The NFL season kicks off Thursday with a matchup of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints — green and gold versus gold and black, fans donning their beloved cheese heads against the Aints, the Pack pitted against the Who Dats.
The start of this football season is all the more remarkable as just a few weeks ago we didn’t think there would be a season. But the owners and players worked through their differences, putting the games and fans above all else. So as the air turns cooler and the leaves start dropping, there’s only one thing left to say:
“Are you ready for some football?” Here are 8 ingredients of the perfect place to cheer on your team.
1. A space that’s not too large but not too small. If the space is too small it’ll be claustrophobic and people won’t enjoy — never mind being able to see — the game. If too large, the room will have the feel of one of those 75-percent-empty stadiums where the silence can be deadly.
2. Soundproofing. The sound will get turned up and there will be clapping, cries of anguish, cheers and more. So if the space isn’t in a bunker you’ll probably want to have lots of sound-absorbent materials such as fabric, carpet and curtains in your space. Of course, this all probably is at odds with having a room that’s easy to clean. (See point number 8.)
3. A great television or two. Something thin, flat and mounted to the wall. It should definitely be (ultra) high definition and with a terrific sound system. You’ll want to see every blade of grass and hear every tackle.
Tip: Don’t mount the television too high, as we don’t want a pain in our necks from watching. And don’t make it too small. A good rule, though not-cast-in-stone, is to use half the maximum viewing distance as the screen size (measured diagonally). So if the viewing distance is 8’, a screen size of 48” would work. (I tend to err on the larger size, so I’d go with a 56” set.)
4. Comfortable seating. Not the designer, “oh-my-this-chintz-fabric-is-to-die-for,” kind of seating, but the kind that’s durable, easily cleaned of spilled beer and nachos. Something that won’t make you won’t freak out if it gets damaged when a guest re-enacts that devastating, game-altering fumble. Materials like canvas that can be cleaned or leather that can be wiped down. And that old standby from the '70s — naugahyde.
5. A place for all that food. Let’s face it, what’s a football game without tons of food to nosh on? And it has to be finger food: pizza, wings, nachos and so on. No knives and forks to get in the way of cheering, fist bumps and high-fives. The ideal place for all that food is a countertop or large table within sight and sound of the game.
6. Beer here! Yes, there will be some partaking of libations. So having plenty of ice-cold beer and sodas close by is a must. An under-the-counter beverage center will do if there isn’t room for a full-size refrigerator.
7. Halftime break. Okay, everybody has been eating, drinking and watching the game for awhile. It’s time for a bathroom break, so a powder room nearby will come in handy. And maybe everyone will want to go outside, get some fresh air and throw the pigskin around, so easy access to the outdoors will keep the rest of the house from turning into a game-day mess.
8. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings (or at least until the mess is gone). A sink and dishwasher nearby will come in handy for the dreaded post-game cleanup. And though the ideal space would be easily hosed down, that’s probably impractical for most of us.
Tip:Surfaces that are easily washed down and mopped are key. Vinyl tile, linoleum and even hardwood are better options than carpet. One of my favorite flooring materials is cork as it’s easy to keep clean and the tiles are easily replaced if damaged. Another option, if the party space is in the basement, is stained concrete.