Super Bowl Fan Guide

Mike MeyerFebruary 2015
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VSBC Top 5
Be sure to visit these attractions during your Verizon Super Bowl Central adventure. Click here for a printable PDF map of Verizon Super Bowl Central (VSBC)

#1 NFL Experience
January 24-February 1
One of the Super Bowl’s most popular attractions, this interactive pigskin theme park features kids’ clinics, games and autograph sessions. $35, adults; $20, children 12 and under. Phoenix Convention Center, 111 N. Third St., 866-TIX-4NFL, superbowl.com

#2 Super Bowl Media Day
January 27
The NFL will offer 7,000 fans a unique opportunity to attend Media Day Fueled by Gatorade on Tuesday, January 27. $32. US Airways Center , 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Fans may purchase tickets at superbowl.com.

#3 Autograph Stage
January 28-31
You wouldn’t dream of returning home without a few autographs on your souvenir Super Bowl XLIX football, right? From 2 p.m.-6 p.m. January 28-31, find many of your pigskin heroes here with pen in hand. See azsuperbowl.com for a list of talent.

#4 XLIX Music Stages
January 28-31
Verizon Super Bowl Central will crank out multiple music concerts on a daily basis on its dedicated XLIX Stage. See azsuperbowl.com for a complete list of acts.

#5 Bud Light House of Whatever Party
January 30-February 1
Hotel Palomar becomes the Bud Light Hotel for a three-day, invite-only party featuring more than a dozen music performances including DJ Steve Aoki (Jan. 30). 2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602-253-6633, budlight.com/up-for-whatever.html

Travel Tips
>> Parking is limited near Super Bowl Central. Officials suggest parking off-site and using Valley Metro Light Rail (blue dotted lines on map) and city buses to get in and out.
>> Valley Metro is issuing a 7-day commemorative pass ($25) to cover unlimited rides.
>> Visit valleymetro.org/superbowl to find a list of park-and-ride sites, purchase passes and find detailed bus routes.

Valleywide Events
Verizon Super Bowl Central isn’t the only place to enjoy yourself this week.
Find these events throughout Greater Phoenix.

St. Jude Warren Moon Pro Bowl Reception
January 22
Join the Hall of Fame signal-caller for a star-studded steak dinner benefitting St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. $1,000. Morton’s Steakhouse, 15233 N. Kierland Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-951-4440, sports1marketing.com.

Gridiron Glory
January 24-May 3
Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame puts visitors in the game alongside football’s greatest legends. The exhibit includes more than 200 rare artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including legendary gear, photos and documents, as well as NFL Films video footage. Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602-716-2000, azscience.org

The Pro Bowl
January 25
Pro football’s all-star scrimmage marks the official kickoff of Super Bowl Week in the Valley of the Sun. Like last year’s game, player-captains will select teams from the pool of Pro Bowl players, creating many intriguing teammate-on-teammate matchups. Kickoff 6 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinals Dr., Glendale, 623-433-7101, nfl.com/probowl

Fan Fest Scottsdale
January 26-February 1
Football meets food, fashion and fun at ESPN’s broadcast site. The free event features a variety of culinary activities, interactive gaming, and  fan rallies. Located just north of Scottsdale Fashion Square, on Scottsdale and Camelback roads. Times: 4 a.m.-8 p.m. M-F; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sa; 8 a.m.-noon Su. fanfestscottsdale.com

DirecTV Super Fan Festival
January 28-30
DirecTV hosts a three-day festival including  the Bud Light Biergarden, football skills challenge led by NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, and 12 concerts on two stages, headlined by the Zac Brown Band (Jan. 28), Calvin Harris (Jan. 29) and Imagine Dragons with Snoop Dogg (Jan. 30). Tickets: $99-$299 for single-day; $249-$799 for 3-day package. 91st Ave. and Bethany Home Rd., Glendale, stubhub.com/directv

1st and Ten Kickoff
January 29-31
This multi-day music massive looks fun but nebulous. Organizers first announced dubstep superstar Skrillex as headliner, then switched gears and announced Pharrell Williams instead. Acts remained unconfirmed at press time, but organizers promise multiple acts each night, with DJs and comedians  entertaining the crowd between sets. Tickets start at $220 per day. Scottsdale Mall Amphitheater, 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale, 888-724-7742, 1standtenkickoff.com

14th Annual Players’ Wives Fashion Show
January 30
Wives of current and former NFL players walk the runway, modeling the latest fashions from local stores to raise funds for local and national charities supported by Off the Field. Donation: $200-$40,000. Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, 7014 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale, 480-941-2400, offthefieldpwa.com.

Chocolate Affaire
January 30-31
Celebrate la dulce vida with children’s activities, horse-drawn carriage rides and an abundance of treats provided by local and national chocolatiers. This year’s event adds a “Super Street” twist with activities saluting the NFL teams in the big game. 58th and Glendale avenues, Glendale, 623-930-2299, glendaleaz.com/events

CBS Night Before
January 31
“We’re talking about taking tailgating in Phoenix to a whole new level,” Dierks Bentley says of this Super Bowl eve concert. Joining the Valley native as headliners are Jason Aldean (“My Kind of Party”) and Florida Georgia Line (“Cruise”). $69-$269. 6 p.m. US Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

Super Bowl XLIX Celebrity Golf Classic
January 31
Tee off with Pro Football Hall of Fame legends like Dick Butkus and Lawrence Taylor at this 18-hole scramble benefitting the NFL Foundation. Fee: $1,500. Free to watch. Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. 5350 Marriott Dr., Phoenix, 480-293-5000, marriott.com

Valor & Victors
January 31
Join NFL alumni and legends for a football-themed morning 5K run celebrating Super Bowl anticipation. Proceeds benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation and NFL Alumni Association. $50. 8:30 a.m. Arizona Canal Trail at Southbridge, southwest of Scottsdale and Camelback roads in Scottsdale. nflalumni5k.org

NFL Team Cheat Sheet
Super Bowl XLIX is being played in Arizona, but it’s a true nationwide event, drawing fans from every NFL city. Use this handy primer to make friendly chit-chat with them.

AFC
East
Buffalo Bills
New York State’s only NFL team – the Giants and Jets both play in Joisey. The Bills are best known for playing in four straight Super Bowls (and losing all of them) and fielding famed running back Orenthal James Simpson (who now wears number 02648927 for Nevada’s Lovelock Legends).
Discuss: Stifling the otherwise invisible Aaron Rodgers in week 14
Don’t mention: Infamous field goal misser Scott Norwood, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Miami Dolphins
Still the only team to ever play a perfect season (sorry, Patriots!), the Dolphins have struggled to find an identity in the 15 years since Dan Marino quit the game following a 62–7 playoff defeat to the Jaguars. The ‘Fins are rebuilding after a bullying scandal imploded the team’s offensive line last season.
Discuss: 1972, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (starring Dan Marino)
Don’t mention: Richie Incognito, JMart

New England Patriots
The league’s most successful team over the past 15 years, the Pats are powered by hobo genius coach Bill Belichick and ruggedly handsome quarterback Tom Brady, who married a supermodel and models Man Uggs.
Discuss: Getting Belichick for a draft pick; Spygate overblown
Don’t mention: Eli Manning

New York Jets
Surprise winners of Super Bowl III, and very little in the XLVI years since, the Jets hobbled out of a long, dreary season under boisterous but incompetent (and ultimately fired) coach Rex Ryan, who spent more time cracking wise with the media than nurturing a competent quarterback.
Discuss: Joe Namath
Don’t mention: The Butt Fumble

North
Baltimore Ravens
When the Ravens were still the Cleveland Browns, former owner Art Modell fired legendary coaches Paul Brown and Bill Belichick, alienated all-time great running back Jim Brown and piled up personal debt he could only escape by moving the team. Their second-ever draft pick was tried for murder. Somehow, they’ve won two Super Bowls.
Discuss: SB power outage
Don’t mention: Ray Rice, elevators, surveillance video

Cincinnati Bengals
After getting fired by Modell, Paul Brown launched his own team, the Cincinnati Bengals. Without other business concerns to support the team, they’re always broke. The 1982 Super Bowl team, for example, practiced on a 70-yard field, stayed at Hiltons and flew on a budget airline. They have a full-size practice field now, but few skilled scouts to fill it with talent.
Discuss: Boomer, the Icky Shuffle, the “Who Dey” chant
Don’t mention: Andy Dalton’s hair or contract

Cleveland Browns
It’s been 50  years since the Browns last won a championship and 15 years since they returned to the league as an expansion franchise. Things have not gone well. The current experiment involves diminutive and run-happy Heisman-winning QB Johnny “Football” Manziel.
Discuss: How LeBron would do as a tight-end
Don’t mention: Tim Couch, Brandon Weeden, wrecking the league

Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers fans from the Steel City are generally nice people, but beware the bandwagoners drawn in by Sixburgh’s Super Bowl success. Redneck America has embraced this squad, which is why their gear is sold in every Walmart in America.
Discuss: Sandwiches topped with french fries, Sidney Crosby
Don’t mention: Similarities between Big Ben and Bill Cosby

South
Houston Texans
Defensive end J.J. Watt is the best Texan seen since the team entered the league in 2002 and might be the best player in NFL this season. He’ll single-handedly wreck an opposing drive – then line up as a tight end on clutch short-yardage passing plays. Too bad the Texans can’t get 2014 first-rounder Jadeveon Clowney’s motor running or find a dependable QB.
Discuss: “Just how great is J.J.?”
Don’t mention: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallatt, Case Keenum, et al

Indianapolis Colts
Never has the Lord blessed any team with more quarterbacking luck than these Colts. From 1998 to 2010, they had Peyton Manning under center for 227 straight games including one Super Bowl victory. Then, after a single terrible season that secured the first pick in the draft, they took Andrew Luck, who’s been a star, too.
Discuss: Lucas Oil Stadium, Luck, luck
Don’t mention: Jim Irsay’s DUI, Trent Richardson

Jacksonville Jaguars
After more than a decade of begging and pleading for an NFL team, the Jags landed in JAX in 1995. The original owner recently sold the team to a Pakistani businessman who maybe didn’t pay almost a billion dollars for a team in a smallish north Florida city.
Discuss: Tom Coughlin’s miracle expansion draft
Don’t mention: Los Angeles, Limp Bizkit

Tennessee Titans
The former Houston Oilers have had one miracle and a lot of heartache since moving to Nashville in 1997. Former Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt led the squad through a 2014 season in which the team found exciting new ways to struggle every game.
Discuss: Cool Cast Away shoutout, next year’s QB
Don’t mention: Steve McNair  (R.I.P.)

West
Denver Broncos
The two-time champ Broncos have one-time champ Peyton Manning in the cockpit of a high-powered “video game” offense. Former longtime QB John Elway now calls the shots, and gave Manning the late-career second shot he enjoyed in the late ’90s, after losing two Super Bowls in the late ’80s.
Discuss: Knile Davis, the best backup RB in the league
Don’t mention: The Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs
Remember Andy Reid, that plump and mustachioed former coach who brought Michael Vick back into the league with the Eagles? Well, he’s looking like the Kool-Aid man now as coach of this team led by freak runner Jamaal Charles. They haven’t won a ring since 1969, but they’re always in the hunt.
Discuss: Knile Davis, the best backup RB in the league
Don’t mention: The Broncos

Oakland Raiders
The old commitment to excellence has been, ahem, neglected in recent years as the East Bay’s team has struggled mightily. It’ll all be blown up this off-season. You probably shouldn’t discuss this with Raiders fans in Arizona, though – they tend to be pretty feisty.
Discuss: “Just win, baby!”
Don’t mention: Owner Mark Davis’ Dumb and Dumber haircut

San Diego Chargers
SoCal’s team is a pretty chill squad that’s cool winning, what, like eight or nine or 10 games every year, then takin’ ‘er easy in the playoffs and hitting the beach early. Same dudes every year – Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates – winning a respectable number of games. But, bro, not so many games as to work late. These dudes understand life.
Discuss: I dunno, burritos?
Don’t mention: It’s all cool, bro.

NFC
East
Dallas Cowboys
‘Merica’s team plays in billion-dollar stadium built with the largest high-def screen in the world. On that screen, QB Tony Romo towers 70 feet, and his wife’s hair stands 71.
Discuss: Barbecue, chili, Dez Bryant
Don’t mention: How the team responds to playoff pressure

New York Giants
New York’s legacy team has had spotty success in the decade since hiring coach Tom Coughlin and acquiring QB Eli Manning in a blockbuster draft-day trade. Brighter spots include two Super Bowl wins and the most exciting rookie in the league, receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Discuss: ODB or OBJ?, the return of Victor Cruz
Don’t mention: Coughlin’s contract

Philadelphia Eagles
The most sought-after college coach in recent memory, Chip Kelly, formerly of the Oregon Ducks, is an offensive genius who hasn’t yet assembled the top-tier talent needed to fully deploy his schemes in the NFL. Give him another draft or two, and this team is truly scary.
Discuss: Is Nick Foles the real deal?
Don’t mention: 2001-2005

Washington Redskins
Washington’s football team belongs to Dan Snyder, perhaps the most reviled owner in the history of professional sports. The team’s short-term future is bleak since Snyder traded four top picks for RGIII, a quarterback who is very marketable, moderately talented and extremely fragile.
Discuss: Sensitivity to other cultures, American history, RGIII
Don’t mention: Name change

North
Chicago Bears
Da Bears are mid-tailspin, replacing a coach coming off a 10-6 season who’d previously taken the team to the Super Bowl with a Canadian Football Leaguer who benched Pro-Bowl QB Jay Cutler. No one in Chicago is excited about any of this.
Discuss: Matt Forte, hot dog toppings
Don’t mention: Cutler, Brian Urlacher

Detroit Lions
What a weird era: The league’s bad boys wear Honolulu Blue instead of black. Led by fearsome and much-fined defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, a receiving corps that doesn’t get a first down without taunting someone and a QB that plays through injuries with a sneer, they’re a nasty bunch.
Discuss: Megatron
Don’t mention: 0-16, Suh’s impulse control

Green Bay Packers
Like wearing a Carhart stocking hat with a $150 flannel shirt, today’s Packers are bougie blue collar chic. Led by QB Aaron Rodgers, the Pack offensive juggernaut attempts to slow opponents defensively only enough to bludgeon them with two six-yard runs and an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Discuss: Is Rodgers better than Favre?
Don’t mention: The Bills defense

Minnesota Vikings
On the plus side, the owners successfully prodded voters into buying them a billion-dollar stadium with a clear dome. On the downside, franchise player Adrian Peterson missed the season with pending child abuse charges and is probably headed elsewhere.
Discuss: Target, Randy Moss in his prime
Don’t mention: Switches, former punter Chris Kluwe, current placekicker Blair Walsh

South
Atlanta Falcons
Some argued that no team from the NFL’s worst division was worthy of a playoff spot when better teams were stuck at home. Well, sorry. The Falcons are the division’s funnest team, with capable QB Matt Ryan tossing to human highlight reel Julio Jones.
Discuss: The dirty bird era, Andre Rison
Don’t mention: Michael Vick

Carolina Panthers
Star QB Cam Newton is the only modern player to win the Heisman, win the college national championship, and go first in the NFL draft in one year. After a fast start in the NFL, Newton and the Panthers struggled through a season that culminated in injuries from a car crash.
Discuss: Is Ron Rivera the right guy for the job?
Don’t mention: Stolen laptops, bribes

New Orleans Saints
The once unstoppable Saints offensive lagged this year – maybe because QB Drew Brees had too little protection, or maybe because coach Sean Payton’s staff stopped offering bounties on opposing players.
Discuss: The longevity of both Brees and the Superdome
Don’t mention: Bountygate, Katrina

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Former Bears boss Lovie Smith is leading the Bucs through a long, confused rebuilding process. They play in what is essentially an amusement park and have stockpiled skill players while studiously avoiding any talented linemen.
Discuss: Do you take Marcus Mariota in the draft or trade the pick for a new offensive line?
Don’t mention: Wasting Vincent Jackson’s last year on the team

West
Arizona Cardinals
Oh, you know these guys. They’re the well-coached, over-achieving  fellows who play in that handsome facility near California.
Discuss: Cardinals fans almost by definition moved to Arizona recently, otherwise they’d be Cowboys fans, right? So: “Where are you from? What brought you out here?”
Don’t mention: Ben Roethlisberger, Terry McAulay

St. Louis Rams
The league’s best defense would’ve had a shot at carrying this team to a Super Bowl if the oft-broken QB Sam Bradford hadn’t busted his leg in the preseason leaving the Rams in the hands of journeymen stiffs Austin Davis and Shaun Hill.
Discuss: Next year!
Don’t mention: Hands up, don’t shoot

San Francisco 49ers
This Niners team got this close just two years ago. They’re set for demolition after the season, with coach Jim Harbaugh gone, Frank Gore out of his contract and QB Colin Kaepernick struggling enough that he might get competition.
Discuss: Do you keep trying with Kaepernick? Is GM Trent Baalke the talent or not?
Don’t mention: Richard Sherman

Seattle Seahawks
The defending Super Bowl champs, led by a back-cracking defense, a beastly running back who doesn’t say much and a quarterback who says all the right things at the appointed time and will scramble for a first down just when you think you’ve got him.
Discuss: The challenges of repeating, Richard Sherman
Don’t mention: Those horrible American Family Insurance commercials, Truthers

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Photo by Sam Nalven

David Rousseau wasn’t sure about his credentials to be Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee chairman – that is, until the lights went out at the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans. “I felt like my day job at Salt River Project was a pretty good qualification [afterward],” the SRP president says. Having raised some $30 million as the leader of the nonprofit SBHC, Rousseau talked with PHOENIX about the committee’s goals – and keeping the lights on.

During Super Bowl weekend, the committee will host more than 50 business executives for a CEO Forum. How can the Super Bowl lead to economic development opportunities?
My predecessors did this in 2008 and had six different businesses locate here and expand their footprint. We’ll have a new governor, and we want to make the most of this opportunity. Some of that is sharing a new, refreshed view of what Arizona’s economy is… we’ve been known for some of our missteps the last several years.

Speaking of which, the committee came out against SB 1062, which would have allowed businesses to deny service based on religious beliefs. Why did a Super Bowl committee get involved in politics?
This Super Bowl is probably the most significant event that was awarded to the Valley post- SB 1070, which had a negative impact on our state and convention business.

So any chance of the lights going off?
The Cardinals have installed LED lighting that comes on almost instantaneously; the lights in New Orleans took about 30 to 40 minutes to warm back up. Our folks at Salt River Project have been even more resolved than they would have traditionally been – we’re used to keeping the lights on everywhere.

What are your plans for Super Bowl Sunday?
The couch doesn’t sound too bad, to be honest. Game day will be great, but all of our work is focused on wrapping up our fundraising. I guess I don’t think much about the game. That’s the one day that takes care of itself.
– Amy Saunders

Top 10 Parties
We salute the other great game of Super Bowl week: getting into parties.
#10: Moves Magazine Super Bowl Party
January 28
Hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash performs; former NFL linebacker turned film director Simeon Rice hosts. The party includes a screening of Rice’s new suspense movie, Unsullied. Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale, 480-248-2000, movesmagazine.com

#9: Ditka & Jaws Cigars with the Stars
January 29
Hosted by Mike Ditka and Ron “Jaws” Jaworksi, the party features premium cigars, single-malt scotches and appearances by  Monday Night Football announcer Mike Tirico, former NFL star Mike Golic and ESPN sportscaster Suzy Kolber. $500-$15,000.  7 p.m. Dos Gringos, 4209 N. Craftsman Ct., Scottsdale, 480-423-3800, ditkajawscigars.com

#8: HOF Players All-Star Cocktail Party
January 29
Yacht rock legend Michael McDonald performs following the NFL Hall of Fame Players Super Bowl Golf Classic. Kurt Warner and Randall McDaniel host . $375 per person. 6-10 p.m. The Venue Scottsdale, 7117 E. Third Ave., Scottsdale, 480-945-5551, hofplayersevents.org

#7: Tiësto at Maya Day + Nightclub
January 30
The Dutch DJ extraordinaire kicks off Super Bowl weekend in one of Scottsdale’s swankiest dens of debauchery. A young, sexy scene for sure. 9 p.m. $70-$125. 7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale, mayaclubaz.com

#6: Leather & Laces
January 30-31
Top international models host this sexy soirée, featuring runway fashions, an open bar, hand-rolled sushi, DJs, cirque performers and magicians. SNL’s Stefon would approve. $862-$10,510 per night. 9:30 p.m. Bentley Projects, 215 E. Grant St., Phoenix. leatherandlaces.com

#5: Taste of the NFL
January 31
Celebrity chefs from each NFL city dish their favorites alongside dozens of NFL stars. Andrew Zimmern and Alyssa Milano host. $700 guest tickets; $9,000 VIP table. WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, 480-666-5522, tasteofthenfl.com

#4: Madden Bowl Party
January TBA
Presented by EA Sports, this 20-year annual event boasts live music and mucho celebrities. Last year’s event included The Roots, Run DMC and Busta Rhymes. 2015 details not announced at press time.

#3: Maxim Super Bowl Party
January 31
Maxim’s Hometown Hotties dress to a theme while guests enjoy live music, DJs, dancing, cirque performers and magicians. $1,800 general admission; $30,000 table VIP. 10 p.m. Venue TBA. sbtickets.com/maxim-super-bowl-party

#2: ESPN The Party
January 30
This invite-only party draws celebs in droves. Music performers not announced at press time, but are always global stars like last year’s headliners: Robin Thicke and Kendrick Lamar. WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, 480-666-5522, espntheparty.com

#1: Rolling Stone Super Bowl Party
January 31
Performances by national recording artists and DJs, bottle service and meet-and-greet opportunities. Headliners at previous parties have included Pitbull, Gym Class Heroes and Cobra Starship. $814-$850 general admission; $1,102-$1,700 VIP; $8,850-$29,950 tables. 9 p.m. Venue of Scottsdale, 7117 E. Third Ave., Scottsdale, tinyurl.com/lqt35g2

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Super Bowl Tips with Tara Hitchcok
Let the PHOENIX magazine travel guru – and attendee at multiple Super Bowls – guide you through the event, from cool parties to kickoff.

My first Super Bowl was in Tampa. It was a Christmas present for my father: 40-yard line seats at face value to watch the Ravens and Giants, two teams I didn’t care about with the dad I loved. Since then, I’ve been to five Super Bowls: some for work – I’m still hurting from the Cardinals in 2009 – but all for fun. And I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Best place to spot a celeb: Skip the Maxim and Playboy parties. Go to where ESPN is set up (Scottsdale Fashion Square) or Downtown across from US Airways Center (NBC’s The Today Show/CNN/NFL Network broadcast site). It’s a who’s who of guests that pop in and out, sometimes with no entourage. Of course, you’ll also see a revolving door of celebs at hot spots like Dominick’s and Steak 44.

Beware the swag bag: Inside the stadium on game day. I’m still not sure what to do with my glow stick that never glowed during halftime a few games ago. Although last year’s New Jersey/New York earmuffs and soft fleece hand warmer did come in handy. Each seat inside the stadium will have either a cushion or bag filled with goodies from the NFL on it.

The four fans you’re guaranteed to see on game day: 1) The fan who can’t move on. This is the fan who will be wearing his team’s jersey… a team that is nowhere near Arizona on game day. And he’s bitter! 2) The MORE than social drinker. The fan who looks like they started drinking during last year’s Super Bowl loss and hasn’t stopped. Beware! A total wild card. 3) The corporate conference attendee. The fan dressed in a sports coat as if he’s networking for a CEO position. His wife may look like she thought she was attending a charity dinner. They’re usually suite holders. 4) The fair-weather Christmas/Easter Catholic. This is the fan who hasn’t stepped inside a stadium all year. Also known as the “waste-of-a-ticket fan.”

Best chance to get on TV during the game: Getting on the field and streaking may guarantee some air time, but the pre-game is still your best bet. The network will have hours to fill before kickoff and they love enthusiastic fans taunting each other as they go in and out of commercial breaks. It means getting to the stadium very early and hanging around/behind the NBC sports anchor set. Just make sure you have all of your Candy Crush lives on your phone in case you get bored.

Best Super Bowl souvenir: The losing team’s “Super Bowl Champs” shirt. Every year, some industrious soul preemptively prints up a bunch of victorious apparel for the team that ends up losing. One unnamed source – who I’m married to – acquired an NFL-licensed “Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl Champs” T-shirt in an Ibor City alley after the 2009 Super Bowl. The rest probably went to Bangladesh, where they have no idea the Steelers broke our hearts.

Game Day Guide
Looking for a Valley bar or restaurant to watch the game… or hang out before the game?
From the East Valley to the West Valley, there’s such a spot near you.

GLENDALE/WEST VALLEY
Whether or not you have tickets to the game, watching the Super Bowl on-location in Glendale is an exciting proposition.

1 Yard House
With over 100 beers on tap, this well-known chain of chuggery will be “hopping” on game day.  

2 Saddle Ranch Chop House
A rip-roaring mechanical bull bar. Unfortunately, it’s been bought out for game day.

3 Calico Jack’s
Mexican food is fitting for an Arizona Super Bowl, so head to Calico Jack’s to watch the game while comiendo tacos, burros and sopapillas.

4 McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon
Book your Super Bowl party at this Irish-themed bar and restaurant, which is taking reservations for the big day. A projection screen, more than 40 HDTVs and a standing-room capacity of 600+ make it a draw for those who want to feel the energy of the crowd.

5 Hell’s Half Acre
Heavy metal and hard rock music videos blare at this dark bar. You won’t find food, but if you’re looking for a goth-y place to party post-game, this is your cave.

6 Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
TVs abound in this mammoth restaurant, as do massive tropical cocktails and island-inflected American fare. Great for the laid-back sports fan.

7 Buffalo Wild Wings
Super Bowl Sunday is akin to a high holy day at this temple to wings and football on huge TVs. Dependable food and fun, friendly atmosphere.

8 Gordon Biersch
Football crowds spill out onto the spacious patio of this brewhouse, bar and restaurant, which has large-screen TVs and speaker systems inside and outside.

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photo by Blake Bonillas

EAST VALLEY
Angry Crab Shack
2740 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa
480-730-2722, angrycrabshack.com
New Orleans Saints fans go marching in to the East Valley outpost of Angry Crab Shack, where you can splurge on spiced crustaceans and Cajun “fixins” like gumbo, sweet cornbread and coleslaw while you enjoy the game.

Bogey’s Grill
6463 S. Rural Rd., Tempe
480-897-2127, bogeysgrillaz.com
The name hints at the owners’ passion for a different sport played on a more sprawling green, but Bogey’s pulls out all the stops for pigskin season. Enjoy the saucy Threesome (salsa, chorizo queso and guacamole) with tortilla chips and specials on premium and domestic brews, as well as happy hour pricing all day on Super Bowl Sunday.

Blasted Barley
404 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
480-967–5887, blastedbarley.com
Halftime raffles, giveaways and bottomless wings and mimosas highlight the game-day program at this craft beer oasis, but the day-before (Jan. 31) program is great, too, with an interactive sports park next door at Hayden Square, along a wing-eating contest and a tap unveiling of the microbrewy’s latest creation. There will also be live music at night. Check the website for details.

Coach & Willie’s
1 E. Boston St., Chandler
480-776-6240, coachwillies.com
Downtown Chandler is one of the Valley’s great unheralded secrets, with excellent dining and shopping, and a passel of nice wine bars. Make a Super Bowl Sunday of it, with this 31-screen watering hole as your anchor. And try the lobster bisque.

Four Peaks
340 E. Eighth St., Tempe
480-303-9967, fourpeaks.com
Drink Arizona craft beer in a decidedly pro-Minnesota Vikings environment at the Valley’s legendary brewpub. Munch on beer-infused bites like Oatmeal Stout BBQ wings and 7 Barrel Fries while sipping on Four Peaks mainstays Kilt Lifter or Hop Knot IPA.      

The Handlebar Tempe
680 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
480-474-4888, handlebaraz.com
According to campus-area locals, this bike-themed Mill Avenue beer garden has the best selection of craft beers in Tempe. So if a tall glass of Chimay is just as important to you as red zone opportunities, this is your place. Within walking distance of Metro Light Rail.

The HUB
1925 S. Sossaman Rd., Mesa
480-718-5440, hubgrill.com
Though it has a reputation as a Buffalo Bills bar, The HUB’s manager jokingly maintains it’s an “asses-in-seats bar” for football fans of all stripes. With more than 75 beers and dishes made with fresh, local ingredients, it’s equipped to handle the masses on the big day.

Zipps
211 E. Warner Rd., Gilbert
480-539-1600, zippssportsgrills.com
Remember the name “Zipps” (pictured above). No matter where you are in the Valley – from deepest Queen Creek to Buckeye – there’s liable to be one of these capacious sports bars near you. It’s basically the Starbucks of Valley sports-watching. The wings are outstanding, and beer taps extremely well-programmed. Check website for other locations.

PHOENIX

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photo by Craig Outhier

Pappy’s Bar & Grill
11801 N. 19th Ave.
602-944-4644, pappysaz.com
Pappy’s is one padre that emphasizes the holy trinity of sports: burgers, beer and ball. This popular haunt for Arizona’s team-sanctioned Oakland Raiders booster group has several handles devoted to Arizona brews, including SanTan and Four Peaks , but bartenders are known to pour some mean mixed drinks.

Arcadia Tavern
4801 E. Indian School Rd.
602-840-3950, arcadiatavern.com
This is Arizona Cardinals (and Chicago Bears) fans territory. It’s also the domain of The Bloody Mary Bar, featuring 35 different hot sauces, bacon and various other ingredients for making customized versions of the tomato juice-based classic.

Bleachers Sports Grill
15410 S. Mountain Pkwy.
480-759-4034, bleacherssportsgrill.com
This Ahwatukee neighborhood hangout is all about the Arizona Cardinals – and their wings, considered among the best in Phoenix by Fox Sports 910 AM. Game-day specials include $4 Bloody Marys and mimosas, $3 domestic beers and $4 premium beers.

Casey Jones Grill
2848 E. Bell Rd.
602-493-9930, caseyjonesgrill.com
Green Bay Packers fans rule the roost at this sports bar with an old-school aesthetic (wood-paneled walls, buckets of Budweiser on ice). But everybody wins with game-day deals like $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and $3 pints of Leinenkugel.  

Coach’s Corner Grill
333 E. Jefferson St.
602-293-3332, coachscornergrill.com
You know a place is serious about sports when it has bases and Astroturf affixed to the walls to resemble a baseball diamond. Deemed the “#1 Sports Bar in Phoenix” by USA Today, Coach’s also boasts several flat-screen TVs, buttoned black leather booths and huge windows perfect for people-watching.

Connolly’s Sports Grill
2605 W. Carefree Hwy.
623-879-5997, connollysgrill.com
This is a loud locals place, a quintessential neighborhood bar skewed toward San Diego Chargers fans and patrons who like to see female servers in skimpy uniforms. Expect to see motorcycles outside, and standard bar fare and beer taps inside, punctuated by the presence of a stripper pole on the bar and tons of televisions.

North Central Sports Bar
1170 E. Northern Ave.
602-870-1599, northcentralsportsbar.com
They have14 beers on draft (which cost just $2.75 each every day from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.) and pristine green pool tables, and they offer free ping-pong – just more incentives to check out the game on one of the flat-screen TVs circling North Central’s neon-signed interior.

Wild Game Sports Grill
2445 E. Thomas Rd.
602-955-1142, wildgamesportsgrill.com
Wings, burgers and beer rule the menu at this full-service sports grill featuring a 120-inch projector, 13 televisions, free WiFi and USB/electrical outlets along the bar and at every booth.

Wolfley’s Neighborhood Grill
21001 N. Tatum Blvd.
480-515-2424, wolfleys.com
Four-time Pro Bowl player and former Arizona Cardinals commentator Ron Wolfley runs this gleaming palace of sports fandom, where fans can catch all the action on the two-dozen interior screens, or from the airy comfort of one of the grill’s three patios.

SCOTTSDALE/NORTH VALLEY
Bottled Blonde
7340 E. Indian Plaza
480-970-1112, bottledblondeaz.com
Located in Old Town Scottsdale’s nightlife epicenter – known formally as the “entertainment district” – this cavernous beer hall makes for a fine Super Bowl viewing spot. At halftime, bar-hop to the Blonde’s sister venue, Hi-Fi Kitchen & Cocktails, across the street. Combined, that’s 100 Super Bowl TV screens, and numerous game-day food and drink specials.

Rock Bar
4245 N. Craftsman Ct.
480-331-9190, rockbarscottsdale.com
Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles have been habituating this Old Town juke joint for a long time – even before it was known as “Rock Bar.” Expect a lively scene on Super Bowl Sunday, with convenient access to Dos Gringos across the street for halftime revelry.

Buffalo Chip Saloon & Steakhouse
6811 E. Cave Creek Rd.,
480-488-9118, buffalochipsaloon.com
The Green Bay Packer-loving, NFC-centric answer to Harold’s across the street. Cheeseheads have been junketing to this Cave Creek watering hole for decades, and if you’re driving that far north, you might as well make it a two-fer and visit both bars. The Chip has one distinct advantage over Harold’s: live bull riding.

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photo by Blake Bonillas

Harold’s
6895 E. Cave Creek Rd.,
Cave Creek
480-488-1906, haroldscorral.com
For a true Super Bowl destination bar, you won’t do much better than this sprawling honky-tonk in Cave Creek, about 25 minutes north of Old Town Scottsdale. Beloved by Pittsburgh Steelers fans since NFL time immemorial, it has a massive floor-plan, numerous HD screen and impeccable fan credentials.

Skeptical Chymist
15688 N. Pima Rd., Ste C6
480-609-8677, skepticalchymist.com
If a game-day charcuterie plate ($10) seems a bit, you know, refined for the gridiron, know that this Scottsdale-based Irish pub is the unofficial Valley team bar of the Seattle Seahawks. And you know how those Seattle folk like their upscale bar cuisine. For extra regional brownie points, throw a little Nirvana on the juke box.

Other West Valley Viewing Options
Vivid Seats Game Day Tailgate at The Shout House
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
623-385-7502, westgateaz.com
This “VIP Oasis” is steps away from the stadium, which means primo celeb-spotting and energizing proximity to the action. General admission ($324 per person) includes premium open bar, catered buffet, DJ entertainment and activities, and TVs to watch all the gridiron action. VIP ($447 per person) tickets secure prime seating.

Salty Señorita
8011 W. Paradise Ln., Peoria
623-979-4822, saltysenorita.com
You won’t find any salty señoritas of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader variety here, but you will find a herd of Dallas fans pounding Coronas and wolfing down chicken tinga and blackened salmon tacos at this beachy bar, an offshoot of the original Scottsdale location. Enjoy one of Salty’s 15 margaritas or sample a slew with one of three margarita flights.

The Brookside II Sports Bar & Grille
15170 W. Bell Rd., Surprise
623-556-1000, brookside-2.com
Sleek but comfortable, The Brookside II has darts and billiards to keep even football-averse tagalongs engaged while everyone else is glued to one of the bar’s 48 TVs. All Super Bowl customers get one free ticket for The Brookside II’s legendary annual raffle. Prizes regularly include 15-inch LED TVs and two club seats for a regular-season Cardinals game.

Taps
76 N. Litchfield Rd.,
Litchfield Park
623-935-2037, facebook.com/tapslitchfieldpark
Wings, burgers and bruschetta are the crowd favorites at this dark, enveloping bar, located on an idyllic, palm-lined street that connects it to the Wigwam resort’s cluster of attractions. Book a night at the resort and you can consume with gusto and then safely stumble to your room.

Tailgate Options
The Players Super Bowl Tailgate
Featuring a special food menu (including mini beef Wellingtons, wild mushroom and goat cheese strudel, and a raw seafood bar) from chefs Beau MacMillan and Aaron May, served in a special lounge broadcasting ESPN’s pre-game coverage on several large plasma TVs. Guests receive round-trip transportation to the big game. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entertainment, venue and ticket prices TBA. bullseyeeventgroup.com

Eats, Beats and Cleats
7117 E. Third Ave.
(Venue of Scottsdale)
hofplayersevents.org
Hosted by the Venue of Scottsdale, this pregame tailgate party honoring disabled veterans will be emceed by more than 15 players from the Hall of Fame Players Foundation. Features meet-and-greets with NFL legends. $325. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

Non-Sports Bar Alternate
Taggia at FireSky Resort & Spa
4925 N. Scottsdale Rd.,
480-424-6095, taggiascottsdale.com
Better known for its upscale Italian dining, Taggia is an intriguing game-day alternative by virtue of its  special Super Bowl menu. Chilaquiles ($16) layered with braised pork belly, salsa verde, cannellini beans and queso fresco includes a complimentary Bloody Mary, and BBQ duck flat bread – made with confit duck legs and poblano – will satisfy epicureans and gridiron-grub fans alike ($13). Menu runs Jan. 19-Feb. 1.

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