When the two best pro teams square off at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on February 6th, football fans in parking lots and homes across the US will be looking to their hosts to put on the ultimate football party. Last year’s Saints vs. Colts matchup broke ratings records with 106 million viewers so this year’s big game is bound to be quite a show.
But watching the game is only part of the fun. It’s the food, the camaraderie and fun that needs to measure up. With that in mind, we invited Joe “The Commish” Cahn- the nationally recognized “Commissioner of Tailgating”- to share his top football party planning tips for the big game.
Joe who draws on 14 years on the road, tailgating with football fans across the country, took a break from preparations for the Bing National Tailgating Championship (www.bingfootball.com) happening in Fort Worth, Texas on February 3rd to impart the essentials for a championship-worthy party.
Never too early to start planning for the “big game”
Well, we are getting closer to the big day in Arlington, Texas — the finals of the Bing National Tailgating Championship.
Oh, and there is another big game going on that week as well.
Yes, there is still one last week in the regular season and the playoff picture isn’t quite settled (Seattle possibly getting in at 7-9?) — but it is never too early to start thinking about planning for the biggest game of the year.
We’ll share more tips with you along the way, but consider this your first list of things to think about when you take the tailgate to your home and throw your Super Bowl Party.
1. Decorate in your favorite team colors. This seems pretty obvious. However, if your team didn’t make it to the big dance, consider decorating in your team colors – a foreshadowing of next season — when you know they’ll go to the championship.
Another option here is to decorate in the colors of the conference you align with. If you’re pulling for the AFC, for example, go to our local fabric store and do it up with simple tablecloths in those team colors.
2. Your party is going to be an all-day event. So make sure that you create a menu that allows people to graze throughout the day. Don’t plan anything formal or “sit-down.” People will be milling about from pre-game, to game-time, to post-game — so keep ‘em moving and keep ‘em fed.
3. Make sure that you have plenty of ice and water on hand. Yes, water is an “adult” beverage and should be readily available to your guests to keep them going.
4. This is a non-negotiable from The Commish — always, ALWAYS designate a driver. If you are planning on drinking, make sure that you have a safe way to get home. If you can’t find a designated driver, schedule cab rides to and from your destination. Enough said there.
5. This is one the people don’t often think of — keeping the food in a separate room from the TV. No one wants people walking in front of the screen when that second half onside kick happens.
Also, having the food in another room allows people who may not want to watch the game (what?) to have a place to congregate and socialize. It’s also nice to have a space to go if your team, ahem, ends up on the wrong end of a blowout.
6. If you are a guest, communicate with the other guests and buy an official NFL game ball. Grab a couple of Sharpies and have everyone sign it. Then, present it to your host as a “Most Valuable Party Thrower” award. They will appreciate it greatly and have something to remember the day.
7. Take plenty of pictures. Bring your digital camera. Or, have disposable cameras around and encourage people to take photos of the day. Then, share them with your friends online.
8. You may also want to create a menu that people can take home with them to remind them of the great food prepared. Break it up into quarters (what was served 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, etc.) and leave some room for people to jot notes. Be creative and make it feel like a game program and something that your guests will enjoy looking at long after the game is over.
We’ll share more tips as we get closer to the final round of the Bing National Tailgating Championship and the championship — but this is a great place to start.
Happy Tailgating — and I’ll see you down the road.
– Joe “The Commish” Cahn