Who’s gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday, summoning family and friends to a football party at home? The Super Bowl, hallmark of the National Football League (NFL) year, draws sports fans and just about everyone else to gather for the play-by-play, crazy commercials, over-the-top halftime shows, and celebrity sightings.
What are the secrets to the best Super Bowl parties?
1. Suit up in style.
The best Super Bowl parties don’t take a ton of planning or elaborate decorations. A few sports page spreads, internet photos of key players, bright balloons, and twirled paper streamers in strategic team colors can set the stage. Why shoot the wad on a load of licensed paper goods and pinups for a gathering in which everyone’s eyes will be glued to the television screen??
2. Simple snacks trump frou-frou foods.
Finger foods are tops for Super Bowl parties, no matter whose favorite teams take to the field. Save the fancy appetizers, dainty sandwiches and labor-intensive dessert pastries for a spring bridal shower. Sure, folks love those elaborate football field delicatessen trays and NFL field sheet cakes. But such flair is not necessary for a successful Super Bowl party.
Think of the Super Bowl fiesta as a tailgate party at home. Just fill the crock pot with hot chili, spread out some nachos, arrange a bunch of fresh veggies and dip on a big platter, and put out a few bowls of chips. Load up a cooler with plenty of frosty beverages.
Boom! The party is on.
3. Ice, baby.
Ask any Super Bowl party host veteran about the worst possible mishap, and the answer will be the same. No one ever wants to run out of ice, even at this midwinter sports fan gathering. If it takes four bags of ice to fill up the cooler, a smart host will buy at least six. Never wait till the doorbell rings to begin collecting cubes from freezer trays or the icemaker, and don’t count on a guess to show up with ice.
Why sweat it? Get in the game, Super Bowl Party hosts, and pop for the big store-bought bags of ice.
4. Pay the cable bill.
A surprising number of Super Bowl parties bomb, simply because cable or satellite service doesn’t work. Unpaid bills, service outages, local blackouts, and other mishaps can sack the party quarterback in a flash.
The most basic rule for hosting a Super Bowl party is to make sure the game will actually be televised in the home. Check the channels, the start times, and other key details. Adjust the screen, fix reception problems, and correct any technical problems before Super Bowl Sunday arrives.
5. Size matters.
Even the most enthusiastic football crowd will boo, if the game appears on a screen too small to see. It’s best to pick the biggest screen in the house for the gathering, or make another plan for the party.
6. Break in the TV before kickoff.
Plenty of people buy brand-new large-screen television sets for the Super Bowl. Others rent for the occasion. The smart ones give this unfamiliar equipment a test run or two before the big game. What could be more embarrassing and frustrating than trying to master a brand-new remote control, just as the Super Bowl is beginning?
7. Take a seat … or 20.
The roar of the crowd can be extra fun in a crowded place, but it’s important for everyone to have a seat. Sure, folks may leap to their feet to cheer for their favorite Super Bowl team or to holler over a controversial official call. But they still need seats to land in.
That doesn’t mean a Super Bowl party host has to buy a big comfy sectional couch. Some folks even stow their regular furniture for game day, bringing in bunches of folding chairs. Why not? Rows of chairs can create a stadium atmosphere, even at home.
8. No obstructed views.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s all-too-often overlooked at Super Bowl parties. A savvy sports host will switch on the TV and try the view from every seat before the gathering.
9. Stash infants and other fragile items.
A Super Bowl party is supposed to become a bit rowdy. Napping babies, timid pets, and breakable objects may all be more comfortable spending those few hours somewhere else. What host wants to huddle over excited sports fans to hush them and prevent them from knocking over a fragile heirloom?
Just for the occasion, why not stretch a sheet of plastic over that fancy rug, or roll it up and stow it?
10. Close the bar early.
Like stadium concession stands, the liquid refreshment counter at the Super Bowl party ought to close by the fourth quarter. No host wants to send guests on their homeward journeys, if those folks are not fit to drive. The risk and legal liabilities are too costly.
With a few smart preparation, a Super Bowl party host can score big points with guests, keeping the ball rolling in a good direction and preventing plenty of possible fouls.