Super Bowl Sunday is about so much more than just a football game. People that don’t even like football watch the game for the creative ads and the top quality talent in the half time show. And almost everyone likes to attend Super Bowl parties to hang with friends, eat yummy food and drink some beer or cocktails. In keeping with the game’s broad appeal, here are our best Super Bowl party ideas. You should be able to find something to please all your friends!
First, the basics
The Super Bowl is the most watched broadcast in the United States, by far. To put this in perspective, 28 of the 30 most watched TV broadcasts in US history were Super Bowls. The other two were the last episode of M*A*S*H (number 9) and the Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali fight (number 22). This is why the ad space is so valuable; running an ad on Super Bowl Sunday guarantees what can be a game changing amount of publicity. Probably the best example of this was in 1984, when Steve Jobs spent $800,000 on a one minute ad that introduced the Macintosh to the world. At the time, IBM was a dominant player in the business and Apple was just an upstart. The 1984 ad launched the Macintosh and changed all that.
When is Super Bowl Sunday 2022?
This year, the Super Bowl will be on Sunday, February 13 . It will start at 6:30 pm EST. You can watch it on NBC, or stream it on Peacock.
Which teams are playing?
Super Bowl LVI (Super Bowl 56) will feature the the Los Angeles Rams vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Interestingly, even though they will be playing in their home stadium, the Rams are considered the away team. This is because the AFC and NFC alternate which conference is the home and away team for every Super Bowl. The AFC is the home team for even-numbered Super Bowls, and the NFC is the home team for odd ones. That is why the Bengals, despite being nearly 2,200 miles from Cincinnati, will be the designated home team for Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.
Who is performing in the halftime show?
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar will take the stage for this year’s halftime show. Let’s hope there are no outfit malfunctions, like has happened in past years.
Where will the game be played?
This year, SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, will host the event. This super stadium just opened in September 2020 and can hold up to 100,000 guests.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s get started with our party ideas.
Traditional Super Bowl party
If your guests are die-hard football fans, you probably just want to take the traditional approach so they can fully focus on the game. In this situation, hearty finger foods or one pot dishes, like chili, are best for their ease of serving and that fact that they can be eaten at anytime. True football fans will likely use the commercial breaks to re-fill their drinks and use the restroom. They likely won’t want to be distracted from the game to have a big sit down meal.
Our favorite traditional food recommendations
Chili and nachos are basically no-brainers at a Super Bowl party. You can’t go wrong with nachos. We love this recipe from The Food Network– just don’t forget the guacamole! If you want something equally as hearty as chili, but want to add a little variety, you can make a pot of Jambalaya. Like chili, it’s a one pot dish. You can make it in advance and it’s easy to serve. If you have any Saints fans at your party, they will love it!
Classics like spinach artichoke dip, French onion dip and mac-n-cheese are easy crowd-pleasers. Although most people have a tradition of stuffing themselves on Super Bowl Sunday, you will likely have at least a few guests that will want something relatively healthy. We have two recommendations for you: Parmesan Kale Chips (you can make these in advance) and these amazing Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Pickle Chips with Smoky Mustard Mayo. These are both so good, your guests will likely overlook the fact that you dared to serve vegetables at your Super Bowl Party.
Traditional cocktail ideas
If you are throwing a party, we recommend making your life easy and serving one cocktail, beer, wine, sparkling water and something like kombucha for those that don’t drink, want to limit their alcohol consumption or are designated drivers. An excellent cocktail for Super Sunday is the Michelada. This is a Mexican recipe that contains beer, lime juice, hot sauce, spices and Worcestershire sauce. It goes perfectly with traditional Super Bowl eats and is relatively light, which will hopefully prevent people from imbibing too much.
This is a great activity for people that like to watch the game and those that like to bet. In summary, you get a giant piece of paper or whiteboard. Assign the rows to one team, and the columns to the other. Typically, the home team (in this case Cincinnati) goes on the top and the name of the visiting team is written on the left side. Randomly assign numbers 0 through 9 to each column, followed by doing the same for each row. Now each square represents a specific score in the game based on the column and row numbers.
Now, people write their name in the boxes. If you are betting, you can charge people however much money you want to write their name in a box. This money goes into a pool. Each box with your name in it represents a potential score. Most people check the scores four times: once after each quarter. The winner is determined by looking at the last number in each teams’ score, and then matching those numbers on the grid and seeing which square intersects those two numbers. See more detailed instructions here: How to Play Football Squares. The winner at the end of each of the first three quarters usually gets 10-25% of the final pool, and the winner at the end of the game gets the balance.
If you don’t want money changing hands at your party, you can give everyone Monopoly money or tokens. Alternatively, at the end of each quarter you can award party favors to the winners.
The “Mad Men” party
Did you know that more people watch the Super Bowl for the ads (22%) rather than the halftime show (16%)? In fact, 75% of Super Bowl viewers cite the ads as being a reason to tune in. This is particularly true for women and younger viewers. If you want to have a party for your girlfriends but don’t really care that much about the game, you can focus your party around the ads and halftime show.
With YouTube, it’s actually really easy to watch not just current ads, but past ones. If you have a smart TV, it’s just the matter of pushing a few buttons on the remote and searching for the ads you want to watch. If not, you can hook up a computer to a TV with an HDML cable. A really fun idea to do a few days before the game starts is to have people send links to a couple of their past favorite ads, and you can watch them together during the pre-game show. You can also have a contest to see who presents the funniest ad, cutest animal ad, etc.
2021 Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade: Last Year’s Lemons
Dress code for your ad party
This depends upon your guest list, but we recommend going full on “Mad Men.” You can encourage people to dress up in their favorite 1960s attire. For the women, think hats, pearls, brooches and pencil skirts. For the men, think narrow ties, crisp white shirts, thin ties and neutral colored suits.
What to serve
To start, you will want to have some classic cocktails: Manhattans, Whiskey Sours, Old Fashioneds and Martinis all feature in the original show. For something fun, after everyone gets their cocktails you can share Which Mad Men Character You Are, Based on What You Drink
Or. you could have a bar with different cocktail stations and have a photo next to each of them of the Mad Men character that it is associated with it.
For food, channel your inner Betty Draper and serve nibbles that are easy to eat and go well with cocktails. Here are some 1960s favorites:
- Shrimp cocktail
- Manhattan meatballs
- Ceasar salad
- Crudite (carrot and celery sticks, tomatoes, other raw vegetables) with French onion dip
- Mozzarella sticks
- Sliders (not really 1960s but easy to serve and eat)
Southern California party
Since the game will be played in Southern California this year, you can brighten up the cold winter days with a California/Los Angeles themed party.
Decorating your house with some fake palm trees will immediately make people think of California. String them with some tiny white lights to get everyone into the party feeling. If you are feeling crafty, you can make a Hollywood Sign to hang on the wall.
Hang a photo of a beautiful beach and borrow your kids’ skateboards to evoke that Southern California vibe. Bonus if you can find surf boards to decorate with!
Dress code for your Southern California party
There are lots of options here. You can go with a surfer vibe or have people dress up as their favorite movie stars. If you want to go more glamorous, ask people to dress up as their favorite black and white screen star.
What to serve
Avocados are a must! People from California are extremely proud of their avocados and put them everywhere. A simple guacamole with chips is a great was to get started. Add a tray of sushi, a burrito station and some cupcakes for dessert and you have got your bases covered. For a truly Southern California treat, order some Sprinkles Cupcakes online; they deliver nationwide.
For drinks, a selection of California wines or California made craft beers is an easy option. If you want cocktails, nothing says California like a pitcher of margaritas.
We hope you all have a wonderful Super Bowl celebration. Please stay safe out there!