On top of anticipating which song Usher will open with during his highly-anticipated halftime performance ("Burn" or bust), there's the added strain of logistics.
Is it worth the hassle of hosting a party at your home? If you do, how will you dispose of any dreaded postgame lingerers? Must you pretend to be hyped that your "healthy friend" brought veggie chips again? Is a drinking game anchored to how many times someone mentions the possibility of a Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce engagement ill-advised?
If the incredibly serious questions listed above resonated with you, you're not alone.
For that reason, ESPN worked with market researchers at SmithGeiger Group to poll fans during the final week of the 2023 NFL regular season to find out just how Americans will be celebrating the esteemed tradition that is Super Bowl Sunday.
2,049 Americans responded to our survey. Of those who responded, 74% said they plan to watch at least part of the game.
Of those, 48% indicated male, 51% female and 1% nonbinary.
Of those surveyed, 37% listed their age between 18-34. Age groups 35-49 and 50-64 both are represented by 31% of respondents
The Dallas Cowboys (8%), Kansas City Chiefs (5%), Pittsburgh Steelers (5%), Philadelphia Eagles (4%) and New York Giants (4%) had the largest percentages of supporters polled.
At the time of reporting, 6% of respondents said they were rooting for the Chiefs to win it all to 4% for the Niners.
To party or not to party, that is the question
Super Bowl meet Sin City, Sin City meet the Super Bowl. For the first time in the event's storied history, the NFL championship game is taking its talents to Las Vegas. While the Super Bowl is a spectacle in its own right, the renowned host city is sure to take the party up a notch -- it's the only way they know how to rock.
But when it comes taking in the Big Game from afar, fans are entirely divided on what constitutes the ultimate viewing experience. While half of the respondents intend to host a party or visit someone else's home for the event, the other half plan to bask in the sound of (relative) silence by watching the game alone or with their immediate family.
Whether or not fans deem tuning in to be a team sport, one preference is abundantly clear: Couches over bar stools. Only 6% of fans reported they will be watching from a bar or restaurant on Sunday.
Where do you plan on watching this year's Super Bowl?
At home alone or with immediate family: 51%
At home, hosting a party or get together: 21%
At a friend or family member's house: 21%
At a bar or restaurant: 6%
Somewhere else: 1%
The sanctity of a fan's viewing experience likely has a little something to do with whether or not their team is taking the field. For example, had the Detroit Lions made it to the Super Bowl (still too soon?) 57% of Lions Nation surveyed said they would watch their team's first-ever Super Bowl appearance in the comfort of their own abodes.
On the other hand -- in a result that should be shocking to absolutely no one -- Bills Mafia remains committed to the party. Twenty percent of Bills fans polled said they would open up their homes for watch parties while 40% were looking to take the party outside had Josh Allen & Co. punched their tickets to Las Vegas.
At the risk of adding more salt in more wounds, Ravens Flock also proved to be a social bunch. Of fans who listed the Baltimore Ravens as their vested NFL rooting interest, 60% responded that they would go out or host a party of their own. Maybe Bills and Ravens fans can party together? No? Forget we mentioned it.
Which part of the Super Bowl experience are you most excited about?
The football game: 43%
The halftime show: 19%
The food: 16%
While the plurality of fans surveyed were most excited for the game itself, one faction favored the commercials and another rode for the halftime show.
One demographic in particular has it bad for the halftime show. Women confessed to patiently waiting for Usher to perform just as much as for the teams to take the field. Despite not having a No. 1 hit since "Yeah!" was released in 2004 -- before some respondents in this age group were even born -- 49% of women aged 18-24 made it clear the eight-time Grammy winner will always have their heart, ranking Usher's halftime show over all other aspects of the Super Bowl experience.
How do you feel about Usher playing halftime?
I hope he brings out guests: 27%
It's going to be amazing: 24%
I wish it was someone else: 22%
I just want him to perform "Yeah!": 18%
I don't know any Usher songs: 12%
None of the above: 15%
It's clearly established that Usher is the headliner, finisher, the closer and winner, but 27% of respondents still hope he calls upon some friends to perform alongside him on the Super Bowl stage. While we won't be so presumptuous to assume Usher will bring out all of the artists in his extensive network of collaborators (a Millennial can dream), Ludacris and Alicia Keys feel warranted. Perhaps a Lil Jon or Justin Bieber appearance? Just spit-balling here.
Food for thought
Ah yes, the food. For fans whose teams didn't get the invite to Super Bowl LVIII (whatever, it's fine), this is what it's all about.
Super Bowl Sunday is one of the few occasions when buffalo chicken dip can be served as an appetizer before a main course of buffalo wings without anyone asking questions. It's also a rare event that allows for pizza, pigs in a blanket, nachos, cheese fries and chili to be consumed in the same sitting. We're salivating at the thought.
Anyone who is well-versed in the Super Bowl party game knows there are levels to menu planning. The hardcore hosts turn to Excel spreadsheets to demand, er -- encourage guests to sign-up for specific dishes. The real sticklers will preempt having too much of a certain food by implementing quotas. Not speaking from experience, but we've heard.
Alright, enough about the cold underbelly of hosting. Let's dive into the nitty-gritty: Chicken wings and pizza were the top two choices for this year's main course meals.
What would you say is your go-to "main course"?
Chicken wings: 32%
Staying true to their roots, Buffalo fans were among those who chose wings as their favorite entree, but only by a 7-point margin over pizza. The widest margin of victory for chicken wings actually came from Philadelphia Eagles faithful, who picked wings almost 2 to 1 over pizza. Make of that what you will.
What is your go-to Super Bowl dip?
Cheese or queso: 25%
Buffalo chicken: 18%
Spinach artichoke: 8%
As for dips? Cheese/queso and buffalo chicken reigned supreme. The one demographic who bucked the trend was the 50-64 crowd. They went with ranch as their second-most liked dip. There's a debate to be had over whether ranch really qualifies as a dip rather than a sauce/dressing but alas, we can save that for another day.
What is your beverage of choice for serving/drinking during the Super Bowl?
Hard seltzer: 7%
On the beverage front, soda and beer were the drink du jour. Nearly half of men said they are likely to drink beer, with nearly the same number of women planning to drink soda. A third of men responded that they will drink soda while one in five women denoted beer as their beverage of choice.
If expenses need to be spared come Sunday, alcohol will be the first thing to go. Fans surveyed indicated they are three times more likely to spend money on food than alcohol for this year's festivities. One-tenth of fans don't plan on spending on either. In a slightly related note, more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they plan on consuming cannabis during the game. This trend was more prominent among younger fans.
You bettor believe it
Just when you get a handle on where you are going to watch the game and what you're going to eat, another pertinent question arises: Will Reba McEntire's national anthem performance go over or under 86 seconds?
If you're entirely unsure how the above question has any bearing on Super Bowl LVIII, we humbly suggest you steer clear of placing money on prop bets this time around. Conversely, if you find yourself doing a deep dive on how long McEntire's national anthem performances have skewed historically, this section is for you.
What amount do you plan to bet on this year's Super Bowl?
Less than $50: 33%
More than $100: 27%
I'll bet something other than money: 8%
One in five respondents ages 21-plus intend to bet on this year's Super Bowl -- whether they plan to watch the game or not. Among the 21% who plan on betting, a majority (59%) will bet $50 or more, with one third betting less than $50.
What types of bets will you make?
Winning team and/or final score: 39%
Proposition bets: 25%
The three prop bets that garner the most interest are: Who the surprise halftime show guest(s) will be, which songs Usher will perform and what the outcome of the opening coin flip will be. Fans also expressed interest in the length of the national anthem and what color Gatorade will be used in the postgame celebratory bath.
In keeping with what we learned above (call it the Usher effect), women denoted being more interested in off-field prop bets related to the halftime show than men.
Those who don't plan to bet on this year's Super Bowl cited that they typically don't gamble in general, preferring to just watch and enjoy the game. Only 8% of those who don't plan to bet on the game said that betting odds, lines, or spreads make no sense to them.
Power to the Swifties
Even if the NFL season really was scripted, as conspiracy theorists maintain, the league couldn't have written it up this well. The romantic union of global superstar Taylor Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has brought "Swifties" out in droves. Their influence is felt all over the NFL, whether it be in an uptick of Kelce jersey sales or increased viewership for Chiefs games.
As Kansas City seeks to run it back as defending Super Bowl champions, all eyes are on a flight route from Tokyo to Las Vegas as Swift is expected to travel from her Eras Tour concert stop to her boyfriend's big game. Even if Swift should forgo the approximately 12-hour flight to Vegas, her presence will still be felt in the friendly skies on Super Bowl weekend. American Airlines is offering Flight 1989 -- a nod to the singer-songwriter who was born in 1989 and has a hit album by the same name -- from Kansas City to Las Vegas on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10.
Now that we've established the unprecedented hype surrounding Swift and Kelce, one burning question remains: How did football fans really feel about Time Magazine's Person of the Year attending NFL games this season?
How did you feel about Taylor Swift becoming a presence at NFL games this season?
I don't care either way: 54%
It was great: 23%
It was terrible: 14%
I didn't know she was going to games: 9%
The answer is, for the most part, perfectly fine. Swift's presence wasn't a deterrent for the majority of fans. Of those surveyed, more than half were indifferent, and about a quarter thought it was great. Among fans who said they were rooting for the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, the positive sentiment increased to 34%. The outright haters (read: dads, Brads and Chads) comprised 14%.
Overall, one-fifth of respondents identified as being fans of Swift. Once again, the number of supporters was higher among those rooting for the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl (31%). The number dropped dramatically to 13% among those who were rooting for the Detroit Lions. We'll assume it's because they couldn't lose themselves in another artist as their loyalties may lie with Eminem.
The great Super Bowl debate
Super Bowl Saturday just doesn't quite have the same ring to it. But according to 30% of fans surveyed, the NFL should seriously take moving the game a day earlier into consideration.
When do you think the game should be played?
Leave it as it is: 37%
On Saturday: 30%
On Sunday, but kick off earlier: 19%
Sunday, but make the next day a national holiday: 14%
While the Saturday suggestion makes a good bit of sense, considering most people would like to enjoy the Super Bowl without the threat of school or work looming, another faction of fans got more creative with it. Yes, we're talking about the 14% who elected to leave the game when it is but make Monday a national holiday.
As for the 19% who recommended simply moving the game to earlier on Sunday? The West Coast fans would like a word. To the 37% who voted to change nothing? You lack vision.