Line of Scrimmage: 10 Essential Life Hacks For NFL Fans

Photo: Stacy Revere [Getty Images]

The 2018-2019 NFL season is underway, which means it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to stay caught up on your favorite teams and enjoy the games. Being a football fan can be expensive and lonely sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be! Below are 10 simple life hacks that can help you get the most out of your fan experience.

Preseason Games Aren’t So Bad

I’m not a huge fan of preseason games, but I speak from experience when I say they are much more fun attending than watching on TV. Depending on the venue, you might luck out with cheaper tickets or even snag some for free from season ticket holders who decide to skip the game. Some free or discounted tickets may even get you closer to the field instead of the nosebleed section, and you might be pleasantly surprised how much fun you have.

Buddy Up With Season Ticket Holders

Who knows? Maybe a co-worker or a new pal will be willing to share their keys to the kingdom by inviting you to tag along to one of the games. They may even need a couple people to take their seats when they absolutely have to miss a game, and you could be one of the lucky ones picked!

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Tailgating Gone Right

I’ll keep this short and sweet: Stay close to a restroom, don’t leave the beer bottle opener behind, and make it easy for your buddies to find you with balloons or team flags posted up near your group.

Find Your Watching Spot

If you can’t afford to make the game in person but you still don’t want to stay home, find local spots where you can meet up with friends or make some new ones. My personal preferences include Buffalo Wild Wings and Chili’s, but it’s all about finding the vibe that fits you best in whatever bar or sports bar calls to you.

Keep in mind, however, that no matter where you end up there will be alcohol, which mixes terribly with angry fans. Try to avoid getting pulled into a fight, and don’t be the asshole that ruins the party. Everyone’s just trying to have a good time.

Watch Parties 

Watch parties take a bit of pre-planning if you want them to be successful. If you or a friend feel like hosting every week then more power to you, but rotating between people’s homes with friends pitching in money for the cost of food and drink, or by bringing their own, is usually a better option.

However, if one of your buddies is really down to play permanent host, you can have everyone split the cost for a sports package. I don’t even want to share the ungodly amount we pay for the NFL Sunday Ticket, but that price is much more manageable if a handful of people help cover the monthly cost for the service.

NFL Fan Clubs

You might be surprised to learn that some establishments actually host football fan clubs. The clubs are usually organized by favorite teams and you can search for any local clubs online. Benefits include meeting new friends, organizing watch parties, venting or celebrating a big loss or win, and possibly even planning a group road trip to finally see your team in person.

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Football & Sports Apps

If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest news the best way is to download apps that will keep you connected. The Score, NFL Mobile, ESPN, and official team or stadium apps are a must. You can also follow your favorite player or team accounts on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Say No To Spoilers 

The obvious way to avoid spoilers when you can’t catch a game live is to stay away from your phone and social media. Another tip is to not wear NFL gear in public that might cause people to randomly bring up how amazing that last-minute touchdown was.

Shopping For The Holidays

One of the best things about being a football fan is how much easier holiday shopping is, especially if you’re looking to not break the bank. There are tons of cheap gifts you can snatch up for any NFL fan, from ornaments to Funko POPs, even license plate covers — the possibilities are endless. Retailers usually offer sales around the holidays, including free shipping in special cases online. A little bit of research is your holiday gift best friend.

Spend Wisely

If you can’t afford the latest Aaron Rodgers jersey, consider going old school with throwback gear. Classics like Jim Brown and Joe Montana are a great choice if you’re looking to save a little before nabbing that dream player jersey. Another option is customized jerseys — gear with your own name lined by your favorite team colors won’t go out of style. Also, keep an eye out for discounted jerseys in bargain bins of former players. You never know what you might find!