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

Our Thoughts – 2014 NFL Playoffs – Super Bowl Recap

Super Bowl 2015 Recap

We interrupt the first non-football Sunday of 2015 to bring you our long overdue Super Bowl recap. Can you believe it’s been a week since the Super Bowl? We can’t. In fact, we’ve been on a week-long celebration bender.

Juuuuust kidding.

Seriously, though, we were pretty thrilled about the Patriots win. Even if you didn’t like either of the teams in the championship game, we’re not sure you could have asked for a more exciting end to a game. Let’s all take a trip down memory lane.

Here’s what we thought about the Super Bowl…

New England (28), Seattle (24) – What. A. Game. After the disastrous year the NFL had, they lucked out by having an exciting game to end the season. (Unlike last year’s Super Bowl where the Seahawks walloped the Broncos by a final score of 43 to 8 in a game that was a laughter by halftime.) This game was the most watched television show in U.S. history. Even if you aren’t a fan of either team, real football fans have to appreciate this one.

Where to start? The Patriots looked like the better team in the first half, even though the score was tied 14-14 at halftime. Tom Brady had 27 pass attempts while Russell Wilson didn’t have his first completion until there were 6 minutes left in the half. Tom did have one nasty interception in the end zone by Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane. However, Lane broke his arm on the play and missed the rest of the game. He was replaced by Tharold Simon, and Brady started picking on him right away. The Seahawks managed to score two touchdowns in two and a half minutes. Seahawks wide receiver Chris Matthews, a former Canadian Football League standout that didn’t have an NFL catch to his name until Sunday night, made some huge plays.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett would have been an MVP candidate had the Seahawks won – he had four quarterback hits and forced both of Brady’s interceptions.

Seattle scored the next 10 points coming out of halftime. Then Tom Brady went to work in the fourth quarter and led a comeback against a defense that was the best in the NFL this year in points, total yards and passing yards allowed. Brady completed 13 of 15 passes for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was helped by the fact that Seahawks pass rusher Cliff Avril left the game with a concussion this quarter and was ruled out of the game. After Brady’s final throw of the night, a 3 yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 2:06 remaining in the game, his passer rating for the quarter was 140.7. The score was 28-24 with New England in the lead.

The Seahawks got the ball back and it was looking good for the Patriots until wide receiver Jermaine Kearse made an absolutely ridiculous catch to set Seattle up at the goal line.

You could feel the energy drain from the New England side line – their last two Super Bowls had been lost on freak catches like this. (It was the worst kind of deja vu possible if you were a Pats fan.) A Marshawn Lynch run put the Seahawks on the half-yard line with 26 seconds left. All they had to do was punch the ball in the end zone and more than likely the Pats wouldn’t have had enough time to run another scoring drive. What everyone was expecting was for the ball to be handed to Marshawn Lynch, arguably one of the best running backs in the NFL, to stick the fork in the Patriots. What actually happened was the play call that many have since called the worst in Super Bowl history. The Seahawks’ offensive coordinator decided to throw the ball on a pick play (these are illegal by the way), hoping to burn some more time off the clock. However, what he had not prepared for was Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. Butler jumped the route and intercepted the throw on the goal line with 20 seconds left, securing the victory for New England.

Russell Wilson’s pass was the 109th time a QB threw from the 1-yd line this season – but it was the first time it was intercepted. Wilson played efficiently the whole game, averaging 11.8 yards per attempt, but that will be overshadowed by the pick he threw at the end of the game.

Talk about a feel good story – Malcolm Butler is an undrafted rookie cornerback whose last interception in a game was in November 2013 when he was playing for Division II West Alabama. The attendance at the game was 2,843. Butler said after the game he recognized the Seahawks’ play from his film study. In fact, the Patriots scout team ran the same play against the defense in practice this week, and Butler was beat for the touchdown. Coach Belichick told him he had ‘to be on it.’ He wasn’t going to let that happen again, and now the kid will never pay for a drink when he’s out and about in the New England area. Quite the turn of events for a player who was kicked out of school and working at Popeyes at one point. The Patriots were the only team to offer him a spot on their roster for training camp. As the game’s MVP, Tom Brady won a 2015 Chevy Colorado, but plans to give the truck to Butler for making the play to seal the win.

On the next to last play of the game, following Butler’s interception, frustration boiled over from the Seahawks side and a tussle erupted. Bruce Irvin from the Seahawks was ejected for hitting Rob Gronkowski in the face. He later apologized. Fines were issued for players on both teams.

The rest is history – the confetti cannons exploded with red, white, and blue, Darrelle Revis cried, Julian Edelman and Malcolm Butler announced they were going Disney World, and the Seahawks World Champion t-shirts got shipped off to a third-world country.

(For those of you still questioning the integrity of the Patriots’ footballs, the procedures for the Super Bowl have always differed. While the teams are still allowed to condition the footballs during the week, there is an independent equipment manager and ball attendants.)

Now for some fun facts because we love them so much. There’s a lot of them because we couldn’t choose. Sorry, we’re not sorry.

Fun Facts and Records Set in Super Bowl XLIX:

  • This was the 10th Super Bowl since 2000 where the game was decided by 7 points or less.
  • There have been 13 Super Bowls decided by 4 points or less. The Patriots have played in 6 of these games. (It’s a wonder more Pats fans don’t have heart issues.)
  • Seattle had not lost a game it led in the fourth quarter by 10 points or more since 2004, where they lost to the Rams in overtime. Since then, they have had 49 fourth-quarter double-digit leads. (Sunday night was the 50th game.)
  • Russell Wilson has held a lead at some point in all 56 of his career games.
  • Until Sunday night, the 29 teams that have held a 10-point second half lead in the Super did not lose. This was only the third Super Bowl where the score was tied at halftime.
  • The Patriots became the 4th team to lose the turnover battle and win the Super Bowl.
  • The Patriots became the youngest team to win the Super Bowl with an average age of 25.2 years.
  • Patriots running back Shane Vereen had 11 receptions, the most ever for a running back in the Super Bowl.
  • The Patriots became first team to win a Super Bowl without having a player with 100 rush attempts during the regular season.
  • The 10-year gap between Tom Brady’s championships (2004-2014) passed Roger Staubach’s 6 year gap as the longest in NFL history for a starting quarterback.
  • Tom Brady has won more Super Bowls (4) than 26 other NFL franchises.
  • The Patriots became the 6th team to win 4 Super Bowl titles. All wins have come since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994 with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
  • Tom Brady is now tied with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as quarterbacks to win 4 Super Bowls. Brady also tied Montana with his third MVP award.
  • In this game, Tom Brady threw a Super Bowl record 37 passes (out of 50 attempts) for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns (plus two interceptions). Brady now owns the Super Bowl records for passes, completions, yards, and touchdowns, as well as most post-season comebacks (6, passing Joe Montana on Sunday night) and post-season game winning drives (9).0020
  • Patriots Coach Bill Belichick is now tied with Chuck Noll (former Steelers coach) as one of two coaches to win 4 Super Bowls. Belichick also has 2 Super Bowl rings he won as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants. (Bill owns a boat that is named Five Rings . . . if we had to guess, the boat is getting a paint job with a new name this off-season.)

– Val and Michelle

How to Survive the Super Bowl: A Non-Football Lover’s Guide

How to Survive the Big Game Super Bowl Guide

Your guest list has been solidified, you’ve got chicken wings in the oven, and you’ve made your last-minute run to the liquor store.  The day of the Super Bowl has arrived.

If your team is playing, you’ve got your favorite jersey and the Pepto Bismol at the ready. If your team isn’t making an appearance, you’ve decided which team would be the lesser of two evils to lift the Lombardi trophy. If you aren’t a football fan, chances are that you will still turn on your TV at some point and partake in what should have been declared a national holiday years ago.

Super Bowl Sunday has a lot to offer, whether or not you keep up with the league during the regular season. There are the obvious things – the food, the half-time performance, and the commercials. So what if you’re not a fan, but you want to get more out of your evening than just buffalo chicken dip and Katy Perry’s song selections?

We had a request from one of our followers to make a Super Bowl watching guide for the non-football lover. We aim to please here on The Snap, so today we’re giving you some quick tips and tricks to get through the big game if you aren’t as NFL-obsessed as we are.

Here is our Non-Football Lover’s Guide to Surviving the Super Bowl:

1. Refresh your understanding of basic football concepts. We highly recommend our What the Hell is a Down? post. If you understand the concept of a down, you can follow a football game at the highest level.

2. Pick one player and learn about them. You don’t need to know all the players. You just need to pick one player and remember his number so you can identify him when he takes the field. Some pre-game Googling will give you some fun facts to discuss with your fellow game-watchers. How do you choose? If giving back is important to you, search for the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee. If stats are important to you, search for the player that got the most touchdowns or yards during the season. Want someone who is easy to recognize? Acquaint yourself with the quarterback or the kicker. Knowing off-the-field stories about a player helps you build a personal connection to a players and hopefully become more invested in the game.

3. Listen to what the commentators are saying. We know sometimes it’s hard to hear the guys doing the play-by-play and the commentary during the game if you’re in a party environment with lots of people. However, these guys are paid big bucks to be able to interpret what’s happening on the field. If they say something you don’t understand, start up a conversation with your fellow game-watchers and ask them to explain.

This year’s game is on NBC, which means that Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will be in the booth. Al will be doing the play-by-play (“It’s 1st and 10 with the ball on the 30 yard line”) and Cris will be doing the commentary (“Earlier this year, the Patriots dealt with problems on the offensive line”).

4. Know who won NFL Honors. A few years ago, the NFL decided to make a night out of announcing annual football awards. It is usually broadcast the night before the Super Bowl. We enjoy it because the opening monologue is usually pretty funny and we get to see players dressed all snazzy and such.

These are the 2015 NFL Honors winners. If there are too many names there, we recommend knowing the following winners: 1) MVP, 2) Offensive Player of the Year, 3) Defensive Player of the Year, and the 4) Walter Payton Man of the Year.

5. If all else fails, enjoy the eye-candy. Buzzfeed had the right idea with this post ranking the butts of all the players in this year’s big game. (We don’t necessarily agree with all of their rankings. There is clearly some bias against Patriots.) Maybe this qualifies as objectifying male athletes, but if we have to sit through numerous commercials with busty scantily-clad women, then we are within our rights to admire the results of rigorous athletic training.

Enjoy the game!

– Michelle and Val

Favorite Link Friday – January 30, 2015

Favorite Link Friday NFL January 30

We’re kicking off Super Bowl weekend with some of our favorite NFL stories from the web this week.

Here’s your Super Bowl edition of Favorite Link Friday:

If you have 5 minutes to kill…

1. When They Were Younger – Continuing their series from last year, the MMQB reached out to Super Bowl players’ former college and high school coaches and asked them to share favorite memories. Stories include QB Tom Brady being stuffed in a locker, Pats tight end Tim Wright and his hair-cutting skills, and Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka’s 3.8 GPA as a neuroscience major.

If you have 10 minutes to kill…

2. The Real DeflateGate Scandal Is That Anyone Cares – Chris Kluwe was known for being an outspoken player during his eight seasons as a punter with the Vikings and he doesn’t hold back in this essay posted on Time’s website. Whether you agree or disagree with him, he brings up some interesting points related to the league and DeflateGate.

If you have 20 minutes to kill…

3. Tom Brady Cannot Stop – Maybe you think Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time or maybe you think he’s a pretty boy and he annoys the heck out of you – either way you should read this in-depth profile on Tom from the New York Times. Well-written and full of interesting details, this article shows what makes this 37-year-old tick. Just think of it as a human interest story, where the subject happens to be married to a super model.

There’s no “if” here – this is a must-watch…

4. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch (a.k.a. Skittles) and Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (a.k.a. Gronk) hang out with Conan O’Brien and play video games. Almost wet ourselves watching this. Too many good one-liners to count. Gronk is always entertaining, but this is the side of Skittles we don’t get to see and we love it.

Hope these articles get you ready for what is sure to be a great Super Bowl!

– Michelle & Val

Snap Roadtrip: Patriots Super Bowl Send-Off

Do you believe in fate? I do.

When I saw that I had a work meeting scheduled 100 feet away from where the Pats were having their Super Bowl send-off rally, I knew it was a sign that I needed to make an appearance.

I’m like a moth to a flame when it comes to these kinds of events. Moth to a freakin’ flame.

Patriots Super Bowl Send-Off 2015

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh hosted a 45-minute send-off celebration featuring team owner Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick, and the five Pats captains – Tom Brady, Matt Slater, Dan Connolly, Devin McCourtey, and Vince Wilfork. Former Pats tight end and Boston native Jermaine Wiggins also pumped up the crowd with a pep talk. The Patriots cheerleaders and drumline (apparently the Pats have one of those) also made an appearance.

My favorite part was probably hearing Coach Belichick speak. He got quite the cheer from the crowd and you kind of got the feeling that everyone standing in that plaza wanted him to momentarily forget about the hell that has been DeflateGate.

You can see video from the event here. I couldn’t find myself in the crowd, but you are more than welcome to play Where’s Waldo and look for me. (Hint: I probably look freezing cold even though I’m rocking a parka and numerous cold-weather accessories.)

Since it’s not really a New England event without an appearance by Dunkin’ Donuts, the coffee and donut chain was on-hand to provide free dark roast coffee and s’mores hot chocolate. Holy hot beverage – the s’mores hot chocolate was soooo good (they didn’t pay me to say that, it was just that yummy) and much needed with the single-digit wind chill bystanders were experiencing congregating in Government Center plaza.

Yeah, it was pretty cold out there, which is why it was awesome when I got a free Julian Edelman beanie from the Dunkin crew as well. The surprisingly high-quality hat has quickly become one of my favorites and I will be wearing it tomorrow as I finish digging out my car from 2+ feet of snow, thank you very much.

(Side note: All of my mid-Atlantic friends complaining about not getting any snow are more than welcome to come take some of ours. I could build life-size snowmen replicas of the entire Patriots defense using the snow in my front yard.)

So yeah, that’s how I spent my lunch break on Monday. Now that I finally have feeling back in my extremities, I would definitely say it was worth it.

– Michelle

Super Bowl XLIX: A Seahawks Blogger Q&A

Seattle Blogger Q&A

We’re kicking off our Super Bowl XLIX coverage this week with a question and answer session with one of our go-to Seahawks bloggers. Charles Tumbarello of The Hawker Report was kind enough to give us his perspective on the NFC Champions.

Hawker ReportThe Snap: What are the Seahawks’ biggest strengths going into this game?

Charles Tumbarello: Seattle’s biggest strengths going into this game is their ability to make explosive plays and allow explosive plays. In the regular season, the Seahawks offense led the league in explosive plays (135) and their defense led the league in fewest explosive plays allowed (76).

 

The Snap: What do you think will be the biggest challenge for Seattle?

CT: The biggest challenge Seattle will face is stopping the run and make Brady beat them with his arm. The team has allowed over 130 yards rushing in each of their two playoff games.

 

The Snap: What is one of your favorite Seahawks moments from this year?

CT: It’s kind of hard to go against the NFC Championship game against the Packers, one of the most memorable games in NFL history.

 

The Snap: Which Seahawk are we going to be talking about after the game ends?

CT: Russell Wilson. I think Wilson will be the difference in this game because he can beat you with his arms as well with his legs. Something the Patriots haven’t been familiar with in recent memory.

 

The Snap: Do you feel more or less confident with the Seahawks chances of winning than you did at this time last year?

CT: I felt a lot more confident last year than this year. The Patriots are a well-rounded team on both sides of the ball. This Patriots team is probably one of the tougher teams the Seahawks had to face all year.

 

The Snap: What’s your final score prediction?

CT: I believe this Super Bowl will be much more competitive this year versus last year. Seahawks 24-20.

 

Interested in learning more about the Seahawks from Charles? Check out his blog at The Hawker Report or follow him on Twitter @TheHawkerReport.

 

Image via Hawker Report Twitter. 

– Michelle