With the Super Bowl upon us, there's one question you're asked over and over: "Where are you watching the game?" Here's the ugly truth, most people don't care who wins the Super Bowl. Take this year for example, one team doesn't have the full support of it's entire state, and the other is a team stolen from Cleveland with a fan base that didn't even grow up rooting for them.
New York? Texas? Green Bay? New England? Each fan base is dealing with various levels of shock, frustration, and depression. So what do you do? You focus on the party. This year, I've been tasked with putting together the Super Bowl party for my friends, and I'm determined to make it a good one. And I figured, since I'm putting so much thought into this—why should you? I've got a list of sure-fire ways to make sure your Super Bowl experience is amazing for the sports fans, and anywhere from palatable to downright enjoyable for those waiting around for the commercials and Beyoncé.
No bars. They're expensive, they're packed, they charge a cover, the food is only OK, and you'll be jammed in there with between two hundred and a bazillion of your least favorite people on the planet. I've never once in my life been sitting comfortably in my apartment with good food and friends and thought to myself, "You know what this needs? Three guys that forgot deodorant, and the faintest whiff of urine." I'm good.
The Super Bowl is the longest game ever, you're going to want to turn the volume down, or run the DVR back for your own instant replay, or go to the bathroom without waiting on a line. Watching a game at a bar is borderline infuriating to begin with, let alone a game where everyone in the joint is rooting way too hard for one side, heard every imaginable storyline, maybe has their rent on the line with a bookie, and... has been drinking too much. Have the party at your place. If your place sucks, coerce a friend into doing it. You'll thank me later.
Serve good food. Nothing ruins the chakra of a group-hang like flavorless Utz potato chips and golden wheat pretzels that aren't salted because you didn't read the packaging. Show up to my place with that kind of disrespect in your hands, and you're getting chucked like common sense at a gun show. So if you're hosting, then you're obligated to dream a little bigger. Nachos, wings, burgers, sliders, hot dogs, mini hot dogs, sausage and peppers, chili, pulled pork, tacos, subs/hoagies/heroes, or a truly vibrant veggie spread... you know, for your LA friends. Anything that people can stuff their faces with. And friends don't let friends act like deadbeats, so make sure your guests bring something other than their appetites and regional biases. Ask a couple to bring some snacks, and a couple to bring some kind of dessert. It'll add variety and save you a little cash.
Have plenty of drinks. This is especially important if you think you may come up a little short in the first category. This doesn't mean people have to get wasted, it just means if somebody wants a beer, they should be able to go to the fridge or cooler and get one. One of the best ways is to ask people to contribute with some BYO action. You don't have to get fancy, plenty of low-to-mid level beer will get the job done. If you have fans of one (or both) of the teams competing at your party, then I always try to have some harder alcohol available as well. Something to celebrate with, or something to ease the pain. I had to watch the Giants get mopped by the Ravens with nothing to soften the blow but caffeine free Coca Cola—because I was 15 and my parents were responsible adults. I've never forgiven them. Bonus benefit: Every good Super Bowl party combines people from your circles that you'd never usually allow to co-mingle. You'll also undoubtedly have a guest or two that don't care about football at all, these people need a social lubricant. Don't be selfish.
Have some kind of "game" on hand. This may seem counter-intuitive, because there's a game on TV and everyone will be watching—but these games aren't always nail-biters. and you might need to give people a distraction. Taboo, Apples To Apples, Scattegories, 7, 11, or Doubles (if you're getting aggressive), or my new favorite, Cards Against Humanity. You want something that won't upset the people totally devoted to watching every minute, something that allows breaks for particularly funny commercials, and something that people can play as they eat and drink. No board pieces, no stringent rules, and nothing that involves "settling a foreign land" or "magic characters" or "Stratego"—that game has always been the worst.
Honestly? That's pretty much it. Four basic rules that guarantee your party is a success. Your guests will be happy, your stress levels will remain relatively low, and your bank account will remain intact.
Now if you come to my party? I've got a few extra rules: No Cowboys fans, no Bud Platinum, No Pandora Bracelets, no babies, no Black Eyed Peas music, no cats, no mentioning the debt ceiling, no Alicia Keys slander, and no mentioning the Giants.
If you can adhere to those, then I'd love to see you this weekend. And, if you can't make it—drop me a message below, or tweet me @thecyclemsnbc and let me know what your party plans are.
Enjoy the game.