September means NFL season and all the fantastic and fun activities you can organize around the football season with your family, friends, and coworkers.
If you’re a fan of entertaining and hosting, this time of year is the perfect opportunity to create a man cave or area in your home geared toward entertaining during the football season. Host watch parties, create a fantasy football draft at home for your friends and family, hold an NFL cookout in your backyard, or put together a family-friendly backyard football game to get in the season’s spirit.
Creating the perfect NFL mancave
If you’ve been looking for the perfect reason to create a mancave at home, look no further. NFL season is upon us, and it gives you the perfect reason to bring together all your favorite sports-related paraphernalia, tech, and the comfiest furniture to create the ultimate football-watching experience.
If your home has an unfinished basement, a bonus room, or even extra garage space, this can be the perfect area to create your man cave for NFL games or other sport events. If you’re extra dedicated and have the space, you can even have an addition put onto your home or build a shed or dedicated man cave in your yard.
The furniture you put into your man cave isn’t just about comfort – it’s got to have style, too. Your furniture and the layout will be a big part of creating the best experience possible.
The most important feature of the room is your TV and home theater. The perfect TV for your man cave will depend on the size of space you have to work with and how close or far away your seating will be from your TV. You might have a 10-foot-long wall available to mount a TV, but if your couch or seating is only three feet away from the TV, you’re going to end up with an awkward viewing experience.
Make it amazing
Once you have the basics nailed down, it’s time to consider the elements that’ll make your man cave this NFL season’s place to be.
- Audio – Take some time to research the best home theater or surround sound system for your space. Depending on the angles of the room and the overall size, the type of system that works best will vary based on your specific room.
- Decorate – Chances are you already have at least a few sports-related items for decorating your man cave. Some great items that will add a perfect sports bar vibe to your space are neon signs with team or league logos and sports memorabilia. If you’re really looking to upscale your man cave, have posters or printed artwork framed and grab a couple of art lamps from an online retailer to hang over top of them on your wall. These inexpensive lights are battery-powered, easy to install, and will give your man cave the feel of a sports museum.
If you really want to go the extra mile but decorating isn’t your strong suit, you can always hire an interior designer in your area to knock your man cave design out of the park.
- Games – Nothing adds to your man cave more than having gaming consoles, a pool table, a poker table, an air hockey table, or a jukebox to lend the ultimate sports bar vibe to your game day extravaganza.
Hosting the ultimate NFL party
You’ve probably been to some average NFL parties and some that really stood out in your mind as amazing and memorable. The next section will explain some of the key things that take an NFL party from forgettable to unforgettable so you can host the ultimate watch party or draft party.
Setting up the room
The room – Choosing the right room is the first step to ensuring your guests have a great space where they can mingle, cheer, and watch the game comfortably. If you have a man cave, that might seem like a logical place, but remember to consider how many guests you’ll be expecting and whether they’ll all be able to sit and watch comfortably in that space.
It’s always an option to open up multiple spaces within your home if you can simultaneously show the game in each room. If your man cave fits eight people comfortably but you were expecting 12 or 15 guests, consider showing the game in both your man cave and your living room and allowing everyone to mingle back and forth between rooms.
The A/V – Nothing is worse than when you’re trying to get into the spirit of the game but you can’t hear the commentary properly. Make sure you test your home theater system and TV well before game day so there aren’t any glitches or unexpected issues when everyone arrives.
The decor – Even if you don’t have a dedicated man cave for NFL season, you can still get in the spirit of the season by gathering all your football-related paraphernalia, like jerseys, blankets, scarves, pillows, T-shirts, posters, and signed memorabilia. Keep it together so that you can easily set it up when game day arrives so that everyone gets into the spirit.
Your stuff – Before your guests arrive, cast an eye around the space you’ll be hosting in and remove any breakables or valuables. The last thing you want is a broken picture or decorative piece in your home to dampen the mood.
Get the food ready!
- Snacks – Aside from the game, the food is one of the most fun parts of NFL watch parties. Don’t be that host with just a few bags of chips and dip when you can get creative with fun football-inspired snacks.
- Making something like a buffalo chicken dip is quick and easy, with tons of online recipes for you to choose from. Serving this in a slow cooker on a warm setting means your guests will have fresh and warm snacks throughout your party. The classic cocktail meatball is always a good bet, and if you really want to step things up, search for football-inspired charcuterie boards. Your game snacks will be all over your friends’ Instagram pages.
- Drinks – Never has there been a better time for batch-made drinks than an NFL watch party or fantasy football draft. No matter your taste in drinks, you’ll easily find recipes online so you can pre-make a large number of beverages. Pop them into a serving container and have a great alternative to the classic beer fridge.
Socializing space – Some of your guests may not be as dedicated to football as others, and some may be there just for fun. It’s important to create a separate space for socializing so your guests can feel like they’re a part of the fun without interrupting those who are laser-focused on the game.
Kid-friendly areas – Similar to creating a space for socializing, it’s important to remember to designate an area for children. Giving them a designated space with kid-friendly food and entertainment – and maybe even a hired babysitter – means that the grownups can relax and their kids will have a great time.
Kick off the party!
By the time game day rolls around, have everything ready and organized so you can enjoy both the game and the experience. You’ll want plenty of time to watch and visit with friends instead of troubleshooting and continuously running back and forth to the kitchen to refill food and drinks.
A great way to ease some of your game day stress is to enlist the help of a couple of friends ahead of time or entice your teenage children with an advance on their allowance to help you during the game.
Hosting a great football cookout in your backyard
The backyard cookout is one of the great joys of the early football season. Everyone loves a great backyard barbecue, and the added excitement of an NFL game day brings extra spice to a classic fan-favorite event.
Prep the field – Have your backyard space well laid out and ready for your guests. This will help create the perfect cookout experience and keep you less stressed on the day of so you can enjoy spending time with your guests instead of feeling frantic.
Here are a few things you can do ahead of time to ensure your cookout goes as smoothly as possible:
- Seating – Make sure you have enough seating for everyone, especially if there will be young children or seniors present who may find eating while standing more difficult.
- Extra table space – A patio table is great, but it’ll make your life easier if you have a second table for buffet-style serving. A folding table with an NFL-inspired tablecloth is a great way to give you extra space and contribute to the theme of the day.
- Clean lawn – If you have a dog or other outdoor pets, take a moment before your guests arrive to clear the lawn of any stinky piles that could potentially be stepped in. You don’t want pet excrement to be tracked from your yard through your home by an unwitting guest.
Suit up – Once your outdoor space is organized, it’s time to start prepping the essentials you’ll need for a successful cookout.
- Grill – Make sure your grill is prepped, clean, and big enough to accommodate food for everyone so it doesn’t take an overly long time for all guests to have something to eat. If you’re having a larger crowd, consider asking a friend to bring their grill over as well. That way, you’ll be able to serve your guests twice as fast.
- Meat Smokers – To start preparing true fall-off-the-bone game day appetizers, you’ll need to prepare your smoker ahead of time. A little light oil on the interior and running it for a full cycle before the big day will help to ensure the only fires that happen will be on the field.
- Fuel – The last thing you want is to be all set to go and realize that you’re low on propane or charcoal.
- Utensils – Get those barbeque utensils sparkling clean and ready for your cookout. If you have guests with any allergies or special preferences, make sure you have an extra set of utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
- Napkins – There can never be too many napkins at a barbecue. Inevitably, things will spill, children will get sticky, and tons of napkins will always be appreciated.
- Condiments – Avoid that last-minute race into the house once your meat is ready by bringing out all of your condiments ahead of time. Have spoons or tongs ready to use.
- Garbage/ compost/ recycling bins – Save yourself the headache of cleaning up debris from all over your yard post cookout. Bring out garbage, recycling, and compost bins and have them clearly labeled for your guests.
Preparation is key – Like a great player prepping for the season, you can level up your cookout game by having everything as prepared as possible before your guests arrive.
- Meat – Burgers, hotdogs, chicken breasts, and grilled veggies can all be prepared even a day in advance so they’re ready to go on the grill.
- Meat alternatives – It’s a great idea to email your guests ahead of time asking if anyone has any current dietary preferences or allergies. You don’t want to find out at the last minute that somebody is newly keto or Paleo.
- Toppings – Aside from the regular refrigerator condiments, burger toppings like lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and cheese can all be prepped the day before.
- Sides – Choosing easy sides to prep in advance will save you a ton of time on the day of your cookout. Classics like macaroni or potato salad will bring that traditional vibe.
- Dessert – Don’t feel like you need to go all out for a dessert. If you or someone in your house is a great baker, there are tons of great inspiration recipes for football-themed desserts. If not, a store-bought ice cream cake always goes over great, and many places will decorate these with your favorite team colors or logo.
- Drinks – Drinks are something that you can have prepared during the week so your weekend is less hectic and full of errands. Make sure you have a good selection of nonalcoholic and kid-friendly beverages as well as the cookout classics.
Organizing a game of football in your yard is a great way to help family, friends, and neighbors get in the NFL season spirit. You’ll be on your way to a new family tradition with a few easy prep tasks.
- Set up – Make sure your yard space is the right size and shape for a friendly game of touch football. If it feels a bit small, think about relocating to a nearby park or field. Take some time ahead of game day to mark out important areas of the field so you’re ready when your enthusiastic players arrive.
- Share the rules – There are many variations on touch football rules, so decide ahead of time what version you’ll be playing. Share those rules before game day with your guests.
The NFL season provides many great opportunities to bond with your friends and family and make new connections and friendships with like-minded fans. Not every game you are able to secure football tickets, instead, you can gather with friends in your home or backyard. Playing football-themed activities is the perfect way to enhance your overall enjoyment of the NFL season. It’s also a great way to spend time bonding with friends and family and creating new traditions for years to come.