It’s football season, which means it’s time to don our best team-branded hoodies, bust out the slow cooker and gather the fellow fans. In order to have the very best game day experience—one where you’re comfortable, warm and well-fed well into the fourth quarter—you may want to do a little pre-game prep. It may not increase your team’s odds of securing the W, but it definitely will help ensure that you enjoy every minute of the game!
- Design Your Most Spirited Ensemble—Is it just us or is there something really fun about putting together game-day outfits? It’s one of those things you don’t get to do every day and, if you like a good challenge, it can be really exciting. The key to dressing for the big game is to blend creativity with comfort, warmth and team spirit, but when you get the formula right, you’ll feel like you deserve your own trophy. Here are a few tips for how to master it!
- Don’t be afraid to be subtle. With the right foundational items, such as solid-colored tees and casual dresses done in your team’s colors, you can easily capture team spirit in a more sophisticated way.
- Don’t be afraid to be flashy, either! This is one of those rare times in your life where dressing in an over-the-top manner is encouraged, so pile on the rhinestones, sparkles and temp tats as you see fit.
- Layer up. Being cold can ruin an otherwise enjoyable afternoon of football, so pack a jacket, pullover or wrap to toss on when it gets chilly.
- Wear comfy shoes. Your feet can get tired from all those hours of tailgating and trips to the concession stand, so rock the sneakers or flats.
- Plan a Tailgate-Ready Menu—Picking out game-day food is almost as exciting to us as planning our game-day attire, and with all the wings, bacon, snacks and beer, can you even blame us? Whether you’re throwing a party at home or prepping for the parking lot tailgate, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got plenty of tasty, tailgate-friendly treats to keep you going into overtime.
- Bring enough to share. Game day is about community and coming together, so make sure you can offer something to fellow fans.
- Handheld is best. Nobody wants to pack up a ton of wasteful single-use cutlery or silverware to haul to the tailgate! Stick to clean finger foods, like hot dogs, sliders, pinwheels, kebobs and dry-rub wings.
- Get friendly with the slow cooker. Fall in general is slow cooker season, but this gadget really comes in handy when you’re cooking for a crowd.
- Keep it healthy. Pepper in some veggies and plenty of protein to ensure that you don’t feel sluggish or sick in the first quarter.
- Bone Up on Your Stats—It’s just a fact: being clued in to what you’re about to see makes everything a lot more enjoyable, whether it’s a musical, a movie or the big game. We’re not saying you have to take a deep dive into the ESPN archives, but it helps if you know a couple of important facts before heading to the stadium. This one is extra important if it’s the first game of the season or if there’s been a recent trade. If you’re just going for the food, fun and comradery and don’t care about the actual game, that’s great, too! You can skip this step.
- Get to know the starting lineup. Find out who’s poised to be the season’s star(s) so you can keep an eye on them during the game.
- Know where your team stands. Will the outcome of this game affect the entire season? Does your team have a chance to make the playoffs?
- Learn about the coaches. The staff may change regularly, and staffing shifts are often big news, so stay abreast on this one.
- Know your team’s history. How many championships—if any—have they won? How long has it been since they made a playoffs appearance?
- Focus on Making it to the End—Professional football games only have an hour of actual game time, but the average time between the coin toss and the final buzzer is usually more than three hours, so you definitely want to make sure you’re awake, alert and having fun even if things are dragging into overtime. This can be a big challenge when you’re drinking and eating heavy foods all day, but there are definitely some things you can do to stave off the dreaded game-day fatigue.
- Drink lots of water. This one is vital if you plan to be drinking and don’t want to wake up in the morning with a hangover.
- Pace yourself. Eating, drinking, rooting at the top of your lungs—all of these things can take it out of you, so try your best to ramp up slowly.
- Get a good night’s rest. We know you’re excited, but nothing ruins a day of football quite like nodding off in the stands, so make sure you get a full night’s sleep the night before.
- Skip the bad foods. Steer clear of anything that may cause you to crash or make you feel sluggish, like energy drinks and fried food.
Most Importantly: Have Fun
Football games are an awesome excuse to get everybody together, whether you’re rooting along with your college roommates or taking your little one to his or her very first NFL game. As long as you keep the above tips in mind as you prep for the big matchup, you can bet this will be one to remember no matter if your team wins or loses!