Ah, that most treasured of football games—you know which one we’re talking about. Football’s biggest game has been an American institution since 1967, inspiring an ever-increasing number of people to gather together in celebration of one of the holiest of sports holidays. Ardent football fans are often treated to one of the best games of the year, while more casual watchers are rewarded with some of the most anticipated—and, often, the best—commercials on television. This year, countless households will be hosting game day viewing parties, and it can all be a little overwhelming if you’re not prepared. Here’s how to get your house ready for the big game:
Prep Your Viewing Room
Let’s start with the basics: How many people are you trying to fit in your space? Ensuring you have plenty of seating options is a crucial part of game day party planning. Sure, your guests might not be sitting the entire time, but a standing-room-only situation is far from ideal. In addition to the seating you already have in your viewing room of choice, consider adding chairs from other rooms; dining chairs would be a good choice, since it’s doubtful the dining table will be seeing any action during this party (unless you use it as a buffet table, that is). Regardless of the type of seating you offer, remember to keep two things in mind: comfort and viewing angle. After all, your guests came to watch the game, not the back of your co-worker’s head.
While the game is definitely going to be the main focus of the party, that’s no excuse to ignore the rest of your home. After all, the half-time show could be less than stellar, and your guests might want somewhere else to congregate and converse. Make sure the kitchen is clear and ready for company, as that room is the most likely destination for wandering game watchers as they venture out for refreshment refills or simply to stretch their legs. Also, the highest traffic area in your home is sure to be the bathroom, so be sure it is ready to accommodate your guests. Stock up on bathroom tissue and other bath essentials to avoid a potential crisis. And just in case it isn’t completely frigid where you live, give your porch or patio a quick once-over in case your guests decide they need some fresh air.
Now that you’ve determined where everyone will sit and gather, let’s add some football flourishes to the house, shall we? Kirkland’s fantastic Gifts for Him section is full of football-themed wall art and accessories, not to mention a few man cave flourishes like affordable bar stools and wall-mounted bottle openers that are sure to be a hit. Also, be sure to stock up on glassware and barware; for an added kick, pick up some glasses in orange and blue and commemorate the occasion with the opposing teams’ colors.
The day has come, and the fanatics have descended upon your house; now how do you keep them happy? Food, of course. But you certainly can’t serve up the typical dinner party fare for this gathering; this type of party caters to a different crowd—it’s only natural that you’re going to need a different spread to satisfy those big game appetites. So what’s the plan?
Every guest is going to be huddled around the TV, and it’s doubtful that they’ll be paying attention to things like place settings or utensils. Obviously, finger foods are the way to go. But just because you’re limiting the selection doesn’t mean you can’t get fancy. Take chips and dip, for example. Why throw out a bowl of chips and a couple of dip options when you can serve up something like this:
- Taco Mini Bowls
- Grab a bag (or two or three) of scoop-style tortilla chips
- Fill each chip with a small amount of refried beans and salsa, then top with shredded cheese (if there’s room, feel free to add a pinch of taco-seasoned beef)
- Serve to your rowdy and likely ravenous bunch
Sounds super, right? Other easy and always-in-demand options include buffalo wings, sliders, and just about anything that includes that oh-so-magical word: bacon. Now the party’s cooking!
Practice Your Play-By-Play
Here’s the scenario: The party is in full swing. It’s the fourth down, and tension is high. The ball is in the red zone and the quarterback has decided to try for a two-point conversion, despite the opposing team’s strong defensive ends. The QB snaps the ball and attempts a rush, but he gets sacked by one of the linebackers! And . . . you have no idea what you just read.
Don’t know the difference between a fullback and a tight end? You’re not alone. Luckily, there’s help available. If you’re going to host the festivities, you should do your best to bone up on your shop talk. There are plenty of football jargon tutorials and cheat sheets out there (my personal favorite is this one, taken from Football For Dummies, 4th Edition), so put your study hat on and dive in!
Planning a party for the big game doesn’t have to be intimidating. Just relax and have fun, and your guests are sure to follow suit. As long as everyone has a seat and the food keeps coming, your game day celebration is sure to be a winner!