The NFL season’s grand and dramatic conclusion takes place Sunday night in Minnesota and, if last year is any indication (112 Million Viewers), there are going to be a lot of people at a lot of parties tuned into the action. So what are you going to do? You could go to Steve’s house again, but last year he only served half a bag of pizza rolls and you had to sit on a bar stool that was missing one leg (good for core strength though). Perhaps it’s time for you to step your game up and host a shindig of your own. Easy though Tiger, this is not a decision to be made lightly. After all, people were still talking about how horrible Steve’s party was well into the off-season. Don’t be like Steve. Concentrate on the Four Pillars of Football Partying discussed below and let your legend of leisure grow.
How can I put this delicately? No one is coming to your party if you have a shit TV. You know it. They know it. While some may appreciate that the 32 inch TV you’ve owned since college is your longest relationship, it’s not working in your favor for this event.
Outside of Black Friday, Super Bowl Week is probably the best time to purchase a television. For example, you can get a 50 inch 4K television for $350 right now at BestBuy. This year’s Super Bowl still won’t be broadcast in 4K, so you can go 1080p on your television for even cheaper. You have no excuses. This is America. Put it on a credit card you can’t afford and please your guests. At the end of the day, this party is about the game. You should be able to showcase the event in the best way possible.
Seating is a small and often overlooked element of a great Super Bowl Party. A great spread and phenomenal TV are meaningless if only 6 out of 20 people can sit and see the game. Don’t be afraid to mix up your layout. The event is so much better experienced communally. If you can move couches around to allow more seating space in the same room, do it. Kitchen/Dining room tables are typically filled with food and not used for sitting down and eating. Take those chairs into your big space for additional viewing. If you can swing multiple rooms with televisions, that’s good too, even if it breaks the party up into a few pockets. A TV outside for the smokers is not necessary, but ideal if you can make it happen. A little consideration of layout once you know how many are coming can go a long way in ensuring no one misses a minute of action (or a great commercial).
Super Bowl Sunday is an exercise in American gluttony that knows Thanksgiving as its only rival. The parties start early and the game goes late. This offers plenty of time for grazing, picking, and full-out stuffing your face. Having an appropriate array of delectable options is paramount.
This party is the chance for appetizers to step out of the shadow of entrees and really soak up the limelight. The Super Bowl never met a dip it didn’t like. Finger Foods flourish here. Buffalo Chicken Dip, Nachos, French Onion Dip, Potato Skins, Spinach Artichoke dip, Jalapeno Poppers — you get the picture. You need to have a bevy of these options available and have them distributed to key points of your party space. While the heavy entrees will have their day, people will be coming back to these items all night long.
If you can make appetizers themed for the game, that’s even better. For example, I will be preparing Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls in honor of the Eagles foray into the big game for those lucky enough to garner an invite to my prestigious event (Spoiler Alert: you weren’t).
While the appetizers are the star of the show here, the entrees still serve an extremely important purpose: Soaking up alcohol. Traditional favorites under the entrée umbrella are things like Sliders (Burgers/Meatballs/Pulled Pork), Wings or Tenders, Pizza, and the like. While your culinary talents may be proficient enough to produce an impeccable braised Rack of Lamb, that will not be appreciated in this setting. Keep it simple and make sure there is more than enough for everybody. There is nothing worse than spending the third quarter in the grocery store because you didn’t plan well.
Desserts are definitely the third tier item at the Super Bowl party but are still important. After a few cocktails, many of us develop a sweet tooth. Spread around a few platters of cookies and brownies for people to munch on in the second half. I’m making Tom Brady cookies so I can bite his head off.
Speaking of cocktails, the way you approach the next section is based on your current station in life. Drinks will definitely be consumed at this party. Whether or not you provide all of the alcohol depends on your budget. If things are going well and you can provide spirits for all, do it. If that’s not currently in the cards for you then there is no shame in deeming the festivities B.Y.O.B.
If you are not providing cocktails for your friends, be sure that you have a generous assortment of non-alcoholic options. Soda, Diet Soda, Water, Tea or Coffee should all be on hand and readily available for those who are obviously no fun or are designated drivers. You certainly want to have plenty of water available for end of game when the confetti rains down and you just want people to get out of your house.
No budget constraints for you, Big Baller? Then variety is key. Beer, Light Beer, Red and White Wine are a must. If your liquor cabinet isn’t fully stocked, purchase the basics. Whiskey, Rum, and Vodka should be all you need for hard liquor to keep everyone happy. If that one friend laments the lack of Tequila, please remind him it’s a Sunday night and there’s a damn good reason he hasn’t been able to keep a job since graduation.
In all seriousness, many of us can get a little carried away at these events. The best host is a responsible host who doesn’t let friends drive drunk.
Many facets go into being a great host and hosting a great party. At the end of the day, consideration of your guests is the most important item. Don’t forget to have fun yourself as well. Planning and hosting can be stressful and if you aren’t having a good time, why would your friends? Enjoy your hard work, sit back and relax. The rest will take care of itself. Now if you will excuse me, this football made out of crabmeat, cream cheese, and pretzel pieces isn’t going to consume itself.