Football season is upon us, and the attitude I’m choosing to adopt this year is, If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, so I asked Tracy Sandler, the Founder and CEO of Fangirl Sports Network (FGSN), to give us her tips on how to kick off the season like a pro. So get the beer ready and impress your friends with your super-fandom this season.

The best time of the year is right around the corner, and no, I don't mean the holidays. It's time for the 2019 NFL season! We all know that one of the most fun aspects of football games are what I call watch parties, and I'm here to give you my top 7 tips on how to throw the most excellent NFL Kick-Off Party of all-time. You'll be the hottest ticket in town. 
— Tracy Sandler

Ashley Burns Photography

Ashley Burns Photography

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1. Pick Your Game Day Décor
A theme always adds just a little more sparkle to any party, and I am all about the sparkle. You can find adorable football-themed plates, black-and-white striped napkins (to look like a referee), a football field table runner, and everything you could ever need at Party City (or on Amazon). If you want to rep your team with your drinkware, face paint, etc., they have you covered there as well. Balloons are also a great way to jazz up any theme. I recommend balloons in your team colors (always buy in odds), or even the big letter balloons spelling out your team name.

2. A Friendly Wager
Even the most casual football fan will stay engaged if there's a wager involved. Keep it light and friendly by having your guests pick the first team to score, who will have the most rushing yards in the first quarter, or how many times they show Gisele (if you're watching the Patriots, and many of you probably are). And have prizes! A SoulCycle gift card is an excellent way to burn off the game-day stress (and treats!). 

3. Drink Up
I'm a big fan of a cocktail showdown. Hosting a Thursday Night Football party week one? Get craft beers specific to Chicago and Green Bay, or serve up a Trubisky Martini vs. The Aaron Rodgers Old-Fashioned. You don't have to get fancy with ingredients. It's all in the naming. Don't forget to have options like seltzer, soda, or even 'mock-tails' for those guests who enjoy a more sober football experience.

4. Good Eats
Drinking without eating is never good — like ever — but you don't want to miss the game because you're cooking all day. Make it easy on yourself! Taco bars are a hit at any party. Cook up your meat of choice, and then put out all of your toppings so your guests can make a plate whenever they're hungry. Don't forget the chips and guac though. That would be a severe penalty. For dessert, I recommend custom helmet or football-shaped cookies. Those are always a hit! 

5. Be Tech-Savvy
Obviously, you need your TV to work, but a good hostess will also make sure the Wi-Fi is on point, and there are a couple of extra phone chargers around. Fantasy football is stressful enough without having connection issues and lack of juice.

6. Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture
We've all perfected the iPhone selfie by now, but sometimes, you have to take it old school. Get a polaroid camera (or two!) and leave it out so guests can snap photos of themselves, your décor and your food spread. Don't worry, you can still totally make a little collage out of it that you can post to Instagram. It's also fun for your guests to have a tangible, printed picture to take home after your party and remind them of how much fun they had. 

7. Knowledge is Power
Last, but certainly not least, brush up on your NFL knowledge before the game. Nothing will impress your guests more than when during the first TV timeout, you say, "It sure is good to see Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon back after ACL injuries. Their absences really affected what could be a dynamic Kyle Shanahan offense for the 49ers. Anyone need a drink?" Enjoy the season, Fangirls!

about tracy

Tracy Sandler is the Founder and CEO of Fangirl Sports Network (FGSN), which is a rapidly growing digital media company for female sports fans that delivers weekly news updates, commentary about professional sports teams, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at accomplished women making waves in the sports industry. Tracy began as 49ers Fangirl in 2015, bringing fans the latest news and behind-the-scenes action for her beloved San Francisco team. This led to her becoming a member of the 49ers' press corps, where she reports live from the field and the locker room, attends press conferences and covers community outreach events. In just four short years, Tracy has grown the FGSN network to include representation for all 32 NFL and 30 NBA teams.