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8 essentials for a Monday Night Football watch party

Buffalo dip, Tagovailoa jerseys, and more!

NFL Monday Night Football watch party Credit: Getty Images / fstop123

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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

LG's C9 series
Credit: Credit: Reviewed / Michael Desjardin

Reviewed's Editor's Choice Best Overall pick for television of the year is LG's C9 series, which delivers excellent OLED picture quality for watching Monday Night Football (and nature shows).

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

sonos arc
Credit: Reviewed/Jackson Ruckar

A football watch party isn’t meant to be quiet. A soundbar like the Sonos Arc helps amplify the big game and your event.

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.

3. Seating options

New York Giants recliner
Credit: NFL Shop

Show your allegiance to your favorite football team with an official armchair protector from the NFL Shop.

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.

4. Party food

instantpot
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Whip up a hearty chili or gooey dip in a pressure cooker like this top-rated Instant Pot Ultra.

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.

5. Chilled beverages

yeti colster tall boy
Credit: Yeti

Yeti's Rambler Colster Tall 16-ounce tall can insulator fits a bigger, craft beer can and keeps it frosty.

Regardless of your party drink of choice, it’s going to need a vessel, and most beverages have “best glasses” to be served in.

When I’m hosting a gathering, I’m partial to my Yeti rambler 30-ounce tumbler, although cheaper varieties of insulated cups are out there, and the difference between them isn’t huge.

If a frosty canned beverage is more your speed, the Yeti Colster will make sure you never take a room temperature sip. It also comes in slim and tall varieties.

As for your guests? Just set out a stack of plastic cups and a pack of Sharpies, and they’ll be set.

If anyone has specific cup needs, they’ll bring their own.

6. Fan wear

tagovailoa shirt
Credit: NFL Shop

Dress your best as a fan in a jersey from a favorite player, like Miami Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa.

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).

7. Alternative fun and games

ESPN cornhole
Credit: ESPN

For those not focused on kick-off time, cornhole is an easy yard game that anyone can play if you’re outdoors and lighting is adequate.

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.

Get the ESPN Official Tournament Size Cornhole Game at Walmart for $129.97

8. Watch party gear

coasters
Credit: My Trendy Kitchen

My Trendy Kitchen's oversized coasters are a perfect, cheap solution to keeping drink rings off the furniture.

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.

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