The Big Game is over, and the American football season is done — for now. In truth, the gears of the football machine never stop turning; during February and March, teams are busy scouting new players, finalizing options with open contracts, managing their team salaries and negotiating rule changes for the next season. If you love football, you don’t have long to wait for another occasion to watch, and to celebrate the sport.
The Super Bowl is far from the only party-worthy occasion for football fans. While many people devote a year to coming up with Super Bowl party ideas, you can start celebrating sooner with these other important and often neglected football holidays.
The Scouting Combine is a week-long event where college football players showcase their skills in an attempt to draw the attention of NFL coaches, general managers and scouts. The event begins with a physical exam and all sorts of on-field drills, like sprints, jumps, passes, weightlifting and more. Then, the players complete a mental exam, which is designed to assess cognitive ability, and a psychological profile.
Typically, the Combine takes place at the end of February and lasts a full week, with several days devoted to on-field activity. Football fans who live in or near Indianapolis can see the Combine first-hand; the event is always held in Lucas Oil Stadium. However, you can also watch the Combine at home if your cable provider offers the NFL Network or if you subscribe to the streaming service through the NFL app, Sling TV or other providers.
You might gather your friends to watch some of the on-field activities, which feel like field events at the Olympics; you might even have friendly wagers about the best-performing players or where certain players will find homes come Draft Day.
Draft Day is one of the most significant events for serious football fans because it largely determines how a team will compete in the coming season. In truth, Draft Day is more like Draft Weekend, taking place over the course of three days in late April.
Many teams host Draft Day parties of their own; if you are a committed fan, you might try to get ahold of some tickets for this year’s event. However, if you prefer to celebrate Draft Day with friends and family, you might organize a gathering to re-watch the first few rounds before you perform your own fantasy draft for the new football season. Then, you can track your fantasy team’s players throughout training to get a better sense of how they will perform once the season kicks off.
The first game of the season is a momentous occasion for any football fan because it means another glorious five months filled with exhilarating athletic ability and astounding sports strategy. The first game always takes place around the first week of September, but the NFL schedule isn’t announced until mid-April, so you won’t know who is playing that first game until then.
If you aren’t partial to just any football team, you might wait until the following Sunday (or Monday) to host a first game party centered on your favorite team. The first home game of the season is also a thrilling event — but you should only plan a party if you aren’t planning to attend yourself.
The NFL began on August 20, 1920 when representatives from four football teams met in an auto showroom in Canton, Ohio. Almost 100 years later, the NFL has grown to encompass 32 teams, two conferences and over $8.1 billion in annual revenue — it is a uniquely American institution that deserves respect and reverence.
To celebrate its centennial, the NFL is preparing an anniversary game that includes some of the greatest coaches and players on the field today: Bill Belichick, Larry Fitzgerald, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and more. This game promises to be even more exhilarating than the Super Bowl, so you should start planning this party right now.
Football is so much more than the big game at the end of the championships. You can celebrate football in a hundred ways over the course of the next year — and if you are passionate about football, you should start scheduling your parties stat.