It comes once a year, and is one of the most watched events of the entire year. Every year, around 3:00, wherever you live, you’ll start to see people loading up their cars in the ‘burbs, or walking around the city with casserole dishes on their way to go watch the Super Bowl with friends. Super Bowl Sunday has as many traditions and rituals as any other American holiday, and people are just as fussy about having it done right. Here’s our take on doing Super Bowl Sunday: The Right Way.
1. Setting Up Your House
If you’re tempted to decorate, stop. Nobody will ever see that your chip bowl is shaped like a football and nobody will care if your plates look like turf. And I promise you, everyone hates wiping their mouth with a stiff napkin that looks like a football. And if they do notice, they won’t care. The only decoration you need is a television– several if possible. If you absolutely MUST decorate, just grab some foam fingers for people to wave around. But really, all eyes are on one thing– the big game.
You should be putting your focus on seating vs televisions. If your furniture is movable, work on optimizing how many people can see the game really well. If you’ve invited spouses/dates who don’t watch football and/or children, make sure you have a place for them to hang out that will not annoy the people focused on the game. Keep a football around so when the kids get over tired you can entertain them by randomly throwing the ball in the center of the room to see who can dive for it faster. Wait for first blood to be drawn.
Make sure nothing that you’re worried about breaking or staining is anywhere near where people will be sitting. Do what you can to make sure that wherever people sit, they can safely put a drink or a plate down somewhere near them.
2. The Food and the Drink
A few simple rules will save the day. Nobody wants to sit down at a table, and nobody wants to struggle to balance a loaded down plate on their lap, let alone try to knife and fork their food. 1) Stay handheld. You have a dozen other holidays throughout the year to show off your other skills. Keep this one simple. 2) People like to graze. Most people want to keep eating a little at a time throughout the game, and nobody wants a designated eating time. So keeping food available is your best bet. Which leads us to 3) Room temperature. Foods that don’t have to be really hot or really cold are better. Serve a few hot appetizers that you can prepare before the game starts, and stick with foods that don’t have to keep cooking during the game. 4) Simplify. Remember, it’s all about the game. Do not be tempted to build a Super Bowl Snack Arena (found on latinrapper.com). You and your guests will be so much happier off sticking to good food, and lots of it.
- Super Bowl Standards: Guacamole (learn to make it homemade, its easy, see below), nachos also homemade (see below), shrimp cocktail, fruit and cheese, baked brie, dips and chips, buffalo wings, sliders of all kinds (you can put anything on a tiny roll, deli, burgers, pulled pork), potato skins, bruchetta, subs/heroes/hoagies/grinders, tacos, sliced steak sandwiches, fried chicken, pizzas, chili (the only time its okay to break the hand held rule). If you want to go upscale, there isn’t anything on this list that can’t be tweeked to go gourmet.
- Foods of New York/New Jersey. The Jersey Sloppy Joe (a deli triple decker sandwich on thin rye with coleslaw and Russian dressing, set on platters, and perfect game food), Italian Hot Dogs (deep fried dogs in round pizza bread stuffed with onions, peppers, and fried potatoes), Bagels, Deli, Reuben sandwiches, Red Velvet Cake, New York Cheesecake, black and white cookies, celery soda, Snapple, Brooklyn Ale.
- Drinks. Beer. Iced Tea. Soda. Diet Soda. Ice and lots of it. You will run out. Don’t over complicate. Remember. It’s all about the game.
Here’s Our Recommended Menu for a great Super Bowl with minimal work:
Guacamole and Nachos
Buffalo Wings (a lot of them)
Vegetables and Dip
Chips, Pretzels and M&Ms
Beer and Margaritas
Dinner and Dessert:
Italian Hoagies Sliced Small
Warmed Sliced Steak on Garlic Toasts
Boston Creme Donuts
3. The Action
Your entertainment is all provided for you, but you can’t watch Super Bowl without betting on the action. Boxes, Polls, straight bets, here are all the ideas you need. More bets = more fun, and having games that don’t require skill helps get people who normally don’t care about the game involved. If you’re not the gambling types, any of these can be played for bragging rights.
- The Super Bowl Squares. Draw a 10 x10 grid, creating 100 boxes. Choose what each box will cost ($5 each? 10 boxes for $20? depends on how many people you have playing, and whether they’re big gamblers). For every box you buy, write your name in one square. After all the squares are bought and all the names are filled in, randomly assign the numbers 0-9 to each row and column, and write Giants on the left side of your grid and Patriots across the top. At the end of the game, whoever has bought the box where the last number in the Patriots’ score intersects with the last number of the Giants’ score is the winner of the money. You can use all the cash for one grand prize winner at the end of the game, or give additional prizes for the winner at the half or at the end of each quarter.
- The Quarters. Prep this ahead by tearing a sheet of paper into 8 squares and then write on each one a team and a quarter. (ie, Giants 1st, Pats 1st, Giants 2nd, Pats 2nd, etc) Fold em up and put them into a hat and sell them for $25 a piece (or whatever level your group likes to play at). Players reach in and pick blindly. You win if your team scored more points in your quarter than anyone else’s pick. So if the Giants score 2 TDs in the second quarter, and no other team scores more points in any other quarter, you win. Ties = split the cash. Let people buy more than one if they want or if you have too many people, just run two pools. Don’t be stuck being the guy who agrees to buy up any leftover tickets.
- The Points. Tear a sheet of paper into 12 pieces. Write the following on the squares. 0-10. 11-14. 15-18. 19-22. 23-26. 27-30. 31-34. 35-38. 39-42. 43-45. 46-49. 50 and Up. Sell your squares for $10 a piece (or whatever you want). Players pick out of a hat. At the end of the game, whoever’s square has the total combined points written on it, wins.
- The Mayor’s Bet. Or sometimes called the Governor’s Bet. You don’t have to be an elected leader to participate in the Mayor’s Bet. All you need is a friend or relative in each part of the country that’s sending a team to the Super Bowl. Usually this bet involves local foods, but of course it can also involve money and a case of a local micro-brew beer from your neck of the woods.
- The Humiliation Bet. Hardcore fans will have no problem diving right into one of these wagers that puts a football fan’s dignity on the line. Whoever bets on the losing team ends up in diaper, holding an embarrassing sign, covered in body paint featuring the other team’s colors or any other embarrassing scenario. And then that takes place in a very public place.
- Prop Bets. These are basically side bets that have nothing to do with the game and are made just for the sake of gambling. Make your own ballots before the game and pass them around to see who gets the most right. For over unders, individual player stat prop bets and much more, check out Bovada.com.
- How long will it take Kelly Clarkson to sing the national anthem?
- What will Kelly Clarkson be wearing to sing the national anthem?
- Who will win the coin toss?
- Will Madonna wear a Jersey at any time during the halftime show?
- Will Madonna wear fishnets at any time during the halftime show?
- What will be Madonna’s first song during the halftime show?
- How many times will Jim Irsay be mentioned during the game?
- Which team will score first in the game?
- Will the first score be a TD or a FG or other?
- Giants total score? Pats total score? Each teams score at the half?
- What will the first scoring play of the game be?
- Which will be the highest scoring quarter?
- Exact number of touchdowns in the game?
- Total sacks by New England? Total sacks by New York?
- Total fumbles in the game? Total interceptions in the game?
- Which team will be the first to challenge a ruling?
- How many times will Peyton Manning be shown on tv?
- Who will Obama pick to win the game?
- What color will the Gatorade be?
- Who will the MVP thank first? (god, teammates, coach, family, owner, nobody)
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments!
**Guacamole. Homemade. It’s easier than you think, and worth it. Buy 12 avocados, (or about 1-2 per person) Cut the avocado in half and using a big spoon, scoop out the insides. Using a large fork, mash it up roughly. That’s your basic. If you did nothing else, it would still be amazing. But add some chopped white or red onion, some diced tomato, and some basic seasonings. Go really simple with salt, chili powder, cilantro and cumin. Add a little at a time till you like the taste. Squeeze in some lime or lemon juice if you like, maybe some red pepper flakes and you’re done. Sealing it up tight in saran wrap if you’re not serving right away.
**Nachos. Even easier. Put chips on a baking sheet. Cook up some ground beef with taco seasoning. Spoon over Chips. Add salsa or diced tomatos, tons of shredded cheddar and jack cheeses, sliced black olives and sliced jalapeno. Bake till melty. Top with sour cream and guacamole. Serve.