In part one of this three part series we talked about the food and drink aspect of the gathering for the Big Game. We touched upon some of the past eras, the current era, and some ideas to make things easy on you, Party Host. In part two, we talked about the logistics of setting up your space for maximum viewing enjoyment (yea, boring, I know). Here’s the one you have been waiting for…GAMES!!
It has often been said of me, that I haven’t seen a “contest” that I haven’t wanted to enter (the word ‘pool’ stirs up thoughts of illegality, ‘contest’ for some reason makes it legal – ha!) . If we could somehow distinguish between cockroaches and line them up for a race, I’d create odds and put together some kind of contest. And it’s not just me, there’d be plenty of people looking to get in. Just wanted to get that out there before we get started….
If you are going to have people over, there needs to be entertainment outside of the Big Game itself. On top of that, there needs to be games that are strictly for the people in attendance, this way the winner will be present and everyone can groan when the prize is awarded. By no means am I suggesting that you only have games for attendees, you should be involved in as many contests as possible to cover all bases. Each year, I dip into my old monopoly set and start using that money (after all, that’s what I’m talking about here when I refer to money). As Party Host, you should have some posterboard and masking tape and be able to display stuff on the walls in the main television area. This is a must, I’ve tried handing out copies to my guests, just doesn’t work. Besides, having it on a posterboard mounted when they arrive is easy and makes it look official…and anyone arriving that isn’t “in” on the games will surely jump in just because of the presentation.
Here are three of my favorites:
Obviously, there needs to be squares. The rules of this really need no explanation here. Besides, my editor has already ripped off part of my story about me running it one time for a nice brand new television set (though I’m not sure if he left out the part about me buying the set a month in advance so I could enjoy it for the maximum amount of time, ha ha!)…and hey, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been ripped off as I see that my fantasy playoff contest is up and running on other sites besides fantasysharks.com (and yet I digress). My advice to you in this area is this: get in on as many as possible, but run some at your house strictly for attendees.
For the attendees contest, make it a low number per square…extremely low (a quarter) if it will be a small gathering. If yours is a late arriving crowd (and with kickoff well after 6pm I can’t see this as happening?), draw the numbers during the first quarter and split up the pot into quarters (second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter, and final score). If I may stray a bit, that’s another thing that I don’t get…how can some squares contests not split the pot into fifths and take into account the final score? In this crazy year of games, the possibility of having overtime is very real….why burn the guy who hits the fourth quarter number just because the game isn’t decided? 20% for each quarter, 20% for final score. Covers you if it does go into overtime, and if it ends in regulation, that guy at the end takes home 40% which makes sense since he hit the final score. Baffling (and yet again I digress).
So that’s that, no real news there, everyone has heard of it, everyone has been in it. The classic Superbowl Contest. Here’s a link to a basic description of the game.
Bonus: If you haven’t done a squares for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, then you are really missing out. Sounds rediculous? Try it. Get 100 of your degenerate friends or acquantances, toss in a Mr.Grant each, then based on that each and every game in the tournament has some value on it and each game counts, one side of the grid for the winning team, one side of the grid for the losing team. Easy, fun.
Just like the squares, this one requires no skill, just the ability to throw down an entry fee. The basis of this one is that there are twenty “players” (more on this later) that can score in the Big Game, so you need to find 20 people to toss in an entry fee, randomly draw out these “players” and assign one to each contest entry and whoever has the “player” that is the first to score in the Big Game, they will walk home with the pot. It’s that simple. The only requirements of you for this is a hat or bowl to draw out names, 20 pieces of paper to write down “players”, and a poster board (or similar) to write down the results of the draw so everyone can easily see them.
Now, the key is in the “players”. I choose to have 20 “players”, everyone tosses in a fin, c-note to the winner, nice round numbers. And twenty is a realistic number of players, ten from each team. You will notice that I’ve put “players” in quotes, you will soon learn why. Obviously, from each team you’ll have the following players as potentials that can score: one quarterback, 1 or 2 runningbacks (or fullbacks), 2 or 3 wide recievers, a tight end, and a kicker (and no, you won’t be writing “quarterback” on a piece of paper, you will be using the actual names of players). That gives you eight, but you need to “cover all bases”. You will need these two as “players”: “Other defensive/special teams Team <AFC>” and “Other offense Team <AFC>” and the same two for the NFC team. This way, if the backup tight end is the first to hit the end zone, you will still have a winner in your contest.
Now that the teams for the Big Game have been settled, here’s who’s in my “Impact” this year:
New England: Tom Brady, Antowain Smith, Kevin Faulk, Troy Brown, David Givens, Deion Branch, Christian Fauria, Adam Vinatieri, Other Offense, Other Defense/Special Teams
Carolina: Jake Delhomme, Stephen Davis, DeShaun Foster, Steve Smith, Muhsin Muhammed, Ricky Proehl, Kris Magnum, John Kasay, Other Offense, Other Defense/Special Teams
A bit of a tough draw with New England and Carolina being in the bowl, since it’s a rare occurance that their tight end gets into the end zone, but what can you do.
You can’t increase your odds, but like the squares, once you have been assigned a “player”, you can judge how likely it is you’ll be winning or losing. Kickers have the best chance at scoring, especially this year. Depending on the team, a running back may have good odds. You don’t want to have a quarterback, he is probably the least likely to score (even if it is Michael Vick). The “other” categories aren’t that great to have either, but it’s such a large pool of players, that anything is possible. And the beauty of this contest is, if you aren’t happy with the result, you can always get people to chip in again, re-draw the names, and do it for another time period in the game (ie. first to score in the second half, etc).
Simple premise, simple game, first points of the Big Game translate into someone winning something. Nice.
Bonus: This type of format can really be applied to any other sport. I’ve done it plenty of times with the baseball all star game and other games…
After we went public with our 30 Questions contest last year, every football site under the sun all of a sudden come up with “their own” questions contest (see above rant about the fantasy playoff contest). That’s ok, I’m here for you, for you are My People. I’m not exactly sure of the origin of this one, a buddy of mine (Mike Vinson) used to have a “day before” Super Bowl party that was well attended (back in our single days) at his “Winfield Compound” in Norwood. There were a few proposition questions that were to be answered in some contest format. Running with that, I’ve molded it over the years into a contest that simply put involves 30 Questions that can have only two answers. In the beginning, it was only for those at the party, but now, it involves upwards of 100 people.
In fact, now that I think of it, Mr.Vinson’s house is where I first saw the luge that later became a staple at our huge St.Patrick’s Day and Half-Way to St.Patrick’s Day house parties back in the days of Perthshire Street in Brighton. Mmm, how a simple block of frozen water could bring so much pleasure to so many…..makes me wanna stick my lips to that chunk of ice and have someone pour me a double shot of Goldslauger down that beast….and I remember like yesterday how the sadness turned to complete and utter ecstasy that first year when we realized it could be flipped over to the other side when the first side was no longer usable….mmmmm, oooh, yea….(hee, squeezed in a quote from “101 Greatest Goals” that I can think of only one person reading this knows what I’m talking about) ……whoa, back to the story…
The premise is this, we’ve all seen the “proposition” bets that Vegas (and on-line sites) will take action on. You know, who will pass for more yards, etc. Then there are the point spreads, and the pleothera of over/under type things, too. Literally hundreds of things to choose from. I found that thirty questions fit very nicely onto a single piece of paper, and that amount of questions is not too many as to chase lazy players from playing, yet it is just enough to determine a winner from a large amount of entries. I collect a couple bucks per entry, and I split it out so the person with the most correct answers takes home 70%, while the second place person takes home 30%. Not a bad investment on two dollars.
This type of contest takes a little bit of planning, and a little effort after the game to determine the winner, but I think it’s a fun one. And if you have a core group of friends, you can get together (at your favorite watering hole, of course) to put together the list of questions. After a couple of years, you will get the hang of making up good questions where the answers will be spread evenly on both sides….that’s they key, because this really makes this contest anyone’s ball game – and more importantly, a game that anyone can participate in.
Another key that will help you go thru all the entries is in the set up of the sheet itself, since all your questions will have only two possible answers, you want everything to line up nicely. Questions to the left, two answer columns to the far right. This makes “correcting” the sheets a snap since you can just quickly run down the two answer columns (I’m hoping that my two year old can help me out this year. Really, it’s that easy.).
As for the questions themselves, I like to break the 30 up into thirds. The first third being team “versus” questions. Things like: point spread <number>, first team to run an offensive play, first team to score, first team flagged for a penalty, who will pass for more yards, who will rush for more yards, who will have more catches, etc, etc. I always try to have the player questions cover each position right down to the kicker. You want to make sure you have each team set up in an answer column, or a specific player (or players, can always have one of the answers be a combination of two teammates).
The next third, are the “yea/nay” questions. Things like: Will <team> take a lead in the game, will there be a defensive touchdown, will the first person to score have an even number, will there be a safety, etc. Here I try to toss in a fun question having to do with another sporting event taking place that same day, something like: Will Shaq score more points than both teams combined? Or, will Tiger Woods have a lower score on the front nine than the combined final score? Last year I had to use Walker plus Pierce of the Celtics (which was ok being from Boston). You get the idea. Just make up a question that will either be yea or nay, set up your yeas and nays in the answer columns on your sheet.
The last third are the “over/under” questions. Things like: <number> total points both teams combined, individual star player rushing yards, individual reciever all purpose yards, <number>.5 field goals made both teams, <number>.5 sacks both teams, etc. Every question in this section will be either over or under (which will be in your answer columns). Make sure to make the numbers be a decimal, with only 30 questions, you don’t want one of them to come out as a push, thus effectively reducing the amount of questions.
Since this year’s contest is already up and running on the site, go on over and take a look at what is there. And hey, don’t feel like correcting anything? Have people submit their entries thru the site, collect their dough, and let us do the correcting for you!
Feel free to come up with some of your own, as long as the question has only two answers, it’s fair game. One thing you might want to keep in mind, make sure you can find the answers to the questions somewhere the next morning. While questions about the commercials that are shown during the game might be funny, it won’t be funny if you actually don’t know the answer. As Party Host, it is only inevitable that the beer will get the better of you while watching the game, so you probably don’t want to try and keep track of anything that can’t be found in the on-line box score the following morning.
That’s about all. Best of luck and let’s hope for a great Super Bowl game (and for once can my square come up!?!?). Go Pats!