Even in the best of years, scoring a ticket to the Super Bowl is difficult and expensive. But in what might be the weirdest, most unprecedented season in the NFL’s 100 years of existence — thanks to Covid-19’s spread necessitating reduced capacities, face masks, and social distancing — it will likely be near impossible and much pricier to score seats this year.
With only 22,000 fans being allowed inside Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium when the Kansas City Chiefs defend their title against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers February 7, and with seats going for $7,225 up to $79,206, most fans will have to settle for watching along at home. And with the country in various states of surge and lockdown, and health officials still recommending limiting the size of gatherings to avoid hosting a super spreader event, game day get-togethers will join the list of other American traditions, celebrations, and holidays kneecapped by coronavirus.
But just because you have to go home doesn’t mean you can’t go big. In fact, most mental health practitioners encourage responsibly blowing off some steam, safely socializing, indulging in hobbies, and treating yourself from time to time.
So go ahead, go the extra yard, throw on that jersey, decorate with stadium chic, recreate your favorite stadium foods, and touchdown for what. Just don’t rely on a last-minute hail Mary to make your Super Bowl soiree, well, super. It requires a little pre-gaming. This Super Bowl party guide has everything you need to prep your party and get ready for some football.
Step 1: Study Up
Don’t embarrass yourself in front of your kids. Be the cool dad who knows what halftime performer The Weeknd sings. His record label has made it easy by releasing a new greatest hits type compilation calledThe Highlights. Both CD or digital version available.
If you need to brush up on the game itself, become a better spectator by flipping through Football For Dummies to learn about rules, regulations, positions, and plays.
Step 2: Decorate and Get Dressed
Set the mood for Super Bowl #SundayFunDay. Part of the fun of going to live sporting events is the atmosphere—the bright lights, the big screens, the noise of supercharged fans. We’re all missing that these days. But you can bring a little bit of that pizazz to your home turf by brightening your man cave or den with a custom neon sign from Yellowpop featuring sporty sayings or pigskin-related prose like “Game Day,” “Are you ready for some football?” or “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” Art starts at $150 and goes up based on the number of letters, size, design, and complexity of the neon.
If that’s too big of a design commitment for you, get decorations of the disposable variety. FUNPARTY’s 195-piece pack includes balloons, plates, bottle labels, cupcake toppers, a tablecloth, a banner and more, in a generic field green and ball brown color palette. Many items can be reused next year when hopefully herd immunity allows us all to huddle closer together.
It’s most important that you nail the spread. However, presentation counts, which is why you need a snack stadium of something fierce. Of course, you could watch a YouTube video and build your own, or you can secure the pre-made variety with the click of a mouse.
Taste of the Stadium makes a reusable and recyclable cardboard arena that has four stand-alone sections for salsa or dips. Chef/TV personality Sunny Anderson markets a slightly sturdier inflatable one, The Infladium, which comes with 12 food inserts, eight pennants, and a recipe book. Add a frozen tundra-shaped inflatable cooler to ice down beers and waters or display buffet items best served cold like the revenge the Green Bay Packers will seek against Tom Terrific next season.
Once you’ve gotten your place all decked out, it’s time to get dressed. And because you aren’t leaving your house or having people over, you should dress to decompress not impress. And because the pandemic has made sweats and comfy clothes perfectly acceptable, throw on Hoodeez, a line of supersoft reversible hoodies from FOCO that let you relax and rep your team simultaneously.
Step 3: Hydrate
Three cheers for a well-stocked bar. Beer is usually king at gridiron gatherings, but why settle for substandard suds? Microbreweries around the nation have been hurting as many bars and restaurants have been closed for the better part of a year. Show your favorite fermenter the love by grabbing some growlers to go. Order a Keep-It-Carbonated Growler to take the pressure off of it falling flat before the fourth down. In fact, the CO2 regulator can preserve your pilsner’s (or soda’s or kombucha’s) bubbles for up to two weeks.
If that involves a little too much legwork, rely on Hickory Farms to do the suds-sourcing for you. They have assembled a basket brimming with California craft brews from masters including Ballast Point, Lost Coast, Sierra Nevada, Anderson Valley, and Bear Republic. They’re accompanied by Golden State-made snacks Casa Chicas Chips and Gil’s Gourmet Zinfandel Garlic Mild Salsa. They’re also great for washing down HF’s beef sausage sticks.
Punches have been making a comeback at hipster bars for years now. They’re good for large groups and they can be made ahead of time, but they’re great if your partying with your pod too. You can also make it a fun non-alcoholic option. Check out our guide to what’s new in zero-proof spirits for ingredient ideas. Your non-hungover body will thank you when everyone starts playing Monday morning quarterback in the meeting the next a.m. It’s also a good excuse to invest in an eye-pleasing punch bowl, like this hammered copper one we found on Amazon.
Running out of booze is perhaps the biggest party foul you can commit, but no one wants to leave mid-quarter to restock. Thanks to Saucey you no longer have to. The service will have beer, wine, and spirits on your doorstep in as much time as it takes to get a Domino’s pizza delivered, as long as you live in one of the 22 cities or areas on their route. They also have two-day and ground shipping in California and New York to meet if you’ve planned ahead.
Step 4: Menu Planning
Gather all your favorites for the showtime spread. Then, activate feast mode and Super Bowl shuffle around the table. The first one to unbuttoned jeans wins.
Start your journey to necessary stuffed-ness with snacks and apps. Cover the basics like chips, dips, crudités (to feel less guilty about all the other treats you’ll be stuffing in your piehole), pickles, olives, and so on. We suggest Flamin’ Hot Cheetos because they can be enjoyed both straight out of the bag or as part of a larger recipe, a trend sweeping the nation’s stadiums and food trucks, like spicy crunchy mac-and-cheese balls or hot tamales. on their own but you can also partake in the trend that is sweeping food trucks and stadiums
But you should also step up your game with charcuterie and fancy cheese and crackers. A set from Harry and David comes with an adorable football-shaped one-pound summer sausage from Milwaukee’s finest Usinger’s and bacon-infused cheese.
Martha Stewart has curated collections for the home and cooking site, igourmet, that are great for game day, including a charcuterie box and a tapas box that contains thinly sliced jamon Iberica, several cheeses including raw-milk manchego, quince paste, extra virgin olive oil, and other nibbles imported from Spain.
Or get a little bit of everything with the Hickory Farms Big Game collection, which includes all kinds of gourmet goodies to prepare a hearty spread of small bites like two types of sausage, jalpeño cheddar, chips and salsa, spicy brown mustard, and caramel corn. It’s all contained inside a football serving bowl which will surely come in handy at sporty parties for years to come.
Our soft pretzel intake has been seriously curbed by Covid with no ballgames, no theme parks, and minimal mall roaming. The chewy bready puffs and mustards from Eastern Standard Provisions Co. come closest to a fresh hot knot and Amazon ships several of their assortments. The Sun’s Out, Bun’s Out pack upgrade burgers and sliders with pretzel buns and two types of flavored salt.
Goldbelly also delivers carbo loads from your favorite shops and bakeries from around the country (think classic New York or Philly pretzels). Everything delivers fresh and well-packed and can be shipped nationwide.
The Popcorn Factory sells three-gallon tins featuring the buttered, cheese, and caramel varieties of the air-popped classic and NFL team logos. Grab one for the two teams battling for season supremacy or for your home team.
When you’re ready to move on to the main course, seriously consider letting your cravings run amok on Goldbelly. The rapidly expanding platform has brought a huge batch of the restaurants, chefs, and bakeries behind some of the best culinary creations America has to offer together under one virtual roof and facilitates shipping their tasty wares fresh to your front door. This service has been particularly comforting when travel has been discouraged and become dangerous.
Goldbelly means you can get that hoagie from your hometown, a king cake from New Orleans for celebrating Mardi Gras, or deep dish from Lou Malnati’s to remind your partner of your first date. It also means the country’s best comfort food is up for grabs for Super Bowl Sunday—Buffalo wings from the place that invented them, Philly cheesesteaks including a vegetarian one created by Questlove, lobster rolls from Maine, Nashville hot chicken, Gramercy Tavern burgers, brats from Wisconsin, Hawaiian malasadas, Guy Fieri’s towering trash can nachos, and Mexican food from California.
Or go for symbolism and order up copious amounts of Kansas City ‘cue from the legendary Arthur Bryant’s or Jack Stack BBQ. If your loyalty lies with Tampa Bay, go with stone crabs, oranges, and key lime pies.
Need more meat? Splurge on the high-quality carnivore collection from Stock Yards, which includes baby back ribs, USDA Choice filet mignons, sirloin filets, tenderloin cubes (great for stew, stir-fry, or skewers), steak burgers, and center-cut New York strips. Sized for two or four people, everything is delivered directly to your door. Sure it’s too much meat for a small soiree, but that’s why someone invented freezers.
If you prefer to DIY your way to the dining room, consider adding these gadgets and tools to your kitchen playbook. Consistently voted the best outdoor pie bakers, an Ooni oven can spit out a 12-inch pie in 60 seconds, less time than it takes to watch the average commercial break It’s like having a Blaze Pizza in your backyard. Turn down the heat and your new toy can also grill veggies, fish, and meat.
Baby, it’s cold outside in most of the US. so grab a grill that can tackle meats and veggies inside with a straight line of sight to the TV. BergHOFF’s tabletop cooker is extremely portable, uses its cork lid to protect your furniture from heat, and will come in handy at the park or beach when the sun shows its face again.
Chili is a must and making it in a superb slow cooker like this big boy from Crock-Pot allows the flavor to develop and deepen over days. It also doubles as serveware and makes for easy cleanup. Get the big guy, who comes with a Little Dipper perfect for keeping the spinach artichoke surprise warn, as an investment for future fetes.
And speaking of dips and warm spreads, this Frigidaire slow cooker is ideal for serving them family-style thanks to cool-touch lid knobs and three separate stoneware pots.
Hot dog toasters handle wieners and buns simultaneously, which gets food to folks faster, and this one from Nostalgia has big diner energy.
Kebabs or grilled veggies on the menu? The O-Yaki Skewer System’s standing design guarantees even cooking of multiple skewers in the oven or on the BBQ and can be used to display the finished product. It can also be used for a rotisserie chicken.
Don’t skimp on the condiments as that’s the comfort food equivalent to getting the touchdown and then clumsily blowing the extra point. Red Clay’s cold-pressed hot sauce and spicy honey sets hail from South Carolina and bring the heat to nachos, tacos, fried chicken, biscuits, and wings.
Take hot dogs, sausages, and burgers up a notch with Wilder Condiments’ artisan mustards, crafted on the California Coast, and the Bomb Sauce line of ketchup, relishes, thousand island, and rubs from Williams Sonoma.
Step 5: Downtime Activities
Yes, the day’s primary objective is to stuff your face watch the game, but the day is long and attention spans can be short, especially if you have young kids or a homegating sesh before kickoff. Also, not every commercial is the Budweiser frogs or Cindy Crawford with a Pepsi. It pays to have a few additional things for people to focus on. Create a cornhole tournament, for example, or order a printable party games pack that includes themed bingo cards, trivia, and more. Set up video game area with the latest edition of Madden or tune in to the annual Puppy Bowl on another TV.