You don’t have to be at the game itself to maximize your NFL Sunday experience
It’s almost the best time of the year. The period between September and January when the weather transitions from warm to chilly to outright cold, and we look forward to Sunday as our favorite day of the week again. Football season is upon us.
With the return of football comes the return of some of our favorite autumn traditions. For those who have season tickets to watch their favorite team or who go to games often, they know that attending an NFL game live is a day-long experience filled with tailgating before the event and hopefully celebration afterward. This article, however, will look at those of us who don’t attend games often, giving some recommendations for how to enjoy an NFL Sunday at home.
Before we get into any of that, I’d say that no matter what the first step in maximizing a full Sunday of football enjoyment is to make sure that all of the chores are done before 1:00 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. Central, 11:00 a.m. Mountain, 10:00 a.m. Pacific). Weekend work comes for us all, and nothing is more annoying than having to tend to responsibilities while the games are going on. If you can help it, make sure that everything is finished either on Saturday or on Sunday morning, so that there’s minimal interference during NFL hours.
After you’ve made sure that no chores will interfere with your viewership of the matchups, it’s now time to make a decision. You can take one of two paths to your preferred NFL Sunday experience. Let’s step into the Matrix.
If you take the blue pill, you get to watch the games either alone or with the members of your household (think significant other, child, father etc. if they’re also into football). Basically it’s the path of maximized focus on the games themselves.
If you take the red pill, that’s a full day of watching the games with friends over. The camaraderie is enjoyed and the sport is shared among everyone.
Let’s dive into the benefits and perks of each path.
Taking the Blue Pill (watching alone or with your household)
If you’re on Eastern time and have all responsibilities previously taken care of, the morning is normally spent in preparation for the day ahead. Maybe an NFL preview show is watched, like Sunday NFL Countdown or NFL Fantasy Live. Maybe you go for a workout, maybe a walk in the park. A general favorite of mine is to watch the morning English Premier League matches on NBC (if I don’t go work out instead). Those on Pacific time generally have the games start shortly after waking up on account of the 10:00 a.m. kickoff, which seems pretty nice given the lack of waiting.
I’ve found that there’s three superior ways of keeping up with all of the action going on during a football Sunday.
- Watching on the NFL Red Zone channel. The greatest channel on television during Sundays in the fall. Scott Hanson takes you through seven hours of commercial free football, showing you every touchdown from every game and taking you through all of the big plays and scoring threats in each matchup. There’s really nothing like it.
- If you have NFL Sunday Ticket through Direct TV — it means flipping through each game and focusing on what’s of most interest to you. This is more manual than Rezone but has the perk of more control in watching games and fantasy players that you have a vested interest in.
- Watching the local Fox/CBS broadcast while tracking everything else that interests you — such as how your fantasy players or rival teams are performing — on a laptop or on multiple laptops. This generally works better if your favorite team is also the one that’s covered in your area. If you’re in Georgia it means not missing a single Falcons snap.
My preference is a combination of bullet point three and number one — watching every snap of the Falcons, tracking my fantasy team on a laptop and switching to Red Zone during commercials, as well as watching Red Zone fully during the late window of games (as well as doing the Falcoholic Live Postgame Show, which happens shortly after right every Falcons game. You can find it on the Falcoholic Youtube page. Check us out, you may enjoy it).
The superiority in an individual watch at home is that there are very limited distractions away from the games themselves. Every snap can be taken in, every highlight watched in real time, every fantasy score internally celebrated. There’s really nothing missed.
Come time for the Sunday Night Football game, following some dinner, everything in that game can be watched and analyzed intently as well. It’s especially fun when you have a fantasy player(s) going in that game. If you miss the camaraderie of companions throughout the day, going out with friends to watch the SNF game or the Monday Night Football game the night after is always a fun option.
Taking the red pill (watching with friends)
The red pill entails getting together with your buddies to enjoy a full day of football and fun. The best thing that goes with football and friends on a Sunday is food, so plans can likely involve something surround having some food together as well.
The best way of doing this is getting together for a Sunday afternoon barbecue. The food is fresh and the drinks are cold. Everyone’s beverage of choice should be procured beforehand and put in the cooler. I’m not an alcohol drinker personally, so my preferred beverage is normally an ice cold Coca-Cola, which always goes down so great when it comes to a barbecue. If you don’t want to set up the grill and deal with that clean-up, an alternative can always be ordering some wings along with sipping those cold drinks.
Football, and sports in general, brings people together. The enjoyment of that camaraderie can’t be matched. The trash talk between fantasy football competitors facing off that week and the collective enjoyment of your team doing well and celebrating with friends who may be mutual fans just enhances the experience.
The channel options are the same as in the first scenario — RedZone may be the best option here if there are a mix of fans of different teams within the friend group, however. By the end of the day, bellies will be full and the craving of sports will be satisfied.
Following the conclusion of Sunday Night Football, the dread of Monday normally creeps in, but the promise of another NFL Sunday will be there as a reward for getting through another long work week. We have 18 of these Sundays. Enjoy it as much as possible, since the fall and winter months are very fleeting, and the spring and summer months of the offseason are seemingly endless.
So, which pill will you select?