Are you throwing a Super Bowl party?
I hope the answer to that question is a definitive "yes" or "no." If you're still on the fence, chances are your party will be less than spectacular if you do indeed decide to entertain on Super Bowl Sunday.
Because these things take planning. There are too many key factors to account for to wait until the last minute to commit.
If you're going to do this, and do it right, you've got to take it seriously. If you want to know how to make this the best Super Bowl party in the world—or at least on your block—check out this guide.
Before we get started with some of the more intricate details, let's make sure we have the basics in place.
If you don't have a television with a screen that's at least 45 inches, then you probably shouldn't be inviting more than three people over to watch the Super Bowl.
I'm not trying to be a tech snob, but think about it. Trying to cram 15 to 20 people around a 37-inch television is just not practical. You're just asking for some frustration from your guests.
Some wise guy is going to pull out a magnifying glass while he attempts to focus on the action.
You don't need that.
Secondly, as it relates to the television, please make sure you have high definition. This is 2013; anything else is grounds for people to refuse to remove their coats upon entering your home.
If you're all about this football life, you've already sacrificed to obtain a television up to Super Bowl Sunday's standards, but I like to be thorough in my instructional slideshows.
If you live in a studio apartment, you may want to change the designation of your shin-dig from Super Bowl Party to "just having two friends over to watch the game."
Again, I'm not trying to be a living quarters snob; the economy is rough and budgets are tight. However, that doesn't mean your company has to be.
Please have a roaming area and watching area to accommodate all your guests.
Now let's get to the good stuff.
You can't have a party without food, but you have to make sure you have the right grub for the occasion. This isn't going to be a sophisticated crowd, so you can save your Food Network ideas for a book club meeting.
You're throwing this party, and you're in control of how many people you invite. Make sure you have enough to feed your guests. If you're out of food in the first quarter, you either didn't plan properly or you're cheap.
Don't be that guy.
Don't depend on people to bring food. If they "forget," you're still the loser that threw a Super Bowl party without enough food to go around.
You don't want anything too messy, though. You'll hopefully have more than just guys at your party, but you always have to account for men and their sloppy tendencies.
If you serve something that's going to be a pain to get out of your carpet or rug, it'll just ruin your experience.
You want to be comfortable and you can't be comfortable chasing behind a heavy-set guy named Burt while he carelessly carries a plate full of meatballs.
Wings, fries and mini-burgers are your best bet. Keep it traditional and you can't go wrong.
It's a party, but don't forget about the clean-up afterwards. Don't leave a ton of dishes for you, your wife or your kids to clear.
They'll hate you for it, and you'll have to hear them whine the following year when you start talking about the next party.
Get the heavy-duty paper plates, too. Steer clear of those cheap ones that require you to use two or three reinforcements for support.
You really end up getting the same amount of real plates when you think about it.
Don't stock any alcohol stronger than beer and wine coolers for those that like the fruity-tasting drinks. I know that sounds harsh, but hear me out.
I love a Long Island Iced Tea as much as anyone, but this is a Super Bowl Party, not a bar. Mixed drinks are for mingling in a dim-lit room in slacks and a nice shirt.
That's not a Super Bowl party atmosphere.
Keep the balance between a sporting event and a nice house party. Keeping the beer flowing is the best way to maintain the appropriate feel.
I repeat, no hard liquor.
Your Super Bowl party should not be standing-room only. The more people sit down, the less likely someone is to fall or spill something.
Standing should be an option, not a consequence for going to the restroom.
If you don't have enough chairs and/or couches to seat 15 or 20 people, you shouldn't be inviting that many.
This is one of the most ignored aspects of planning a Super Bowl party, but it can be the difference between a comfortable experience and guests holding their bladder in fear of losing their spot near the television.
Unless your team is playing, there is no need for this to be an all football savant party. You shouldn't only invite guys, and you shouldn't be following any other silly restricting guidelines either.
You want people to be able to enjoy themselves, even if the game turns out to be a blowout.
I know a guy that met his wife at a Super Bowl Party, but I also know a guy that met a stalker at another.
Hey, things happen, the guy eventually got his windshield fixed, and we laugh about the string of incidents to this day.
The point is, this is a party first and foremost. The game is actually secondary to the socializing opportunity.
You want a diverse crowd, but you don't want guys and girls brawling in your humble abode.
If you know there is one person—or even a group—that always seems to find themselves in an altercation at every get together, don't invite them.
Even though you should only be serving beer, it's still alcohol. The liquid courage is always good for transforming normal men and women into members of the Marvel Comics universe.
People want to enjoy the game, and the company, and you don't want your stuff broken.
Keep the guy with the chip on his shoulder, the habitual line-stepper and the girl who can't stand for another girl to look at her for two seconds off your guest list.
I'm not joking about this...OK, I am a little, but there is some reasoning behind this rule.
Older people will bring a sense of dignity to your party (unless they're like the guy pictured). This practice creates a nice balance of youth and maturity.
Your friend with the most profane tongue may watch his or her mouth a little more in the presence of an elder.
Elderly people can also be fun at parties—especially if they're like the guy pictured—they will probably have the earliest memories of past Super Bowls.
They can tell stories about how the game was played back when they were younger. That's a valuable resource if the game gets out of hand, or if you have a power outage.
Awww...isn't he just the cutest thing?
Yes, he or she might be, but that's your dog, not everyone is an animal lover. Some people aren't going to be comfortable having their hands and crotches sniffed and licked.
If you don't have your animal in its crate or somewhere away from your company from the beginning, at least have the courtesy to put him or her away the first time you see a guest flinch.
I can almost assure you, the startled person won't be comfortable for the rest of night, unless you put Fido away.
I once attended a Super Bowl party where the host allowed his Rottweiler to terrorize the guests for the entire first half. Finally, his thoughtful wife made him put Cujo away during the halftime show.
Don't be that guy.
Watch out for people that come to your party with an agenda that goes beyond football and socializing. Super Bowl parties can draw a huge crowd, and people will use your get together as a means to further their business.
Have you ever been to a Super Bowl party and watched a guy work the room passing out business cards?
I have, and it annoyed everyone in the house. Don't let your guests be bombarded with the overtures of an opportunistic salesman.
No T-shirt sellers, no bootleg movie guy, no Avon and Mary Kay people, just football.
This rule also applies to the host.
Don't invite people to your house under the guise of a Super Bowl party, while all along, you had intentions on pitching them on some wild business venture.
Tell them about your newest invention the next time you see them.
My work is done.
Have a great Super Bowl Sunday, you are now certified and ready to entertain. Enjoy yourselves, be safe, and use a designated driver if need be.
Here's to hoping you maintain power and we are treated to an entertaining game. I'd hate for you to have to depend on your oldest guest's storytelling abilities to entertain your crowd.