Enjoying postgame after a Cardinals win (from left to right), David Garza, David Glasser, Israel Garza and Ryan Gordon.
Sundays at University of Phoenix Stadium would always play out about the same for the five friends, brought together through Twitter and their love of the Cardinals.
Tailgating on the Great Lawn began as soon as the gates opened. There would be food, drink and games of "Bags" – their term for cornhole. But David Glasser always would break out a cigar, and along with his dad, David Glasser Sr., they'd smoke and maybe have a glass of bourbon on the side.
"They were the coolest dudes there," David Garza said.
Garza, Israel Garza, Ryan Gordon, Jason Pool and Glasser were the five friends who talked daily about everything in life, and reveled in rooting for the Cardinals. When Glasser, a Phoenix police officer, passed away Thursday after being shot in the line of duty, it was those times rooting for the Cardinals they wanted to remember.
(Donations can be made to the Glasser family through the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association webpage http://azplea.com/plea-charities/plea-charities/, which can be reached by clicking here. Make sure to indicate the donation is for David Glasser.)
Whether it was a Cardinals game or get-togethers at games for the Diamondbacks or Arizona State football or basketball, "we would make great memories," Garza said.
It was luck that brought the group together. Pool and Glasser were lifelong friends, but they never knew the brothers Garza and Gordon until October of 2012, when they all headed to St. Louis for the Cardinals-Rams game. Through Twitter, they found one another.
Since then, the quartet would always make sure they'd travel to one road game a year – they attended the Cards' win in Chicago in 2015 – and Glasser would wear his Pat Tillman jersey, needling his friends that he'd be the only one who wouldn't catch grief from opposing fans because of it.
At home games, after tailgating for four hours, they'd head into the stadium to their respective seats – they didn't sit together – and scream until they were hoarse. Win or lose they'd head back to the Great Lawn afterward to have some leftovers, and then text each other the next day to analyze what happened in the game.
"He was a family man first," Gordon said. "He wanted to raise his kids and have his family be Cardinals fans."
The 35-year-old Glasser leaves behind a wife and two children. He had been a police officer for 12 years.
"It broke my heart," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said, his voice cracking. "I try not to get too emotional, but every day our police officers and firefighters and emergency medical people run out and don't know if they're coming home. They are really the true heroes in this city. It's not football players and football coaches. We play games.
"Our heart and prayers all go out to the Glasser family and wish them all the support in this time."
The last time the five football friends had been together was at the Cardinals' overtime playoff win against the Packers in January. Because they sit separately, they normally would have just met up outside at the tailgate spot. After Larry Fitzgerald's amazing pair of plays in overtime gave the Cardinals a dramatic win, Glasser and his friends decided they wanted to stay in the stadium and bask in the victory.
"We all connected and then left the stadium together," Gordon said.
It was the perfect way for the group to cap an unforgettable game day – one that turned out to be their final one together.