8 essentials for a Monday Night Football watch party
Buffalo dip, Tagovailoa jerseys, and more!
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The New York Jets and Cleveland Browns took center stage in the NFL’s first Monday Night Football broadcast 50 years ago this month, and over the five decades since, MNF has become appointment viewing for millions across the country each week.
In fact, in 2019, Monday Night Football accounted for 16 of the top 20 broadcasts on cable TV, including a season-high 16.7 million viewers for the Seattle Seahawks’ overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 11.
Given some of the historic NFL moments that have taken place on Monday night — from Tony Dorsett's NFL-record 99-yard touchdown run in January 1983 to Steve Gleason's blocked punt in the Saints' return to the Superdome post-Katrina to the infamous "Fail Mary" game in September 2012 — it’s no wonder why fans tune in en masse, because the FOMO is real.
And with more people than ever opting to stay home this fall, there’s no better time to rethink your game day setup.
With that in mind, here are a few must-haves for the perfect Monday Night Football watch party, whether you’re gearing up for a socially-distant backyard bash or settling in for a party of one.
1. Monday Night Football-worthy screens
Don’t be the person who invites people over for the game and then asks everyone to circle around a tablet—that’s for when you’re watching the highlights in bed after everyone has left. For the main event, you’re going to need something big enough for guests to see, and you don’t have to break the bank to find a good TV if you’re in need of an upgrade.
That said, a screen can be too big for a room, so get something that’s sized appropriately for your space. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where the weather is comfortable, consider taking your party outside. There are some really great projectors that make outdoor viewing quick and easy after the sun goes down.
Get the LG C9 Series Smart OLED TV 65" at Amazon for $2,279
2. Audio and tech support
A football watch party isn’t meant to be quiet, and a soundbar will help amplify your event, both literally and figuratively.
Plus, the benefits of quality audio go well beyond football. What’s good for game day is great for movie night, too, so consider it an investment in your year-round TV-watching experience. The Yamaha YAS-209 rated as Reviewed's best overall soundbar in 2020, and the Sonos Arc is tremendous, as well.
However, the Polk Audio Signa S2 is a great value option if you're not looking to break the bank.
- Get the Sonos Arc at Amazon for $799.99
- Get the Polk Audio Signa S2 at Amazon for $179
- Get the Yamaha YAS-209 at Amazon for $349
3. Seating options
Having enough seating seems obvious, but not all living rooms are created equal.
Sometimes on-the-go seating is a must when it comes to hosting a few extra guests for a game. This is especially true if you spruce up your patio and take me up on that projector suggestion (and you should). Invest in an affordable set of folding chairs now and thank yourself later.
While you’re worried about where everyone else is going to sit, don’t forget about No. 1, either. If you’ve already got an easychair you love, spruce it up with a recliner cover with your favorite team logo.
Or, if you want to try a more unique seating experience, give the Moon Pod a shot—just try not to fall asleep during the game.
- Get the Folding Chair 4-pack at Amazon for $65.35
- Get the New York Giants Recliner Protector at NFL Shop for $34.99
- Get the Moon Pod at Moon Pod for $299
4. Party food
A watch party without food can’t call itself a watch party, and if you want your guests to stick around, you’ll want to keep them fed.
That said, you don’t have to spend the whole game in the kitchen making the snacks happen, either. With a good pressure cooker and a quality air-fryer you should be able to whip up a nice variety of party fixings ahead of time.
An outdoor setup featuring a barbecue grill can put you in the middle of the action.
As for what people like: At my house, we’ve been making the same buffalo chicken dip recipe for years. Friends always love it, and it’s so simple it hurts.
Take two blocks of cream cheese, a bag of shredded cheddar, a couple cans of Swanson chicken—or you can boil your own chicken breast—and some of your favorite buffalo sauce to taste. Then toss it in a stand mixer to shred the chicken and mix the ingredients, then cook it on 425°F in a brownie pan until it starts bubbling or the top starts to brown.
It’s not a very precise system, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
- Get the Instant Pot Ultra at Amazon for $149.95
- Get the Weber Spirit II E-310 gas barbecue grill at Amazon for $479
- Get the Wilton Perfect Results brownie pan at Amazon for $14.59
5. Chilled beverages
Regardless of your party drink of choice, it’s going to need a vessel, and most beverages have “best glasses” to be served in.
If anyone has specific cup needs, they’ll bring their own.
- Get the Yeti Rambler Tumbler at Amazon for $34.98
- Get the Yeti Rambler Colster at Amazon for $18.74
- Get the Yeti Rambler Colster Tall at Yeti for $29.99
- Get 16-ounce Disposable Plastic Cups at Amazon for $19.99
6. Fan wear
A good rule of thumb when it comes to apparel is that, if your favorite team can put a logo on it, they probably do.
Fanhood is big business, after all—particularly if you’re Miami Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa, whose jersey was the No. 1 and No. 2-selling jersey in the NFL this spring.
If you’re looking for a way to personalize the experience, you could also try out a custom jersey complete with your last name (or whatever else you think best captures your fanhood).
- Get the Miami Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa 2020 NFL Draft First Round Pick Game Jersey at NFL Shop for $99.99
- Get a Custom NFL Jersey at NFL Shop for $149.99
7. Alternative fun and games
This may be hard for some fanatics to hear, but not everyone at your party is there for the football game. Sorry. Facts are facts.
Give some thought to what you can get going for those not focused on kick-off time. If you’re outdoors and lighting is adequate, cornhole and ladder golf are a couple easy yard games that anyone can play.
When the party moves inside, don’t be afraid to bust out a board game.
8. Watch party gear
You know how it goes: You walk into Target to pick up a couple items and all of a sudden you just spent $87 and you don’t know how.
This is that trip—from bowls and plates to tablecloths and utensils. You need it all if you want your party to feel like more than any other Monday night.
If a simple setup is all you need, a festive football set is probably the way to go.
Another thing you won’t want to overlook: coasters. I keep these large silicone coasters handy because they’re a perfect, cheap solution to keeping drink rings off the furniture.
- Get the 162-piece Football Touchdown Party Set at Amazon for $31.99
- Get My Trendy Kitchen's Large Drink Coasters at Amazon for $14.97
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