Ahh Super Bowl Sunday. The big day. When two teams do battle for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, an NFL champion is crowned and you have a few too many drinks, and end up hitting on your friend’s 15-year-old cousin (Sorry bro, the braces should have been a dead giveaway). Good times. Dare I say, great times.
Of course it’s all fun and games until it’s your turn to host. Then what? What about the food and drink? What about the prop bets and Super Bowl boxes? Where do you even start?
Well luckily for you, I’ve been to a few Super Bowl parties in my day. Good ones, bad ones, forgettable ones, you name it, I’ve seen it all. Well except for the Jets winning the Super Bowl. When that happens, then I’ll have seen it all.
Either way, I’m here to help. Here to give you the answers to all your questions, as well as a few you probably didn’t even think to ask.
I’m here to help you (yes you, you bozo) throw the “Ultimate Super Bowl Party.”
Guest List: Let’s start with who might be attending the big affair.
But before we put together a guest list, we need to all take a deep breath and look in the mirror. Because I mean, come on, we're guys. We can’t be counted on to remember anything.
Not birthdays, not anniversaries or even the names of our friend’s girlfriends. Hell, I just found out like two weeks ago that Thanksgiving is in November every year. Every year, can you believe that? I could have sworn I celebrated it the first week of December a few years back. Either way, this blank mind frame is the one that we carry with us through our every day lives, yet somehow, we're supposed to put together a guest list weeks in advance? Huh?
But I suppose if you must do something, let me give you a few pointers.
For starters, avoid e-mails. At all costs.
Let’s be honest, we'd like to think that all of our friends are intelligent, hard working adults. But that's not just reality. Some of them can hardly figure out child proof cabinets, let alone how to set up an e-mail address. Therfore, forget the e-vite. The return rate might be 75 percent at best, and non-existent at worst. Too much of a headache.
Skip setting up a Facebook event too. Sure it seems like a good idea in principle, but everyone just ends up clicking “maybe,” instead of giving you a definitive yes or no. Honestly, I’d do the same thing. If only to pretend like something better might come up, and give myself an unjustified sense of self worth.
If you do you feel the need to put some kind of mental list together, keep it simple. Send out a mass text, or better yet, be old fashioned and just get on the phone. Yes it might seem tedious at first, but again, we’re guys. We don’t want to hear about your day, and last night and the new shirt you bought at the mall. A simple two second conversation like this will give you all the information you need:
You: Hey bro, you coming Sunday?
Friend: Umm, am I still invited? I thought you told me to drop dead after I got drunk and peed on the side of your car last weekend.
You: Ehh, it happens. You bringing anyone?
You: Cool. Catch you Sunday.
Friend: Thanks man. Again, I’m really sorry abou…
Now was that, that hard? Catch a few friends in quick phone conversations and you’ve got yourself a makeshift guest. And you thought you needed a Facebook event? Pshh!
Ok, onto the big day itself…
Multiple TV’s: Ok, this sounds crazy, but multiple TV’s are non-negotiable. Here’s why: Much like St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Bastille Day, nobody really cares where they are during the Super Bowl. Just as long as they’re out somewhere, doing something.
And this is one of the most important points to remember when hosting a party. Yes, everybody is happy to be there, but with entirely different motivations.
Just so you know what I’m talking about, I’ve broken down the different types of attendees you may encounter on your big day, and I did it Mitch Albom style, in a quick segment I like to call, “The Three People You Meet At A Super Bowl Party.”
1. People Just Looking for an Excuse to Drink on a Sunday: For one day a year, these people don’t feel the need to suppress their raging alcoholism, and can simply let loose. Which is exactly what they’ll do, let loose.
Quite honestly, there’s nothing they’re not capable of. They’ll show up late and stay later. They’re loud, obnoxious, spill stuff, pee on the toilet seat, and get in fights on the phone with their girlfriends, saying stuff like, “I just wanna have fun with the guys, why don’t you understand!” Meanwhile, the “guys” have “jobs,” and actually left an hour ago.
These people are always a nuisance, and at moments will probably make you regret having a party in the first place. But they are something that you simply have to deal with. Think of them as kind of an untrained puppy; No matter what you do, keep your eye on them at all times.
2. Casual fans: These will be most of the people at your party, and should be pretty easy to pick out of a crowd.
They are calm and casual, choose to sip their alcoholic beverages (instead of funneling them), and engage in small talk, only occasionally glancing at the TV. You’ll notice them for their completely docile conversations that center on subjects like, “I wonder how many times we’ll see Kim Kardashian tonight?” and “Hey did you know Peyton Manning is from New Orleans, how cool is that?”
You can basically lump most females, guys that don’t like football, guys that don’t have a rooting interest, old people, children, and neutered guys who brought their girlfriends to the party, into this group. And they’re the easiest group to manage.
Just as long as you keep the apartment at 72 degrees and the bowl of Doritos full they’re satisfied. And so are you.
3. The Diehards: You can spot these guys (and I’m sorry ladies, but they’re almost always guys. Which believe me, is a good thing) a mile away. They show up hours early for the pregame show, and wear their team’s jerseys, mustard stains and all. They want to hear every bad Jim Nantz joke and Phil Simms guffaw. Basically, anyone in this category is either a fan of one of the teams playing, or has wagered enough money on the game to buy weapons of mass destruction should they win. Sometimes both.
Which is why the diehards need to be quarantined like Ebola patients. Immediately.
Sure they may call themselves “fans,” but they’re actually annoying the hell out of all the normal people at the party. Not everyone wants to hear yelling and screaming after every completion or groans after every dropped pass. Not everyone is sweating out the result of the coin toss because they decided to wager their paycheck on tails.
Therefore, get these guys their own TV and let them be. Put the TV in another room, or the bathroom, they don’t care.
Just as long as they can watch the game in their little tight knit group, and make dumb comments to each other like, “How did Brees miss Colston on that flag route? God!” they’ll be happy.
And believe me, so will everyone else at your party.
With that being said, gambling is a must at any party. Set up Super Bowl boxes, and first to score pools. Place side bets with your friends, and others with strangers (You’ve been looking for an excuse to talk to that cute girl in the corner anyway, right?).
And finally, for your friends that truly have a problem (and we all know a few like them) set up a computer where they can place up to the minute bets online on anything and everything. I mean come on, the odds are 3/1 that Joseph Addai’s first carry is between two and six yards, how can they pass up that kind of action?
Not only will it keep them off your back, but entertained for hours too.
Food: Obviously a staple of any Super Bowl party is the food. But where to go? What to do?
Remember one thing though, this isn’t Thanksgiving. You don’t want to spend the whole day slaving over a hot stove in the kitchen while the game is on. Well, unless you’re into that sort of thing, in which case, we’ll grab you an apron and stay out of your way. We’ll probably also make fun of you behind your back.
Since most of us don’t want to do that however, just pre-order some stuff. It’s really that easy. Nobody cares if its one of those 45-foot subs, or a bucket of chicken wings, everyone will be appreciative. Throw out some pretzels, chips and salsa, and you’re everyone's new hero.
An important note to those of you hosting for the first time: If anybody has any special requests, they’re bringing it themselves. Whether it’s because of allergies, health purposes or vegetarian related reasons, it doesn’t matter, it’s not your problem, you’re not running a restaurant.
So if that hippie chick from down the hall wants tofu burgers because “she doesn’t believe in eating meat,” well that’s very commendable of her. But she’s also cooking them herself.
Drink: A nice assortment of beer would be splendid, but again, we’re talking about mostly guys, watching football here. Bud Light, Coors and Miller are fine, and if you really feeling like splurging, grab some Sam Adams or something. But don’t feel the need to go crazy, most of us will probably settle for warm Pabst Blue Ribbon in a can. No seriously.
As for the ladies, a few bottles of cheap red and chilled white wine is a nice touch.
But again, just like the food, don’t bend over backwards for anyone. If your buddy is gushing about some Belgian white beer he just had the other day, well, it might be time for his cheap ass to go to Belgium…or at least the liquor store. Again, this isn’t Burger King, not everyone can have it “Their way.”
(Aaron’s Note: One of, and maybe the only perk of having those annoying alcoholic friends, is the possibility that they don’t leave things to chance, and bring their own keg. Which is wonderful news for you.
Sure, these people may have serious a problem with alcohol, and who knows, they may even end up in 12 step program within the next calendar year, but why worry about it on Sunday?
Plus, since they’re likely to pass out by the end of the third quarter, that means…wait for it… Free keg beer for everyone!)
Decorations: Decorations? Decorations? Are you kidding me? What is this, an 11-year-olds birthday party? Do people expect you to have a pony and a Chuckles the clown too?
No, this is football, no decorations. Unless you consider the hole your friend punched in the wall a decoration. Then, well, you’ve decoration in your bathroom I should probably tell you about.
Themes: Same as decorations. You want a theme party, go down to the college bar on Thursday night. Not only are there $1 pitchers, but the person who dresses up like Mike “The Situation,” from Jersey Shore wins a $100 prize at the door.
As for the theme of a Super Bowl party? How about football? If that’s not enough for you, then get out.
Cleaning Supplies: A biggie, and something that everyone always forgets.
Remember, you’re hosting a party, and just like in college, people are going to spill stuff, break stuff, tip things over and knock cups on the ground. There’s at least a 50 percent chance someone gets over served and ends up with their face on the tile floor in your bathroom. That’s life.
This time though, don’t get caught off guard and be prepared.
As people leave dirty plates, empty cups and used napkins (and hopefully ONLY napkins) scattered around your place, pick them up and toss them out. Put garbage bags in every corner of the room. And when your friend passes out in the bathroom, don’t just Clorox bleach the toilet, do the same to him. You know, just incase.You can never be too safe.
Basically, as lame as it sounds, the easiest thing you can do is kind of pick up as you go, so you’re not left with a mountain of cleanup once the game is done. It may be boring, and you may have to miss a little of the game. But you’ll thank yourself later.
(Alternative for those of you feeling frisky: Instead of cleaning up the place yourself, give the homeless guy that smells like pee and lives at the bus station 10 bucks and have him come and do the work himself. Honestly, you've seen what he'll do for 40 cents in loose change. Imagine what he'd do for two crisp Abe Lincoln's?)
So there you have it. Follow those simple steps and you’re sure to have a party that everyone will never forget. Even if they can’t remember it.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday everyone!
(Dry wall for the “decoration,” in your bathroom sold separately)