The Super Bowl is coming up. How busy are you right now? “This time of year is always our crazy season. It’s our favorite time of the year in the sports world.”
And you’re throwing a party on top of it all. “Definitely. Super Bowl Sunday is an American holiday at this point. Usually I’ll have people over and it’s pretty much just a chill day. Football is on all day. Eating. Drinking. Hanging out. The Super Bowl is obviously the culmination.”
Do you always throw a Super Bowl party? “I’ve just been able to have friends and family over the last couple of years. I’ve been going to the Super Bowl every year for 10 years. I’ll fly out the Monday before and I always used to have to stay. Actually, on Super Bowl Sunday, I’d normally be flying home and having to watch it on a plane. So this is new and this is amazing. I can watch it at home and have people over and enjoy it. Get some wings, some lamb chops, antipasto, and get the whole thing set up.”
What types of drinks do you like to serve? “I grew up with some serious wine drinkers. My family drinks wine like it’s their job. I actually have a lot of family members that make their own wine. At my house, I have a wine and beer fridge. It’s got everything. The beer is at 38 degrees and the wine is at 50 degrees. We take it seriously, but I’m actually not that big of a drinker. I’m more of a celebratory [drinker]. Usually, when I have people over—and obviously I amp it up a little bit for Super Bowl Sunday—I have it stocked with some California cabs and merlots. And for the beers, my father is a big fan of the Octoberfest releases, like the Spaten or Paulaner. And then for me, I’m kind of a Champagne gal. Can’t ever go wrong with a little Dom Pérignon.”
No cocktails or spirits? “For the Super Bowl you want to have a good time, but you have to pace yourself. It’s a three-and-a-half-hour game and even though I’m calling it a holiday, unlike a true holiday, guess what? You have to go to work on Monday and if your team loses you’re really hurting. You don’t want a hangover on top of that, so I try to caution people to have one drink an hour or one drink a quarter and have a glass of water. That’s ideal. But you have to be realistic and I don’t need people passing out in my house. Stick to the beer and wine. No shots!”
How does that go over with your family? “My family can get a little rowdy. They get a little loud. This is also my profession, I have to work the next day, so I try to keep the hard alcohol away. I have one cousin that will always ask for it and I will always give it to her and it’s a disaster.”
Have you stocked up on glassware? “What I’m really into is the stemless glass. That’s what I will do for the wine. I like them. I have a couple of different styles. And then for the beer, a lot of people like a glass that’s already chilled, so I’ll keep beer glasses in the freezer and some I’ll also keep at room temperature.”
Are you snobby about the ice that you serve in drinks? “That doesn’t bother me as much. I’m not a big stickler with the ice.”
When you’re on the road with your First Take colleagues, Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith, do you guys have favorite bars or restaurants you like to visit? “Honestly, I wish I could say that we did. There’s literally no time for it. We’re just trying to get a meal in. You’re just trying to find time to eat. For the three of us, it’s a lot of room service.”
ESPN is, of course, based in Bristol, Connecticut. Is there a local nightlife scene? “No. Not in Bristol. A lot of people will go out in West Hartford. They have some really nice restaurants where you can sit outdoors. I live very close to New Haven and right around Yale there are a ton of great restaurants. That’s where I’ll go. New Haven is really cool. You’re probably going to laugh at this comment, being a New Yorker, but sometimes when I’m down there I feel like I’m in Greenwich Village. It’s the only place in Connecticut where I’ll get that vibe.”
What? I always imagined that there was a sports bar in Bristol where all the anchors meet after work for a beer. “There’s not really anything like that. As I’m hearing you say that Noah, I’m thinking that would be a genius idea for somebody to make some money. There should be an amazing sports bar near Bristol. Between all the athletes and all the analysts that we fly in, we have nothing to offer them in my little state.”
Do you have a monster clean-up after your Super Bowl party? “No. I won’t be able to sit still because I’ll be pacing the house during the game and screaming and swearing at the television. If anybody ever saw me, I’d be fired from my job. I’m cleaning as I’m going. The last thing I want to come home to on Monday night after work is a mess.”
You can watch Molly Qerim weekdays, 10 a.m. to noon, on ESPN’s morning talk show, First Take.
Interview has been condensed and edited.