with the idea (and one that doesn’t really remember that first game), puts it, “I’m not normally a superstitious person, but after going 2-0 with nine for and three against over our first two Jameson’s Nights, it was clear to us that keeping up tradition would be worth every blown chunk.” After the successes of the first two Jameson’s Nights, the tradition was on.
Since that first Jameson’s Night, the Rapids are 9-4-2 against New England at home, outscoring the visitors 29-14 with six shutouts. The only losses were the second game in 2002 when there was no Jameson’s Night and in 2015.
The Rapids have rarely lost when Jameson’s Night was held, so let’s hope that trend continues on Thursday night!