Much like a barbecue, The Big Game is a sociological event that can either rule with excessive force, or totally suck. The difference between a killer party and one that winds up being the most forgettable day of your life is all in the details. Since I have almost no experience throwing Super Bowl parties, I figure I’m the most qualified person to teach you about the nuances of such a lofty endeavor. For example, did you even know that you can’t use the term “Super Bowl” to promote or advertise your party without paying the NFL a licensing fee? Well, now you do. I just saved you a ton of money in legal fees. That little bit of free advice can go a long way towards ensuring a positive Super Sunday part-ay. How else do you throw the best Final Professional Football Game Of The Year party? Allow me to elaborate:
The Top Ten Keys To A Successful Super Bowl Party
10. Treat It Like A Sinking Ship – That is to say, make sure all the women and children are rushed out of your house as quickly as possible. I don’t mean that in a sexist way — I have a lot of female friends who know a thing or two about sports, and most of the time I’m indifferent to their watching a ballgame in my presence. But this is the biggest game of (arguably) the most popular sport in America. And if your team happens to be represented in the Big Game, the last thing you want distracting you is a female. There are two schools of thought at play here. Either she’s really into football and she’s shown up to your house in an undersized jersey with her heaving chest drawing your attention away from the TV screen, or she’s really not into football, and she’s annoying everyone with questions about what’s happening during every play. Treat your abode like a No Girls Allowed tree fort and you should be on track for a memorable party.
09. The Fans Stay With The Fans – In 2008 when the Giants and Patriots met in Super Bowl XLII, our house split evenly Giants fans (back house!) and Patriots fans (front house!). During commercial breaks, during half-time, and at certain crucial moments during the game, we’d spill over from one room into the other. It worked because the numbers were practically even (if slightly skewed towards the Pats), you felt a sense of camaraderie with the other guys in the room, and you still had opportunities to talk trash. When the room/party too heavily favors one team things could get really uncomfortable. Which is exactly what’s going to happen at my house this year. I heard 30 Pats fans would be here so I invited 31 Giants fans. At the moment, three are coming. Is it going to be awkward to have three people cheering for the Giants and 30 cheering for the Pats? Absolutely. Am I happy about it? Of course not. But this is my house too, so we’re just going to have to deal with it this year.
08. Food – I’m griddling sliders to order made of a 60/20/20 blend of brisket, rib eye and chuck. Someone’s making buffalo wings. There will be various dips and chips combinations, two regulation-sized grills cooking up everything from brats to burgers to chicken and whatever else can be grilled. A Super Bowl party is no time for that grilled salmon with apricot and raisin compote recipe from the most recent issue of Real Simple. Nor is it a time for ethnic food. No one wants to waste time building their own fajita. A Super Bowl party is no place for a salad — or, hell, any vegetables at all unless they’ve been battered and deep-fried. By the time the game is over you should feel like you’ve consumed your weight in grease and meat. You’ve got about seven months before football season starts again. One day of obscene gluttony isn’t going to set you on a course towards morbid obesity.
07. Booze – Beer only. Crummy beer. Sorry. I love bourbon and high-brow craft beers as much as the next guy, but boy did I feel like an outcast in ’08 when I was drinking Pizza Port Anniversary Ale and Racer 5 while everyone else was pounding Coors and Corona. And if the rule of the day is hedonism and gluttony, shouldn’t the goal be to consume as many calories from alcohol as possible? Surely twenty PBRs help you achieve this goal better than three or four high ABV brews. Don’t worry, your friends on Untappd and Rate Beer won’t judge you for choosing the jumbo-sized cans of Asahi or Heineken over Avery The Czar or AleSmith Speedway Stout. Also, no drugs allowed. This is a Super Bowl party not a bachelor party. If the game goes to shit just take your party to a nearby bar and own the joint.
06. Have Your Halftime Plan Prepared – The worst thing about the Super Bowl last year (I got off work early and could actually enjoy the game) was when the halftime show started and everyone just stood around outside smoking cigarettes and complaining about how bad the musical performance was. If I’d had the day off work, and had a few hours to prep, I could have come up with an amazing halftime plan. Maybe a 30-minute touch football game in the middle of the street. Maybe a game of Beer Pong Baseball or Battleshots could have awaited us in the kitchen. If you’re already tired of grilling food, you could pre-plan a pizza delivery within that thirty minute window. Prepay for a stripper to arrive right as the second quarter is ending. You could have someone run to McDonalds and grab a few 50-piece nuggets and take part in a Man Challenge. First one to eat fifty nuggets gets some of the money from your Boxes or whatever else you’re gambling on during the game. Which reminds me…
05. Bet On Everything – You don’t need to come up with some elaborate Boxes games or bet the odds with your party. All you have to do is announce a bet and expect someone else at the party to take it. For example, bet the coin toss. Bet on random plays, whether they’ll be runs or passes, whether a certain player will touch the ball. They don’t have to be exorbitant. That’s the fun of gambling. A dollar a bet will suffice. Bet who’s going to be the first person in the room to take a shit. Bet who’s going to be the first person at the party to throw up. Bet on whether or not a drive will end in a touchdown, field goal or punt. Bet on who’s going to pay to bang the stripper first. The possibilities are endless. The game itself is competitive, but when you’re sitting around with a bunch of dollar bills (you should go to the bank beforehand and stock up on singles), you can add some extra excitement to the game-watching experience.
04. Multiple Big Screen HDTVs – We’re going to have at least three going in order to accommodate everyone. The general rule is, nothing smaller than 30″, with a minimum of 15 seats available with a direct line of sight. If you can set up a screen in the kitchen via iPad or computer hooked up to one of those numerous “free” TV streaming websites on the Internet, that’s even better. No one should have to miss a clutch play because they’re grabbing a beer or trying to find more hot sauce for their under-seasoned food. And there’s absolutely no way in hell you should watch the game in anything less than flawless high-definition. I don’t know if 720 or 1080 makes all that big a difference (at least not to these eyes — and, oh, have I mentioned I’m blind?) but when that one play comes along that gets challenged and you need to see for yourself whether or not that guy’s knee hit the ground or not before the ball came out…you have to have the best, clearest picture possible.
03. Don’t Screw With The Rituals – So long as they don’t distract anyone from watching the game, you’re not allowed to ban anyone’s quirky, superstitious gameday rituals. Nor should said rituals be cause for mockery. Sometimes a guy just has to change his t-shirt every quarter, or rub his hands together a certain number of times, or eat a precise amount of pretzels when there’s exactly four minutes left in each half. We’ve all got our weird pre-game and game-time routines. Just because it’s your team against your friend’s team doesn’t mean you have to be assholes to one another.
02. Don’t Be Afraid To Gloat – When the clock runs out and the game ends, one team is going to win. Hopefully it’s your team and not the other team, but you need to keep some things in mind no matter what happens. First, if your team wins, you’re allowed to gloat. Gloating extends to a gentle-to-moderate ribbing of your friends (a scale that tips depending on the final score : blowout’s are treated differently than last-second victories), taking money from a person (while delivering a parting-shot insult), and laughing at whatever player is most responsible for the other team’s loss. Gloating does not include any action that will cause a fistfight. Figure that for every three jabs you took at each other during the game, you get two post-game jabs. Second, if your team loses, you have to take the shit-talking like a man. Sorry, that’s just Man Code. You can’t run out of the house and ignore your friends for the next two weeks. If you’re going to watch a contest between two teams, you have to accept the loss in your home just like the team on the field has to. When the inevitable posing for a photo wearing the other team’s apparel occurs, try to smile. It’s going up on Facebook whether you want it there or not. At least try to look like a good sport. Got it? Good. Gloat away, winner! Or take it like a man, loser!
01. It’s An All-Day Event, Not Just A Game – Just because kickoff is at 3:30 (PST) doesn’t mean you start your party thirty minutes or an hour beforehand. The optimal situation is you wake up early — or just stay up all night — and cook up a bunch of breakfast sandwiches, then start drinking while watching some cable channel’s all-day coverage. Realistically though, you should start your party at least three hours before kickoff, if not four or five (if you’re on the East Coast). This is an event. You’ve got to make sure everybody is full of energy (drunken or otherwise) by the time that kicker’s foot makes first contact with the pigskin. And just because your team loses doesn’t mean you say your goodbyes and leave the premises as quickly as possible. You’ve got to pound a few beers just to make up for all the trash-talking and all the bad vibes that were present during the game. It’s like makeup sex after a fight with your significant other. You can talk about what went wrong, stoke your friends’ egos and let ‘em know their team has a real shot to win it all next year. Whatever you have to do to make the losing fans feel better, do it. We’ve been waiting for this moment for months. The opportunity to celebrate a championship isn’t an every day affair. Make the most of Super Sunday.
The Cramps – I Can’t Hardly Stand It [MP3]