Football Fan Grub Guide: Our Big Game Favorites

Big Game Football Grub Guide

Even for us, the Big Game is about more than just football. If our favorite team is playing, we’re generally less inclined to care about the food (since we know we’ll be too nauseous to eat), but in years like this, where our guys aren’t on the field, we have a few favorite go-to snacks.

Below you will find our favorite appetizers, along with links for recipes.

  • Buffalo Chicken Wings – Duh. Let’s start with the obvious here. We’re not even going to bother to share a recipe because our favorite wings are the ones our brother makes. He’s got a secret recipe that we can’t share. However, we will say that the trick is to leave them in the oven for a long time so you can enjoy crunchy goodness.
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip – Another obvious football game appetizer. There are so many variations of this, but our favorite recipe calls for shredded chicken breast instead of the canned stuff and ranch dressing instead of blue cheese. The recipe we linked is closest to the one we use, however, depending on the size of your party, we would probably cut the recipe in half.
  • Asian Ramen Slaw – The best thing about this recipe is that you can throw all the ingredients together the night before your party. The longer it sits, the better it tastes. It’s also a lighter side, so it’s a nice complement to all the heavier appetizers you typically see. Personally, we don’t add almonds or sunflower seeds, but it’s up to you if those ingredients tickle your fancy.
  • Veggie Pita Pizzas – These are the prettiest appetizer you’ll ever see. The biggest difference between the way we make these and the recipe described in the link is that we use pita bread. Not only do you cut out the process of baking crescent roll dough, but the pita is a healthier alternative. Use reduced fat mayo and cream cheese, and you have an almost guilt-free snack. Our favorite veggies to put on top are broccoli, cucumbers, and red, yellow, and green peppers. Even though carrots would probably look pretty, Michelle thinks carrots taste like pencils, so that doesn’t happen.
  • Peanut Butter Cheese Ball Football – If you haven’t discovered Buns In My Oven, you are missing out on one of the best food blogs of all time. Michelle made this peanut butter cheese ball for a football party a few years ago and guarantees that it’s easy and delicious. Use the recipe linked above to make the actual ball, but you should totally decorate it like this.

Check out other game day grub ideas we collected on our Pinterest board! What’s your favorite Big Game snack? Share in the comments below!

– Michelle & Val

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What to Wear: Cold Weather Football Game

Scrolling through Pinterest one day, I came across a guide of what to wear to a football game. The guide included boots with 4-inch spike heels. *face palm*

If you are attending a football game, chances are you aren’t getting car service and whisked up to the VIP boxes upon your arrival. (If you are…Hi, my name is Michelle. Can we be friends?) That means that most of us don’t have the luxury of ignoring practicality and comfort when deciding our game day attire.

Today we’re bringing you The Snap’s guide of what to wear to a football game. Since weather is one of the most important factors to consider, this guide will just be for cold weather games. Packers, Bears, and Patriots fans who have tickets to December and January games – we’re talking to you.

What to Wear - Football Game - Cold Weather

(I realize that the Texans are not a cold-weather team, but I really wanted to use a J.J. Watt jersey for this guide and decided to stay with a Texans theme to make the graphic more aesthetically pleasing. I’ll apologize now if this rubs anyone the wrong way.)

**NOTE – Many of these items are from Kohl’s because it is hands-down our favorite place to shop. Kohl’s has some great 2015 Black Friday sales starting on Monday 11/23, so we are featuring these prices in case you see something you like and want to take advantage of sales this week.**

1. Knit beanie hat ($28) – Hats are a must to keep you warm. Thankfully, there are so many great NFL styles out there. Another great reason to choose a hat? If it’s damp and you know your hair will lose the battle against the elements, hats can mitigate bad hair days. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $19.60, Reg $28)

2. Jacket (varies) – There is nothing worse than getting to your seat in the stadium and having it be soaking wet and cold. This is why we love long jackets/parkas that keep your buns warm and dry. Removable hoods are also a really nice feature. Should you decide to forgo a bag, big pockets with zippers are a must to store all of your game day essentials. This jacket doesn’t feature them, but cuffs with thumb-holes are also awesome.  (Kohl’s Black Friday – $59.99, Reg $200)

3. Clear bag ($11.99) – If you choose to bring a bag and need to bring more stuff than a clutch can hold, we recommend investing in one of the clear NFL-approved bags. Yes, it sucks to spend more money, but it will save you the trouble of getting turned away at the gate if your bag violates the stadium bag policy.

4. Sunglasses (varies) – Just because it’s cold out, it doesn’t mean that you can avoid sun-glare if you are attending a day game. I (Michelle) rarely leave the house without a pair. Football games are no exception.

5. Jersey ($55 for boys) – If you’re wearing a jacket, no one can see the adorable shirt or sweatshirt that you’re wearing to rep your team. We like having at least one over-sized jersey that fits over our jackets. Depending on what size you wear, you may be able to get a large or x-large boys jersey and save a few bucks. The women’s jerseys are great, but they are so fitted, it can be difficult to put them over sweatshirts or jackets. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $34.99, Reg $55)

6. Cuddl Duds shirts ($32) – Layering is key and our absolute favorite layering shirts in the winter are Cuddl Duds. We cannot say enough about this brand. High-quality, warm, smooth, and comfortable, they come in a variety of styles and colors/prints. Many come with thumb holes (Can you tell we love thumb holes?) This may be TMI, but they make your boobs look great as well. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $15.99, Reg $32 – This is an EXCELLENT deal, as they usually don’t go any cheaper.)

7. Skinny jeans ($54.50) – Unless you’re in Green Bay and snow pants make the most sense, you can usually get away with jeans. We love a dark-wash skinny cut because they look flattering and you can tuck them into boots. If you need extra layers, Cuddl Duds also has some thin leggings you can pair up with your favorite skinnies.

8. L.L. Bean boots ($109) – The only thing worse than cold feet is cold wet feet. Depending on the stadium and weather, you may be walking through a slushy mess on your way from your tailgate into the stadium. Invest in waterproof boots and you will thank us later.

9. Gloves ($32) – If you’re going to be taking selfies and more importantly, checking your fantasy team stats, you’re going to need touchscreen gloves. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $24, Reg $32)

Did we miss anything? What’s your go-to game day look? Let us know in the comments below.

– Michelle

Football Fan Gift Ideas – Father’s Day Edition

Father's Day Gift Guide - NFL Football Fans

In case you didn’t realize, we’re less than a week away from Father’s Day. Oh snap.

Our friends over at Man Crates asked us for help this year figuring out what men want for Father’s Day. Well, we’re not men, but we’re professional shoppers and decent gift givers, so we agreed to put together a list of things that we think the football lovin’ men in our lives might appreciate.

By the way, Man Crates is exactly what it sounds like. They ship crates full of manly things to men. We’re talking whiskey, bacon, grilling supplies, outdoor survival stuff, and other things that dudes (and maybe some ladies…who are we to judge?) might enjoy.

(If I were to get a man crate, I would hope that it had an actual man in it – a guy with an athletic build that knows how to make household repairs, gives a great foot massage, and of course, watches football. Man Crates does not seem to have this in stock yet, though. Sigh. A girl can dream.)

1. Game Tickets (varies) – We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – There is nothing quite like the experience of an NFL game. Look at your calendar and figure out which Sunday (or Monday night or Thursday night) works for you and dad to have a bonding experience.

2. Frost Boss ($19.99) – We’ve all got that one friend that shows up late to the party with warm beers. If he’s a father, maybe you should get him this bad boy so that he can chill your beers in 2 minutes. It’s perfect for tailgates too.

3. NFL Barware Man Crate ($89.99) – When your gift arrives in a crate that needs to be opened with a crowbar, there is no question that it exudes manliness. Like, if this arrived on my doorstep, I would expect that this guy packed it. This crate designed with the NFL fan in mind is our favorite because it’s 1) it’s NFL team glassware and we’re suckers for themed glassware 2) the coasters have bottle openers and 3) it’s got snacks. (While you’re on their site, you should totally enter for a chance for you and your dad to win a trip to Oktoberfest. Because, you know, beer.)

4. Football Books – Our top picks this year include 1) Parcells: A Football Life by Nunyo Demasio ($12.00) for the dad that loves thick history books and biographies, 2) No Excuses: Growing Up Deaf and Achieving My Super Bowl Dreams by Derrick Coleman Jr. w/ Marcus Brotherton ($16.99) for the dad that loves an inspirational story, and 3) Take Your Eye Off the Ball by Pat Kirwan ($14.07) for the dad that wants to learn how to watch the game from an expert.

5. NFL Car Mats ($56.99 and up) – We feel like car mats are a subtle, yet practical way to show your team spirit. (Thank goodness we both have blue cars which just happen to go well with New England’s team colors.) We’d only get the mats if they matched the interior/exterior colors of the car, but if your guy is colorblind, it probably doesn’t matter. We found some for $25.98 from Walmart, but the Kohl’s ones linked above got decent quality reviews and you can always get money off there.

6. Hot Dog Brander ($14.95) – If we had to bet, this is the sort of thing that you might only use once, but the fact that it exists is why it makes the gift guide. Man Crates probably has a meat crate that would pair nicely with this.

7. Grill Set ($53.99) – Let’s stay with the meat grilling theme because cooking meat in the outdoors is manly. Might as well get a grill cover and an apron while you’re at it.

8. Cornhole Set ($299.95) – You’ve still got most of the summer left and who doesn’t love a good game of cornhole? (Actually, that would be both of us. Anything involving hand-eye coordination is an exercise in humiliation.) Dudes seem to love this game because it only takes one hand to throw a beanbag. That means they have a free hand to hold a beer. (Can we just say that we love the festive conference-themed bean bags that come with this set? I mean, can you get any more adorable than a little AFC or NFC logo? No, no you can’t.)

9. Bucket Hat ($27.95) – Laugh all you want at this hat, but we see coaches and players wearing these all the time at OTAs and training camp because they are light-weight and offer decent sun protection. Nobody wants to be the loser with the sunburned head. We know a couple of dads that would totally rock this hat. Great for the beach.

If these don’t get the job done for you, check out our Brothers and Boyfriends Edition of Football Fan Gift Guide.

– Michelle and Val

Football Fan Gift Ideas – Brothers and Boyfriends Edition

 NFL Gift Guide for Men - Brothers, Boyfriends Football Fans

Need some last-minute gift ideas for the NFL-lovin’ guy in your life? We’ve got you covered with our all-dude edition of the gift guide. (That’s not to say that women wouldn’t like some of the same things – we just picked them out with some of the guy fans we know in mind.)

1. Game Tickets (varies) – Doesn’t matter if you’re a dude or a chick – if you like football, tickets to a game are always appreciated. Stubhub and Ticket Exchange are your best bets for legit in-demand tickets, especially playoff ones.

2. Memorabilia (varies) – Football fans appreciate history and memorabilia is a piece of that history. Personally, I’m not into it (says the girl with the signed Backstreet Boys CD), but some people really appreciate something signed by one of their favorite players. If you’re feeling cheap, you can always buy a regular football and a Sharpie and scribble on it.

3. Ugly sweater (Youth – $49.95, Men – $64.95) – Overpriced? Yes. Awesome? Absolutely. We recommend the ugly Christmas sweater for lady football fans, as well.

4. Tie clip ($34) – There are some hideous NFL ties out there. A tie clip is a much classier way to proclaim your fandom.

5. A really big hi-def TV ($400+) – Hate to say it, but the size of the TV is really important when it comes to watching football. I lived in blissful ignorance for years until I moved in with someone who had a large hi-def flat-screen. It’s nice to be able to see what’s happening.

6. Shot glass ($6.95) – Seven bucks for one shot glass is a little steep, but do you really think you’re going to remember how much the shot glass cost if you’re using it correctly?

7. Zubaz ($39.95) – The Gronkowski brothers brought Zubaz back on the radar in 2012 and now they are officially licensed by the NFL. While their attractiveness is debatable, they certainly are versatile. After all, “these are the pants the Gronk’s have been seen wearing on the beach, in the weight room, on the golf course and anytime they want to Get Hyped!”

8. Football movies ($10.19, varies) – What’s a man to do when football season ends? Watch football movies, of course! We found this 4-pack of classic football movies on Amazon that gives you the best bang for your buck.

9. Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile by Nate Jackson ($9.78) – We’ve only read an excerpt from this book, but it got excellent reviews when it was released last year. The New York Times reviewer said, “Slow Getting Up is everything you want football memoirs to be but never are: hilarious, dirty, warm, human, honest, weird.”

10. Baseball cap ($29.99, varies) – If your guy wears baseball caps, you really can’t go wrong with one representing his team. We featured a Patriots throwback one on here because some guys really seem to appreciate the throwback logos.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

– Michelle and Val

Football Fan Gift Ideas – Sisters and Girlfriends Edition

Football Fan Holiday Gift Guide - Sisters, Girlfriends, Daughters
Are you stumped when it comes to what to buy for your football-loving female friends? No worries! We’ve got you covered with 11 great gift ideas for your lady friends. Whether they are casual observers of the game or hardcore fanatics, there’s something on the list for everyone. It should go without saying that all of these items are Snap approved, of course!

1. Game tickets (varies) – This tops our list every year. With high-stakes divisional games in December and playoffs right around the corner, tickets make a really nice stocking-stuffer. StubHub or Ticket Exchange are probably the two most legit sources if you can’t get them from the team’s ticketing site.

2. Jersey ($94.50+) – Obviously if someone has a favorite player, that’s your go-to choice for a jersey, but if you’re not sure, try to pick one of the “big names” that has been on team for a while and probably won’t get traded to another team. Our advice is to skip the special edition jerseys and go for the standard team colors. The NFL offers jerseys at different price points, but our personal opinion is that you don’t need the most expensive style. Looking for cheaper options? Some women will fit in (and prefer the fit of) children’s sizes. Use your 15-30% off codes/coupons to get jerseys for cheaper at Kohl’s.

3. Alex & Ani bangles ($32) – People either like these bracelets or they hate them. Sure, they’re a little trendy, but if your lady friend already has some, they make a great addition to her collection. We like them for their simplicity and the fact that you can wear them year-round.

4. Cutting board ($12.99) – We would love to have one of these in our kitchen and think it would be kind of adorable as a serving tray when having friends over for the game. Use one of those 20% off coupons that always come in the mail from Bed Bath & Beyond and you’ve got a good deal.

5. Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game! by Holly Robinson Peete ($9.83) – I read this book when I was first getting into football and I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t recommend for hardcore fans because it’s not pure football. Holly does a good job explaining the basics, while adding a nice touch with some of her personal stories. She’s got some good diagrams in there, as well.

6. Knit hat ($22.95) – If you’ve ever been to a cold-weather football game, a warm hat is essential. We think the chunky knit and beanie style of this particular hat is cute, but there are a ton of options out there.

7. Ugly sweater ($69.95) – Sure, these aren’t cheap, but they are all kinds of awesome. We’re currently trying to persuade our family to invest in these so we can have one heck of a picture on our holiday greeting card. They pull double-duty if you ever have to go to one of those stupid ugly sweater parties. We like this v-neck style in particular, but there are different options out there for men, women, and children.

8. Pandora charms ($160) – One of the more expensive items on our list, but if you’ve got a Pandora fan in the family, this would make a great addition to their bracelet. We like that they have two different styles.

9. Infinity scarf ($24.95) – We have a cousin who is the queen of scarves – she can make just about any scarf look insanely good. She’s not a big football fan, but she could definitely rock one of these bad boys.

10. Player charity apparel (varies) – Looking for a way to give back with your gift? Many players’ charities sell apparel. We’re featuring our favorite sweatshirt ($38.99) from the Derrick Coleman No Excuses foundation.

11. Victoria’s Secret PINK gift set ($69.50) – Don’t even get us started on how cute/adorable/comfortable clothes are from Victoria’s Secret. How do they do it?! We love that they’ve teamed with major sports leagues to give us some great game day options. You can’t go wrong with their leggings and crew tops.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

– Michelle and Val

Top 10 Reasons to Watch Hard Knocks

You guys, if you don’t have HBO, I highly recommend making friends with someone who does before the end of the summer.

No, the new season of Game of Thrones isn’t coming yet. You’re gonna have to wait a little bit longer for that. Yeesh.

I’m talking Hard Knocks.

If you aren’t familiar with the Emmy-nominated show, that needs to change. I can’t think of a better way to suck someone into cheering for a team, or liking the game of football, than this show.

Without further ado, here’s the top 10 reasons, you need to watch this show:

1. The Team – It’s about the Atlanta Falcons this year, who are due to have some terrific story lines after a disappointing 2013 season. The team’s management is acting super excited to have the opportunity to show off their organization. I would be excited too, knowing that each of the last four teams to be featured on Hard Knocks has improved its win-loss record in the regular season that immediately follows the training camp presentation.

2. The Voice – Liev Schreiber narrates the hell out of this series. He has narrated every year since it’s inception in 2001, with the exception of 2007, when Paul Rudd covered the Kansas City Chiefs.

3. The Partnership – Hard Knocks is a joint production between HBO Sports and NFL Films. NFL Films does slow-motion film capture like no one else. Who knew catching a ball could be so dramatic? (If you’re unfamiliar with the legacy of NFL Films, there will be a Snap post coming your way on that at some point in time, so don’t you fret.)

4. The Soundtrack – I remember watching last year and thinking to myself that I wanted to go work out after the episode ended because I was so pumped up from the soundtrack. It was a weird feeling and I got over it pretty quickly, but the show traditionally has some pretty decent music accompanying the football footage.

5. The Rookies – If I were brand new at my job, I definitely would not want a camera crew following me around my first few weeks as I tried to figure out what the heck was going on. NFL rookies do not have that luxury. (Of course, they are getting paid more than I am, so I don’t feel that bad.) It’s neat to watch the new talent. Rookie talent shows and hair cuts are always entertaining.

6. The Underdogs – If you love a good underdog story, you are in luck. There’s usually a few of them each season. When the show starts, there are 90+ guys on the team. As training camp and preseason progress, cuts are made. Go into this knowing that it’s not a happy ending for everyone, but don’t let it keep you from cheering on the journeymen and undrafted free agents who have something to prove.

7. The Big Names – Hard Knocks delves into the personal lives of some of the big name players, which is pretty neat. The NFL has some interesting personalities and you don’t always get to see them during a 3 hour game on any given Sunday.

8. The Locker Room – The NFL locker room is a place most of us won’t ever get to experience. On a serious note, it’s neat to watch the bonds being formed. On a not-so-serious note, the locker room produces some of the most hilarious footage. Although they are grown men, they don’t always act like it.

9. The “Hard Knocks” NFL Rule – Even the NFL realizes the importance of Hard Knocks, as they implemented a rule in fall 2013 that says the league can appoint a team each year if no one volunteers. As reported by Ian Rappoport on NFL.com, all organizations will be eligible with the exception of those that have a first-year head coach; teams that have made the playoffs in at least one of the last two seasons; and teams that have participated in the previous 10 seasons.

10. The Excitement – Like I alluded to earlier, this will definitely get you pumped up for the season. It may also turn you into an Atlanta fan for the year, as I have noticed myself secretly cheering during the season for the players profiled during the show. (Except for the Jets season, I didn’t watch that in its entirety and nothing could get me to like the Jets.)

Hard Knocks debuts tonight, Tuesday, August 5 at 10 p.m. on HBO. Head over to NFL.com Video to see clips from prior years, like this one of Antonio Cromartie trying to remember the names and ages of all his kids. Maybe he just spent too much time out in the sun…

-Michelle

Top 10 Reasons to Go to Training Camp

If you read Val’s post about the NFL schedule, you should know that the end of July and beginning of August means it’s time for training camp. This will be our 6th summer attending the Pats training camp and it’s always a highlight of our summer.

Some teams hold camp at their own facilities if their practice fields can accommodate the crowds. Others choose to travel to a nearby destination.

Here are the top ten reasons you should go to training camp:

1. It’s free!

Not many things are free these days, especially anything related to the NFL. If you’re not ready to shell out the cash to see a game, start with attending a training camp session. We don’t know about other venues, but you don’t have to pay $40 for parking either for Patriots training camp and that makes us extremely happy.

 

2. Autographs

training camp signing copy

Ever wanted to get something signed by your favorite player and not have to pay a million bucks for it on eBay? At the conclusion of each session, players go out to the crowd to sign autographs. They are usually sweaty and tired, but have smiles on their faces and appreciate the support of the fans.

 

3. Get up close and personal 

JImmyG

Unless you have on-field passes for a game or you run into a player in the real world, you generally don’t get that close to them. Depending on the set-up of the practice fields/facility, training camp is often a great opportunity to see your favorite players up close. You can really appreciate just how gigantic some of these guys are, and in some cases, see all the other physical attributes (*cough cough* Jimmy Garoppolo’s hair and smile) that they have going for them.

 

4. You don’t have to understand the game to know what’s going on

Val and I took one of our friends this year who isn’t quite as uh…enthusiastic…about the game as we are. After the 2 hour session ended early due to a sudden downpour, we asked her what she thought about it and she said she really enjoyed herself, even if she didn’t know what was going on some of the time. Sure, we were there to answer her questions and fill her in on the camp story lines, but she was able to appreciate the excitement of a receiver running down the field to catch a deep ball.

 

5. Great photo opportunities

Training Camp Catch

Do you fancy yourself a photographer? Training camp provides tons of opportunities for you to take some great sports action shots. Val always gets a few fantastic photos each year.

 

6. Fun for the whole family

From what we can tell, most teams provide other activities during training camp days. The Patriots have their Fan Zone, which includes games for kids, bouncy houses, alumni and cheerleader appearances, and additional concessions. From a quick Google search, this seems like the norm for many teams.

 

7. There’s a lot to look at

There’s always something to watch at training camp. Sure, the team will do stretching together and will run drills that involve most of the team, but they will also break up into skill groups. The wide receivers might practice running routes, while the running backs practice holding onto the ball while someone tries to smack it away. The kickers, punters, and long snappers will be doing their own thing at some point, practicing their kicks. There is always a lot going on and it’s never boring.

 

8. Calves

calves

This is a really weird thing to put on a Top 10 list, but it’s legit. Everyone, and we mean, everyone, that you see on the field, has great calves. Players, coaches, assistants, camera guys…if they are wearing shorts, you will be impressed. We can’t explain it, but we don’t hate it.

 

9. The fans

The running fan commentary that surrounds you is entertaining, to say the least. Most of the fans who attend training camp are going to be pretty dedicated and for the most part, they know their stuff.  When a player makes an awesome catch, they cheer. When a rookie drops a ball from the starting quarterback, they boo. (They don’t serve beer at the Patriots training camp, so people don’t get too rowdy, either, which is a nice change from normal games.)

 

10. Candid player moments

Peyton Manning will most likely not do this at a game. He will, however, do this at training camp:

 

Did you go to training camp this year? Tell us about it in the comments below.

– Michelle