A fervor for football has inspired many fans to explore additional ways to get involved with the game they love. In recent years, that search has most often ended with the discovery of fantasy football. Not to imply that fantasy football is a recent invention, it absolutely is not, but with the advent of the internet and all the digital options for scoring and whatnot, it's certainly become more accessible. As a result, people are jumping on board by the thousands every year.
With fantasy football comes the fantasy draft, and gathering your friends together for a draft is the perfect opportunity to have a party! I am the commissioner of my fantasy league and so I host the draft party at my place every year. I was planning this year's event, and I decided that it would be a great idea to share some of these ideas with you.
Getting Ready for Draft Kickoff
I want the players in my league to know that the focus of the day is football, and I accomplish that in a few different ways.
- Show a Game on the T.V. with the Volume Turned Off: Our draft normally comes after the second preseason game. We wait this long so that everyone gets a chance to see the rookies in some game action, albeit preseason game action. Also, most teams wrap up training camp about this time so that the injuries players get from being out of shape when they arrive in camp have already occurred. Because we wait this long, I record one of the preseason games and play it during the draft. The volume is off to keep it from being too much of a distraction. After all, nothing says football like football!
- Wear Your Favorite Team's Jersey and Cap: C'mon, don't pretend you don't have one. Answer the door flying your colors proudly! If you REALLY want to impress your friends, get a jersey made in your favorite team's colors with your fantasy team name emblazoned on the back! I'm thinking a Shin Grabbin' Momma's Boys jersey would be EPIC!
- Play the NFL Theme to Signal Each Round: This has the potential to get annoying, so feel free to just use the NFL theme to start the draft and call it good.
Once you've created the perfect atmosphere, you have to provide the perfect party foods! These are some beloved staples of football lovers everywhere.
- Hot Wings: No kidding, right? What football-themed party is complete without hot wings? Not one I'm going to attend, I'll tell you that. And none of those store-bought or restaurant wings either, I make my own. If you're interested in the recipe, click here.
- Pizza: Football and a slice, is there anything better? There are several pizza places that specialize in both pizza and wings, so you can kill two birds with one stone if you're into the restaurant versions, but one of my league-mates is married to a woman that makes excellent home-made pizza, so I normally ask her to provide this.
- Chips and Dip: Get as creative here as you like. If you are a master of the cheeseball, try an oblong one decorated to look like a football! For the rest of us, we'll have to make do with some store bought options or a little cheese melted on the stove with diced chilis, tomatoes, and onions tossed in.
- (Root) Beer: Whether you want real beer or root beer, you need something that ends in beer. That's not just me talking either, I think it's a law.
After the food is ready to go, all you have left is making sure you're ready for the draft. That's kind of important, right?
- Adequate Seating: Make sure you have a place for everyone to sit so they can see the draft board. The board should be the main focus of the room, so you'll want your league-mates to be sitting in a semi-circle around it. Make sure you have enough chairs for everyone!
- Writing Surfaces: You need to be sure that everyone has something they can use to write on. Not paper, they should have their own supplies, but a hard surface. If you don't have enough tables, use clip boards, but everyone should be capable of keeping up with their own draft.
- Draft Cheat Sheet: Okay, this really isn't a party accessory, but I'd feel remiss if I didn't include it. It's for you, not them. I consider myself to be very knowledgeable about football, and yet as the commissioner of the league I have a lot of things running during the draft. For that reason, I bring a cheat sheet for myself.
Most everyone does this, and most of my league-mates have one as well, but in all the preparation it can be easy to forget to have your own supplies. This sheet is nothing more than a rank of the top 20 players at each of the low quantity draft positions such as QB, kicker, D/ST and TE and a breakdown of the top 50 players at the big quantity positions such as RB and TE. I highlight the players I want ahead of time, so that during the draft I don't have to spend a lot of time thinking about it and can concentrate on running things for everyone else.
And that's it folks. Once you have all of these things ready to go, all you need to do is answer the door, throw some high-fives, and break out the trash talk. It's time for football!