NFL Playoffs: Tailgating Tips That Will Score Big
The Patriots host the Broncos in a Divisional Round playoff game. Plus the Saints, 49ers, Ravens, Texans, Packers and Giants are all in action this weekend. Here are some at-home tailgating basics, so the whole family can have fun while watching football.
We’ve reached the Divisional Round of the National Football League playoffs and only eight teams are left standing, including our hometown Patriots.
The Patriots host the Denver Broncos Saturday night (8 p.m.) and prior to that, New Orleans plays at San Francisco (4:30 p.m.). On Sunday, Houston plays at Baltimore (1 p.m.) and Green Bay hosts the New York Giants (4:30 p.m.)
So, with four big football games on slate for this weekend, here are some at-home tailgating tips to help add to the playoff excitement:
* Patriot Pancakes
- Make your favorite recipe of pancakes (mine is instant)
- Pour batter, small portions at a time, in a plastic baggie or pastry bag.
- Cut a small corner off and allow the batter to pour out slow enough to spell out, L-E-T-S-G-O-P-A-T-R-I-O-T-S.
- Top with Blueberries, Strawberries and powdered sugar to show even more team pride!
Hit the Gridiron:
Work off some of the days anticipated calories. While a simple game of catch will burn a few, try one of these to get the whole team involved…
- Play Flag Football (iParty, $13.99) - a game easy enough for the youngest rookies to understand and for the veterans’ bodies to handle. (Extra Point-play Touch Football instead, it’s FREE).
- Field Goal Contest- Using PVC pipe or pool noodles, you can make your own goal post and let everyone have a turn being the kicker. For directions to make a goal post, http://familyfun.go.com/playtime/sports-athletic-games/ball-games/backyard-goalpost-707275/.
Serving thematic drinks keeps every one in the spirit even if the score isn’t in our favor…
- Water out of a “jug” style cooler (just don’t let anyone dump it on your head-no matter how well the game goes!)
- Bottles of Gatorade or other energy drink
- Touchdown Iced Tea
- Hail Bloody Mary
Basic At Home Tailgating Rules…
A few rules/violations so no one is left saying, “What did I miss?”
- The “Disposable Dish Only” Rule
- The “As Easy” Rule - Food should be as easy to eat as it is to prepare.
- Keep kids busy with projects that are easy enough for them to do independently and are just as easy to clean up. (Cover the table with a vinyl table cloth; put out materials like crayons and markers in team colors; Foam Art or felt coloring pictures; sports stickers and activity books)
- 30 Minute Violation-Serving anything that takes over 30 minutes to prepare
*Knute Rockne said, “Football is a game played with arms, legs and shoulders but mostly from the neck up.” Rockne, obviously, understanding the importance of tasty tailgating, would surely approve of the following cookbooks...
- ESPN Gameday Gourmet by Pableaux Johnson
- NBC Sunday Night Football Cookbook
- The Tailgater’s Handbook by Joe Drozda
- Football Food by Kellie Lawless and Maili Brocke
- Handy Mom’s Guide: Grilling by Catherine Mayhew
Expecting a crowd?
Joe Namath referred to football as a “game about sharing.” He also tried to kiss a sideline reporter, but that’s a different story. Anyways,
- Don’t hog the ball. It’s okay to hand-off some snack making to your guests. (Just be sure that you have adopted the “awkward public kiss penalty”!)
- Less work for you, means more time to rest on the bench (a.k.a. cozy sofa)!
Again, it is always good to keep the kids busy so the adults can actually enjoy watching the game. So if you want your Football Sunday to go into Overtime, here are some ways to entertain a crowd of all ages.
- Score big with the kids with minimal prep
- Preheat the oven
- Tape waxed paper to the table
- Put a small amount of flour on the waxed paper
- Give each child a big scoop of Ready-Made sugar cookie dough ($7.99 at B.J.s)
- Leave rolling pins, cookie cutters and sheet pans on the table
- Cookie cutters can include, footballs, sneakers, flags, letters to spell their favorite team, etc.
- Instruct the kids to put the cookies on the pans when they are done cutting them out.
Stories to share with the kids:
- Let’s Go Patriots! By Aimee Aryal
- T is for Touchdown, A Football Alphabet by Brad Herzog
Books for Grown-ups (Just in case the team isn’t doing that well):
- How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too! By Sal Severe, Ph.D.
- Stress Control by Steve Bell