Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
It’s the team everyone loves to hate, the one with the star quarterback and his model wife, a modern-day coaching legend and bragging rights to five Vince Lombardi Trophies.
The defending NFL champion New England Patriots take on the underdog Philadelphia Eagles, led by their backup quarterback, in Super Bowl LII, which kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in Minneapolis, after the national anthem, a few more commercials and some last-minute game analysis.
It’ll be a record eighth Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots, and just the third for the Eagles, who are seeking to avenge a 24-21 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX (2005). They also lost to the Oakland Raiders in 1981.
“Pink is singing the national anthem and Justin Timberlake is singing at halftime,” said Amber Scott, who was dining Wednesday with her family at Rickety Cricket, one of several bars and restaurants in Kingman hosting Super Bowl parties.
“It’s all about the party, good food, good drinks and the music. I don’t know much about football,” she said.
She’s not alone.
Beyond the wins and losses, the Super Bowl has morphed into a spectacle as much as a sporting event, attracting 100 million TV viewers. In comparison, roughly 35 million people watch the Oscars.
The buzz at the water cooler the next day isn’t about highlight plays, but what were the best commercials and who put on the best halftime show.
The Big Game has essentially become a social gathering. If you don’t want to be left out of the party, here are five spots to consider:
Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge, 3100 Andy Devine Ave. The restaurant seats 150 customers with a round bar that’s one of the nicest in town. It’s got 22 television screens, including a 90-inch main screen that’s great for watching sports. The surround-sound system makes you feel like you’re at the game. Canyon 66 will sell $2 domestic draft beers and $3 premium beers during the game, and 66-cent chicken wings. Combination platters include wings, poppers, fried pickles and boneless wings. “As we all know, Sunday is the big day for both the Eagles and the Patriots,” said Sultan Abbas, general manager of Canyon 66. “They both worked hard for this and deserve to be in the final.”
Rickety Cricket Brewing and House of Hops, 312 E. Beale St. Watch the game on the big screen and enjoy game-day specials starting at 4 p.m., including $3 domestic beers, $5 double well drinks and $15 bottomless mimosas. Take $1 off all house beers such as Birdcage Blonde and vitamin C-infused Daily Dose. Check the menu for appetizer specials. Owner Terry Thompson said he had a good crowd for last year’s Super Bowl party, and that was before opening Rickety Cricket restaurant. As for the game, “I’ve been working so much, I haven’t had time to follow what’s going on,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time preparing the restaurant. I didn’t have time to watch even a full game this year.”
Chili’s Grill and Bar, 3840 Stockton Hill Road. Happy hour specials run all day. Drink specials include $3 small domestic draft and well drinks, and $4 house wine, classic margaritas, small premium draft or large domestic draft. For eats, boneless and smoked wings are $6, and fresh guacamole and half-margarita flat bread are $4. Takeout party platters serve six to eight. “It’s going to be a fun time,” manager Sonia Ortman said. “We have a big group of Patriots’ fans and a big group of Eagles’ fans. Hopefully, the best team wins.”
Cerbat Lanes, 3631 Stockton Hill Road. The bar area of the bowling alley has a number of TVs, a good sound system and an expanded patio outside. There will be specials on domestic beer buckets and well drinks, along with pizza and wing combinations. Budweiser representatives will be on hand to give away promotional items, and some lucky partier will win a recliner. Bar manager Anna Smith, a Chargers fan, said she’s pulling for the Eagles. “I know the Eagles are due to win. I don’t care for the Patriots, I don’t like (quarterback) Tom Brady. But they do stand up for the flag, and they have discipline.”
Sundowner Saloon, 4400 Stockton Hill Road. It was the bar and grill’s soft opening under new owners Terri and Craig Bouchard for last year’s Super Bowl, so this is their one-year anniversary. The best deal is to buy one drink and get the second for $1 (must be purchased at the same time). Go for something high end like Johnnie Walker Scotch. On the menu, try a real Philly cheesesteak on an Amoroso roll, or go with Italian sausage and pepper and onion like they serve at Fenway Park. The first 100 people through the door can pick a square for great prizes. And don’t worry, there’ll be room for everyone as the dance floor will be filled with tables and chairs.