Why You Shouldn't Start Your Super Bowl Party Too Early

Planning a Super Bowl party? Better step up your game before the big game! Have you got the menu all planned out with the most popular Super Bowl foods? Does your spread have plenty of finger foods, go heavy on the chicken wings, and stay light on the crudités? You'll also need to stock up on beverages, remembering to provide a range of appealing options for designated drivers. Maybe give some thought to seating, as well — how many people are going to fit on that couch, and do you have enough chairs for the overflow? If you expect some guests to sit on the floor, a few pillows might be nice.

One other thing you may be wondering is what time you should tell your guests to come by the house. Depending on your time zone, the game will start in the afternoon or evening on Sunday. While you want your party to kick off sometime prior to kickoff, just how far in advance should you have your guests arrive?

90 minutes prior to kickoff should be plenty of time

Fox Sports feels that 90 minutes is the maximum amount of time you should allow your guests to pregame. You may want to go even shorter, though, perhaps only an hour. The reason? For one thing, the game itself is pretty long, as football games tend to be. According to The Verge, the average Super Bowl broadcast lasts nearly 4 hours. Just how long do you want a houseful of people, anyway? And how much food do you have, and when is it likely to run out?

Another, more important, point is that most Super Bowl parties tend to involve quite a bit of boozing, and the longer the party, the more drinking that takes place. As the Insurance Information Institute points out, 43 states have something called social liability laws on the books, meaning that if a guest becomes intoxicated at a party you've hosted, you could face legal penalties if they then cause an accident. In addition to not starting your party too early, you might want to stop serving booze before the game is over. Perhaps you could do as the NFL did some 20+ years back and institute a policy saying that alcoholic beverage service ends at the close of the third quarter. If that policy won't go over well, you could always pull a Rutherford B. Hayes trick and pour your guests fake booze ... or at least switch to low-ABV drinks.