Here It Is: NFL Opening Day

If the man in your life seems, well, distracted this week, I regret to inform you that it’s probably not because he’s preoccupied with getting a jump on holiday shopping. More likely, he’s thinking about the start of the NFL season tonight (the Dallas Cowboys are visiting the Super Bowl-champion NY Giants, a.k.a. a great excuse for a Mariah Carey-No Doubt double bill to break out live at Rockefeller Center).

The signs have been there. Season preview magazines on the coffee table, in the bathroom, and in his briefcase. Staying late at work to draft his fantasy football team. More references to Jason Witten’s spleen than usual.

Or perhaps you recognize these behaviors as your own. Either way, the NFL season is upon us. And with this symbolic shift to fall, we have you covered with the 10 tips and tricks you’ll need to make the most of this season:

1. Make sure you have the right cooking equipment. NFL football is not a three-hour pastime held after Sunday services. It’s a day-long event to be planned, executed, and savored. You don’t just whip out a bag of chips and some dip. Meats must be smoked. Wings must be deep fried. Hot ciders must be mulled. (Try this recipe from Bobby Flay.)

2. Invest in something cool to wear on Sundays. Sure, you could get the Rob Gronkowski jersey to support your favorite hunky tight end, but for added street cred, go for something vintage or throwback.  Distressed tees with the retired logo of your favorite team work really well. So, New England Patriots fans, just say “no” to Flying Elvis and invest in some Pat Patriot gear.

3. Apps, they’re more than just delicious. Enjoying television with a second screen – an iPhone®, iPad®, or other mobile device – is a virtual must for any football fan. Whether you want to track out-of-town scores and stats or just order a pizza for halftime, there are plenty of great apps to choose from.

4. Host a themed tailgate and “own it.” Social media maven and ESPN The Magazine writer Stephanie Bagley told me, “At my first apartment in New York City, we hosted Wine & Cake football Sundays. It randomly started from one person bringing cake and one person bringing magnums of wine to our first game watch. It was so random, it stuck.”

5. Read up. Ready to take a step up in football fandom weight class?  Then you’ll need to follow the football insiders. Peter King and Adam Schefter will take you inside the locker room. Bill Simmons writes fun and opinionated stuff from the average fan’s perspective. And Tom Curran is an up-and-coming writer with strong contacts and a great sense of humor.

6. Join a fantasy league with like-minded friends. You don’t need to be a superfan to have a fantasy football team. You just need a handful of friends and a cool team name (think: “Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza”). Start a fantasy league with friends of the same experience and interest level. Not only will it be a lot of fun, but it’s also a great way to learn some of the game’s finer points.

7. Enter your office “suicide” pool. What could be easier? Pick one winner each week and the prize money is yours. Hint: pick against Cleveland, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Minnesota this year and you should be in good shape.

8. Have a rooting interest in every game. There are at least three games on every Sunday (1PM, 4:15PM, and 8:30PM ET). So even when your favorite team isn’t playing, you’ll need a way to stay focused during 10 consecutive hours of television. Men do this by gambling. You can do this by identifying a handful of players on every team that you like (example: New Orleans Saints’ philanthropic quarterback Drew Brees).

9. Watch the game with your Tweeps. Twitter has fast become a great way to “watch” the game with other friends. Create a Twitter list of interesting people to follow along with. Here is a list of 30 people every NFL fan should follow on Twitter.

10. Shop. If the score of the Sunday Night game is a little lopsided, that may be a good time to check out the Sunday Night Styleathon.

Our Touchdown! Signed NFL Memorabilia Boutique is open now.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

September 5, 2012