Dry January is over and there’s a perfect excuse for a party. This Sunday over 100 million Americans will tune into the Super Bowl, the national championship game of the NFL. And you should really gather some friends and join them. If you love sport, great, but it’s no prerequisite for a celebration with an American football theme.
Its halftime performances range from inspired (Beyoncé’s 2016 Black Panther-inspired medley) to controversial (the 2004 Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake nipplegate duet) to meme-worthy (the Left Shark in Katy Perry’s 2015 show). And it's political; will players take a knee as an act of protest against injustice towards people of colour? Plus, you’ll find plenty of '90s fashion inspiration; think trucker hats, old-school team sweatshirts and football jerseys.
A Super Bowl Sunday party offers an easy introduction to the sport. If you have the stamina to make it to work after an all-nighter, or can bag the day off, tune in from 11.15pm-3.50am this Sunday on BBC One. It’s also showing on Sky Sports Action, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix or through the NFL’s streaming service, NFL game pass.
Here’s a starter guide for your party:
If you’ve been making saintly choices all January, Super Bowl-themed fare offers plenty of opportunity for indulgence. Anything salty, sugary and American could work – hot dogs, buffalo wings, Twizzlers – but the detail-orientated host should look to the two competing teams for ideas.
It’s Philadelphia Eagles versus the New England Patriots so delve into their regional specialities. Some you can make from scratch, others you can pick up at most bigger supermarkets. Otherwise you should be able to find them online; try Beer Hawk or American Food Store.
For Eagles supporters, it's Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and Yuengling beer, with Philadelphia cream cheese with assorted snacks for dipping. Also, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were invented in Pennsylvania, so they count. Yum.
If you're a Patriot backer, then try fish and chips (a fan favourite, apparently) and whoopie pie (homemade would work), washed down with Boston's Samuel Adams beer.
What To Wear
There’s plenty of NFL paraphernalia available on Amazon or Ebay; alternatively, trawl a thrift store where you can find a trucker hat for your chosen team and a football jersey that you can reuse as nightwear at a later date. A whistle makes for a fun accessory, but maybe consider the neighbours first.
Super Bowl Bingo
If you want to incorporate drink into this, go for it, but you can build up competition among your group without the booze. We suggest basing it on some of the quirkier rule names, referee signals and stadium sights. Draw up bingo grid cards – enough for a few rounds – and fill them with a mix of terms and sightings such as flea flicker, line of scrimmage, long snapper, a referee touchdown signal, or celebrity sightings (likely contenders include Giselle (wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady), Mark Wahlberg (a Patriots fan) and a couple of ageing rock stars.
How To Stay Awake
Break down the game into sections and reward yourself with snacks and caffeine to fight late-night fatigue.
This year’s halftime performance sees Justin Timberlake return, without Janet Jackson. There will be trouser snake dancing, tracks from his new album, Man of the Woods, as well as the classics. We can probably expect fewer wardrobe malfunctions this time around, too.