Big Game

How To Have A COVID Safe Big Game Party

Jason Hewett January 26, 2021

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My friends and I are used to having socially distant Big Game celebrations at home. We were unlucky enough to be born into being fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, which are not exactly one of the league’s premiere teams in terms of winning, and to make matters worse, their fanbase has a reputation for being… unruly…

If you think I’m kidding, when the Eagles won their first ever Big Game in 2018, there were literally riots in the streets. This is why we distance ourselves from the chaos that ensues when Eagles fans gather in numbers by having small gatherings at home with activities that can get the whole family into the action–even the ones who don’t like football.

It’s looking like we’ll be doing the same thing in 2021 while we wait for the vaccine to roll out like the Philly Special trick play that won the game. But just because we gather virtually doesn’t mean we’re going to have any less fun. Here are some unique game time activities to kick off your Big Game celebration:

Kosher Football Themed Food

Kicking off the list with appetizers, which are always the first thing on my mind. Number one crowd pleaser is a Big Game Charcuterie Ring, which is a delicious pastry that can be made with vegetables and mushrooms and or meat inside.

I also like to make hasselback sausages, which are a Big Game party staple with a literal twist, and I like to serve them with Koftas, which look like footballs, don’t they?

I always love a colorful Kebab or salad, and for the Big Game I try to see if I can make them in the colors of opposing teams. As you wait for your kebab to cook, pay attention to what colors seem to stand out more – it might be a sign of which team will win!

An Awards Ceremony

My family is divided by those who love football and those who do not, but we bring everyone together for a good laugh with our annual award ceremony.

1. Everyone gets a sheet of paper with categories written on them. The categories range from things like best costume to most impressive athletic feat, etc. You can nominate anyone you see on the screen for the categories – coaches, players, announcers, actors, performers, fans, mascots – anyone! (For Zoom, put the categories in the group chat and have each participant private message you their nominations.)

2. Nominees are presented after the halftime show. Everyone must then vote for the nominees and turn in their ballots at the end of the third quarter.

3. Winners are announced at the end of the game. You can keep kids busy by having them count votes, draw trophies, or write their own critiques.
Here are some category suggestions – the sillier the better!

Super Stoked Award – for the most excited person you see on TV

Tearjerker Award – for anything (usually a commercial) that hits you in the feels

Pirate Captain – a football player who most closely resembles a pirate

Greatest Catch – a player who makes a great catch, or someone who looks like a great catch!

MegaMench Mark – A commercial with a great message or someone being a good sport

Be sure to have a prizes on hand for the winners!

Paper Football Games

Paper football games are always a surprise hit for kids and adults of all ages, but I have to warn you that if you have a competitive family, paper football games might make you forget to watch the real game!

You will need:

  • a few sheets of paper
  • empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • tape
  • an empty pizza box (optional, the lid will help you easily collect footballs)
  • a dish towel (optional, this is your “grass”)

To make a paper football, fold a sheet of paper into a square and then fold the opposite edges to form a triangle. Repeat until you’ve reached the desired size, and then secure the edges with tape. Feel free to decorate your football however you like!

The simplest way to make a paper football field goal is to arrange your paper towel rolls in the shape of the letter H. The vertical pieces should be about twice as long as the connecting piece, roughly six inches between them, but you can make the goal as wide or narrow as you like. You can secure the “beams” together with tape or cut slits into the vertical beams so that the horizontal piece can be inserted between them.

Once you’ve set up your field goal post, place it in the middle of the open pizza box. The lid acts as your “net” to catch the paper footballs. Place a cup behind the goal post – if someone gets their paper football into the cup, they get bonus points.

To “kick” a paper football, hold the triangle upright resting on a flat surface with the index finger of your non-dominant hand. Then walk your “kicking” hand back three to four steps and flick with your index or middle finger. It’s not essential that you “walk” or “run” your hand into the flick, just make sure NOT to hold the paper football at the edge of the table, so that you don’t accidentally flick the edge of the table. I recommend using some sort of towel or cushioned surface so that if you flick the table you don’t hurt your fingers.

To make the game more challenging, try kicking your paper football into a cup or mug, or have someone move the target! You can also simplify the game by making the object of the game to kick the paper football past a line.

Try Another City’s Football Food

Every football family has a chili recipe, but I feel like the real star of any Big Game show is regional football food. My friend David likes to look up regional recipes from the contending teams, so last year he made Kansas City-style brisket and Boston-style baked beans. Since the 2021 teams have yet to be determined, I’ll use Philadelphia as an example of what I plan to do this year (and every year) because it’s always a hit: hoagies, steak sandwiches, and pretzels.

In the Philadelphia region, “hoagie” is an all-encompassing term for the type of sandwich that I suppose most other Americans would call a “sub.” Traditionally, hoagies are made with local Italian bread and filled with Italian cold cuts, cheese, and fresh vegetables; Kosher varieties usually feature corned beef, mayonnaise, peppers, lettuce, pickles, and tomato. You can also get a vegetarian hoagie or pastrami with sauerkraut and mustard. Hoagies can be eaten cold or toasted – my mom likes to build the sandwich, lettuce and all, and then toast it, while others prefer to only toast the bread.

Steak sandwiches are the kosher version of a Philly Cheesesteak. Fry thin strips of steak in olive oil with sliced onions and mushrooms until golden brown, then open up that Italian roll and pack it well. Any sort of peppers will also go well with a steak sandwich, and for those who are so inclined, so does ketchup.

Philadelphia is known for its soft pretzels, and having them while watching the game at home reminds me of being in the stadium. Check out this recipe for making soft pretzels.

Speaking of stadium food, and while Chanukah is still fresh in our memories, you’ve got to try this recipe for latke dogs. Like soft pretzels, they’re great with mustard.

And for those who can’t go without nachos, you can go dairy free with these salami nachos and vegetarian with shakshuka nachos.

Enjoy the Games

Who knows when (if ever) the Eagles will make it back to the Big Game? Regardless, there’s always a game to enjoy, whether it’s on the screen or around the living room. Here’s to a safe and fun Big Game for everyone!