Super celebrations for the Super Bowl

Super Bowl parties are a lot like other parties: Good food, good company and usually more than a few drinks are some of the similarities. The biggest difference is the Super Bowl is the most watched sporting event in the U.S. — and as most people know — athletic allegiances have a way of polarizing people.

At Mike Heinbauch's house in Eldersburg, where more than 20 Baltimore Ravens' fans gathered, the disdain for the New England Patriots was palpable.


"You're not a real Ravens fan if you root for the Patriots," April Douville said.

Still, there were a couple Ravens fans backing the Patriots. One, Blake Phipps, of Eldersburg, even placed a bet on the Ravens' rival to win. For Phipps, the rivalry between the Ravens and the Patriots wasn't as important as his loyalty to the AFC, which both teams are in.

"Yeah, I got to stay loyal to the AFC," he said.

Phipps made another bet prior to the first snap, one on whether the coin flip would be heads or tails. With a premonition bordering on ESP, Phipps took tails, and won $50 from Billy Thornton.

Thornton, another Ravens' Fan, said though he was rooting for the Seattle Seahawks, he wasn't really there for the game.

"I'm here to party," Thornton said.

Heinbauch, a sales representative for a wine and spirits distributor, said though his liquor cabinet is fully stocked, the food is where the party really starts.

Douville, a Columbia resident, braved a potential winter storm to bring her homemade – and highly anticipated – guacamole dip to the party. She said she wanted to do something fun and football themed, so she shaped the dip container in the form of a football field.

"It was either that or a stadium of meat but, I haven't graduated to that yet," Douville said.

Heinbauch has hosted Super Bowl parties for 10 years, twice since he moved to Eldersburg in December 2013, and for eight years while he lived in Woodbine. The people, food and sport are the same, he said, but how the game plays out can greatly influences the outcome of the party.

Last year, the Super Bowl ended up being a blowout, with the Seahawks routing the Denver Broncos, 43-8. At halftime, with the score 22-0 and no one giving a care about the rest of the game, Heinbauch's friend, Steve Pawlak, who is also a DJ, unpacked his gear and the Super Bowl party turned into a dance party.

"Last year, it got really fun at the half," Pawlak said. "It got a little silly, which is why I took off tomorrow."

Pawlak is one of many people who, rather than risk showing up late or calling out sick, decided to take the day following Super Bowl Sunday off.

And like Phipps, Pawlak was rooting for the Patriots. Unlike Phipps, it wasn't out of loyalty.


While giving private baseball instructions to a 12-year-old originally from Boston, the child's father told him his son had been picked on in school by Ravens' fans. Pawlak said if it helps, he'll be a Patriots' fan for a day.

"It's also a story I tell to get the girls," he said.

The great thing about the Super Bowl is no matter what may interest you – whether it's the food, libation, football, music or even the commercials – a Super Bowl party brings people together to celebrate an American phenomenon, an infectious sporting event that has now spread to 180 countries.

For Heinbauch though, he just didn't want to see another blowout, he said.

"I want to see a good football game," Heinbauch said.

Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or