Workers erect a tent outside of Raymond James Stadium ahead of Super Bowl 55 Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (Image via AP/Charlie Riedel)
Workers erect a tent outside of Raymond James Stadium ahead of Super Bowl 55 Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (Image via AP/Charlie Riedel)

COVID-19 doesn’t need to get in the way of you (safely) enjoying wings and Yings with friends. Here’s The Keystone’s guide to a virtual get-together.

We all miss eating wings and yelling at the TV with our best buds, but 2021 isn’t the year for that. The Super Bowl isn’t worth contracting or spreading COVID-19. 

The nation’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf both made it a point to caution Americans about large gatherings for the most-watched television event of the year—Super Bowl Sunday. 

On “Today” and “Good Morning America,” Fauci warned that Super Bowl parties are potential superspreader events. “You don’t want parties with people that you haven’t had much contact with. You just don’t know if they’re infected,” Fauci said on “Good Morning America.” “So as difficult as that is, at least this time around, just lay low and cool it.”

Wolf addressed the idea of getting together for the Super Bowl all the way back in December.

At the time, he was loosening restrictions that had been put in place during the holiday season. Wolf said he had hoped that the number of vaccines and people vaccinated could lead to more get-togethers like Super Bowl Parties. However, he argued that Pennsylvanians had to make their decisions based on the virus and the facts at the time.

“As long as that virus is still out there, that’s the constant,” Wolf said. Pennsylvanians’ behavior has to be based around that, he said.

Pennsylvania still has more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases a day and less than 5% of the population has been fully vaccinated. 

But it’s not easy to break tradition, especially for the fiercest of football fans. A virtual party on Zoom or Skype is the safest way to enjoy the game with people that live outside of your household. Since the coronavirus and its variants are still a very real threat, here are three tips for hosting your very own socially distant virtual Super Bowl party. 

1. Stay in While Supporting Local Restaurants and Businesses 

Stay out of the bar or restaurant this year and order takeout for your household instead. In states with more alcohol restrictions, bars, and restaurants have adjusted by letting you order alcohol to-go. Pick your favorite local watering hole and order your hot wings and beer for takeout or delivery. Here are some very Pennsylvania snack and drink options: 

  • Pennsylvania has several excellent craft breweries that can add some flavor to your Super Bowl bash. For example, Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing Company, northeastern Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Brewing Company, Central Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Brewing Company, and Pittsburgh’s East End Brewing Company offer great options. And of course, there’s always Yuengling.
  • You can’t go wrong with Philadelphia Pretzel Company for a perfect soft pretzel. The samplers that come with different dips are a fantastic addition to any party. Make sure you order ahead.
  • It’s hard to imagine a Super Bowl Party without wings. Find your best local wing joint and order some flavors. There’s no shame in ordering boneless, either. It’s not like you’re rooting for the Cowboys or anything. 
  • Pennsylvania is rife with chip and pretzel companies. Herr’s, Martin’s, Middleswarth, Snyder’s, Utz all make marvelous munchies.

2. Create and Play Your Own Games During the Big Game

Spice up your virtual party with a game like Super Bowl Bingo. Create a bingo card online for the big game and send it to your guest list before kickoff. The card can be filled with words and phrases you think the announcers will say during the game. The game will be on CBS and called by Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, so look into their background a bit and get creative. Here are a few suggestions: Gisele, Cheetah, “Here we go, Jim,” and GOAT. 

You can also skip the bingo cards and take a drink every time the announcers say one of the phrases or make a guessing game out of which songs you think The Weeknd will perform at the halftime show. 

3. Decorate Your Party With a Virtual Background

There’s a few ways to virtually immerse yourself in the Super Bowl environment. Throw on your favorite team’s jersey, put on some eye black, and pretend you’re actually there with a virtual background of the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. You can put yourself on the field or even on the sidelines next to the Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaches. If you really want to get creative, try out a photo of your favorite sports bar or one of these moments from past Super Bowls.