It’s February, which means that it’s time once again for the biggest event of the year. That magical moment when, amidst the cries of thousands of fans, the two best teams in the NFL march triumphantly down the dark tunnel and out onto sunlit grass where, if they see their shadows, we get six more weeks of winter.
No, what really happens next depends on who you are. It will either be the pulse pounding, nail biting culmination of months of heartbreaking losses and exuberant wins, or it will be a three hour social event punctuated by watching entertaining commercials and, maybe, an instant replay or two. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of football or just a fan of good food and good company, the Super Bowl is for many people the party of the year. It’s time to go big or go home.
Getting Your Grub On
Games come and go, and in five years it’s unlikely anyone will even remember who won. What they will remember, though, is the fantastic spread you’ll be serving up. Pizza and chips are easy, but nothing embodies the essence of large men fighting over territory like a giant slab of smoked meat. The Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef Technology is the king of set it and forget it cooking. Insert the digital thermometer, choose from a number of pre-set recipes and settings, and let it go. The smoker will alert you at key times such as when it’s done preheating or when the food is nearly done, and will even compensate cooking times based on the outside temperature where you live. You can connect to the smartphone app and get real-time data like remaining time, meat temperature, or internal chamber temperature. Nothing wows a party crowd quite like barbecue, especially in the middle of winter, and with the Smart Chef technology of the Char-Broil smoker, you can keep an eye on your food while staying warm and toasty inside, tending to your guests.
“That sounds delicious! I bet that perfectly smoked rack of ribs or whole chicken would go great with this crappy beer I picked up for $8.99/case,” said no one, ever. Sometimes, though, it’s not your call. Uncle Steve says he’ll bring the beer and shows up with a case of Natty Light, what are you going to do? For making bad beer good, or making good beer better, check out the Fizzics Beer System and get fresh, draught beer taste from any store-bought beer. Your guests will marvel at the perfect head and enhanced flavor of both Uncle Steve’s beer water and that IPA you’ve been saving for this special occasion.
Watching the Game
You have two choices for viewing the big game. For pure quality picture you simply cannot beat a high quality TV like the LG 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Curved Smart OLED TV. Unless you’ve experienced one of these beauties for yourself, words can’t describe the stunning color and resolution from this display, and unless you’re ready to experience spending $3,000 on a television, there’s no point in trying anyway. However, for those of us who aren’t willing to drop the cost of a decent used car on a TV, there are still some fine quality 4K displays out there, including the LG 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV that you can pick up for for less than a grand on Amazon or on sale at Walmart for even less.
High quality is great, but sometimes you just want big. I mean massively huge. The kind you can have playing the game in the living room at the back of the house and people walking in the front door can tell what the score is. For sheer crowd-pleasing size, you need a good HD projector. You want one that is not only 1080p or better, but one that can be enjoyed without dimming the room to the point where Uncle Steve ends up tripping over a hassock and spilling his Natty Light all over the neighbor kid, which makes for an awkward conversation when his parent’s show up to pick him up. The Epson Home Cinema 1440 provides 4,400 lumens of color brightness and 4,400 lumens of white brightness, creating a crisp picture in even the brightest of environments.
Football-Related Entertainment With No TV Timeouts
And then there are just some people who don’t want to watch the game at all. Maybe your idea of a good football game involves people named Neymar or Ibrahimovic, or you prefer games with dice instead of balls, or you’re a Patriots fan and just want to sulk in the corner. Whatever the reason, you can still take advantage of this opportunity and throw your own version of a Super Bowl party.
Tabletop gamers can get in on the fun with games like 1st and Goal, a two person, or two team, game of dice rolling and football strategy. 1st and Goal offers the realistic strategy of football, but it lacks that raw brutal violence that makes it such a popular sport. Enter Dreadball.
With Games Workshop leaving Blood Bowl behind in their latest IP reboot, Dreadball is the futuristic successor to the no-holds-barred, win at all costs, Humans vs. Orcs vs. Zombies vs…whatever fantasy race they can find football-based bloodsport. Play is simple, but hard to master. You maneuver your team of minis to score and end up with a 7 point advantage over the other team to win the game. Problem is, your minis don’t reset between scores. So if your humans got turned into a bloody paste by your opponent’s Greenmoon Smackers on that last scoring drive, well then the tide is going to turn pretty quickly (speaking of tide, they’ve got a giant anthropomorphic robo-shark to add to your team – awesome). It’s a fast-paced game that you’ll want to start playing just for the minis alone. They don’t have some of that raw edge that made Blood Bowl stand out, but they fill the gap quite nicely. So if you wish there was a little more wanton death in your grudge matches, you’ll want to grab a copy off Amazon.
If you couldn’t quite decide between the 4K television and the projector, why not pick up both – one for watching the big game and one for playing your own. While John Madden may no longer be a part of football, his eponymous video game lives on as the penultimate football video game of all time*. Drag that Patriots fan friend of yours out of the corner and give his team a chance at redemption as you go head to head in your own Super Bowl on Madden 16. For those of you with an Xbox One, if you wait until February 2nd, you can get it free with a subscription to EA Access. For those on other platforms, or that don’t want to drop the $5/month for EA Access, it’s available today on Amazon for $39.99, or you can pick up earlier versions for half the price.
* Sorry Madden fans, this is still the greatest football video game ever!