Super Bowl 51 is almost upon us, which means that it is time for a ton of people to get ready to host a Super Bowl party – and you are one of them. How did I know? No, I’m not psychic – the article is called “The 6 Keys to Hosting a Successful Super Bowl Party.” Chances are pretty high that you are hosting one.

It seemed like a pretty simple task a month ago when you told all your friends to come by your place to watch the game, but now that it is crunch time, you realize that there is a lot riding on this. The Super Bowl is no joke, and in less than 48 hours, people will be showing up at your door expecting a legit Super Bowl party. What do you do?!

Snacks

Football Snacks

The centerpiece of any good Super Bowl party is the snack table. And while some people like to go all out and make little football shaped cookies or cupcakes with the different teams’ colors, at its core, that is not what football snacks are about.

A great Super Bowl snack table has three main components – chips, dips, and something to put them on. Since you probably don’t want to wash a million plates the next day, this is one of those times when it is okay to go disposable.

As for the snacks themselves, the pre-made stuff is easy, so take care of that first. Get an assortment of chips – everything from plain tortilla chips to Lay’s Southern Biscuits and Gravy potato chips (yeah, they’re real). Hell, even throw in a bag of pretzels if you are feeling twisty.

And for dips, if you are feeling ambitious you can make your own guac, salsa, or onion dip. I, however, will opt for the jars because my kitchen will be too preoccupied with the next step – real food.

Food

Super Bowl Sunday football party celebration food

Yes, this is different than the snacks. This is the piece everyone is waiting for – the real, actual, stick-to-your-ribs food.

There are a lot of avenues you can take, and thanks to all the various diets and allergies that may be in attendance, it can be a bit of a minefield. A minefield that I am saying is on you to navigate. Ask all your guests beforehand if there is any food they cannot have, otherwise you are going to be stuck throwing down wings while your vegan friend Dave sits sadly in the corner sucking on a cashew.

After you figure out what your guests can and cannot have, here are some staples that are easy to make at home.

Mini Burgers

Just like regular burgers but mini. Get a few pounds of ground chuck, season it with salt and pepper, and form into little golf ball sized chunks. Preheat a pan (cast-iron works best) with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, gently place the burgers onto the pan, making sure not to crowd them (each burger should have an inch or so between it and any other patty). After 2-3 minutes, flip the burgers, smash them down into a patty shape, top with cheese (optional) and wait another 2-3 minutes. Place patties on halved dinner rolls and plate.

Wings

A staple of pretty much any Super Bowl party, but honestly not something I have ever made myself. There are DIY recipes all over (this one looks pretty tasty), but in my experience this is something you can just order a few dozen of from the local pizza joint. Speaking of…

Pizza

Get a pie. Hell, get two. You know people will eat them. And if not, left over pizza is a pretty great thing.

Sub

Ahh the big ass sandwich. This is one that you need to plan for. Definitely looks awesome on a snack table, but you are going to have to order this beast at least a day in advance (aka right now) and find a place to refrigerate it. We kept ours in the garage, but I understand that many garages are not ideal for storing savory deli meats and bread. If that is the case, a tray of sandwiches is easy enough, but it definitely doesn’t have the same panache as a human-length sandwich.

Beverages

super bowl party heineken beer

This one is easy – buy beer.

Worried about not having enough? Buy more. Not enough variety? Get different kinds!

It is not my place to tell you how to buy your beer. If your friends are craft snobs, they’ll do it for me. However, if we are asking what I will be getting, I think this mix fills a cooler nicely:

12pk Heineken (bottles)
30pk Miller Lite (cans)
12pk craft brew variety pack

I’m not sure where you are reading this from, but every state has at least a few decent breweries, and most of them do a variety 12pk. From Magic Hat to Lagunitas, there is guaranteed to be something in that case for your friend who rides his fixed gear bike everywhere.

If you think you’ll need more than the two cases, like I said earlier, get whatever beer you want. And if the guests don’t like it they can settle for Pepsi.

Oh, yeah, also get soda.

Seating

superbowl party

How many people can comfortably sit around your TV and watch something? 6? Maybe 8? Okay, now how many people can uncomfortably sit around your TV?

If you are going to invite someone to watch the Super Bowl, chances are they were expecting to sit down somewhere, not lean up against your bookcase or sit indian-style on the rug. Get folding chairs or invite less people. Those are the only options. Period.

Keep Diehard Fans Separated

superbowl party

If you are in Atlanta or New England, this will probably not be an issue. Everyplace else, if you know that you have one friend coming over head-to-toe in Julio Jones swag and another pal decked out in Brady, it is probably in the best interest of the party for you to make sure they keep it civilized. Super Bowls can get heated, and if you did your beverage job right, there is a chance a simple disagreement over a penalty flag could devolve into a drunken wrestling match behind the sofa.

A simple solution is to keep their plates and mouths full of chips and wings. If that fails, at least tell them to take it outside. This one is kind of out of your hands to begin with, but always something you should keep on your radar.

Which reminds me…

Prepare for a Mess

superbowl party

If you have done everything up until now, your house is full of beer, saucy foods, crumbly chips, and rowdy people. Which is great, until you wake up on Monday and realize that your entire living room is covered with a thin film of salsa and beer-sweat.

My advice – cover every surface and stow all your perishables. Put a slip over the sofa, a table cloth over every table, and your xbox in the bedroom. Also, only use disposable plates and cups. This way, when you wake up, you can just rip the covers off everything, toss it over your shoulder like a hobo with his bindle, and chuck it in a dumpster.

No scrubbing for this guy!