Tailgate Heroes: How to Party for the Big Game

Sunday is the conclusion of another great football season — and one of the biggest party days of the year. Beyond the big game itself, everything from the commercials to the halftime show is a cultural event that we share with family and friends.

Back in August, we introduced you to our Tailgate Heroes, who offered gameday tips all season long. We went back and asked them to provide some tips on throwing a big-time party for the big game. Here’s what they had to say:

Johnny Marinade is the unofficial leader of the Tailgate Heroes. Although primarily known for his grilling skills, Johnny is excellent cook in the kitchen as well.

Tip: Keep it simple: “Don’t prepare food that will have you in the kitchen all day. This party won’t be fancy, so make sure the food is greasy and indulgent — wings, pizza and sandwiches. Finger foods are vital and give your guests plenty of options like crackers, dips and cheeses.“

Next we go to Sally Saucendip. Sally loves to coordinate parties and is here with some easy and effective advice.

Tip: No sit-down dinners: “I would recommend a buffet style set-up. After all, it’s the biggest game of the year; no one wants to be sitting around a table! Another thing, have plenty of extras. Paper towels, bottle openers, coolers, bowls and chairs — you’ll always need more than you think.”

Up next is Bartt Endar, aka “The Hydrator.” As can be expected, Bartt’s tip pertains to beverages.

Tip: Stay cool: “There’s a time and place for cocktails with artisan-crafted bitters and olives that you personally, painstakingly stuffed with blue cheese. But for the big game, stick with beer. And nothing ruins a party faster than lukewarm beer, so remember to pick up a few bags of ice from the supermarket. This isn’t rocket science.“

Although Fantasy Football season is over, Penn Sille still wants to catch every play. Given his love of technology, we’re not surprised with is tip:

Tip: Go big for the big game: “Were you thinking about buying a TV anyway? Like Ferris Bueller said, ‘If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.’ More than 7.5 million households will buy a new television this week, compared to 5.1 million last year, and there are great deals to be had. Don’t make your guests squint; pick one that’s 55 inches or bigger — and 4K, if you can swing it.”

Hans Frea is still trying to learn our version of football and often finds it difficult to watch an entire game. He’s here with some advice for the more casual fan.

Tip: Make it fun for everyone: “Some of us want to come to the party, but we don’t care about the game. Have an area where we can socialize, play cards, shoot pool or watch other things on TV, like … how do you say … the soccer!”

Chuck Steak is old school. That much we know. He also likes to play the odds so to speak.

Tip: Pick props prudently: “There are hundreds of prop bets now; most of ‘em are for people who don’t know a football from a fedora! How long the national anthem will be, whether the coin toss comes up heads or tails, what color sports drink will get dumped on the winning coach … get outta here!!! They’re all ripoffs. Except for the over/under on ribs I’ll eat during the game. Vegas has it at 12. Take the OVER!”

Jim Shue likes to pump iron and relive his high school glory days. He’s also very health conscious.

Tip: Have some healthy alternatives: “Look, I understand it’s a party. But it’s not an excuse to eat whatever you want. Don’t forget some healthy alternatives, like apple slices or carrot sticks. And watch your blind side; various dips and dressings contain far more calories than you think. Limit portions or serve fat-free or low-fat dips and dressings.”

Gimme an “S” — or two of them, actually, for Summer Saultz. Win or lose, she’s here to lighten up the party and make sure fun is maximized.

Tip: Show your spirit: “YAAAAY, parties! Make sure to have some fun football themed decorations. A nice touch would be Tervis drinkware with football designs. And don’t forget the most important tip of all. Whether your team wins or loses, make sure to have a blast, you guys!”

— Courtesy of our Tailgate Heroes, as interviewed by Al Montone