- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2006

Washington Redskins fans don’t need to follow the team all the way to Seattle today to spend big bucks to watch them play.

They’re stocking up on game day essentials — beer, soft drinks and buffalo wings, ribs, chips and finger foods — for today’s second-round playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.

“Of course, food is the No. 1, essential thing,” said Jeff Meleo, of Mount Airy, Md.

He and his wife, Lisa, are hosting about 20 friends this afternoon for a potluck meal while watching the game.

The Meleos are such die-hard fans that they named their puppy Cooley, after tight end Chris Cooley.

The Meleos watch the game in their memorabilia-filled Redskins room, which is fitted out with a 55-inch high-definition TV.

“That’s why people come over to my house to watch,” Mr. Meleo said jokingly. “That TV was bought for that room specifically to watch the games.”

The Meleos aren’t the only ones. Most fans have scouted out a large-screen TV for watching the game.

David Pope, 28, of Annandale says the essentials for watching a game at home are a big television, hot wings and drinks.

But the fun comes at a price, albeit one that isn’t measured in dollars: “a sleepless night tossing and turning, thinking about what could go wrong and a morning spent watching the clock counting down the minutes,” he said.

For Amit Kumar and his friends, jerseys are the must-have item on game day.

Mr. Kumar, 25, has bought three jerseys this week at about $75 each — LaVar Arrington, Clinton Portis and Sean Taylor — in preparation for the game.

On game day, his friends gather their Redskins flags and banners to adorn their game room, which is painted burgundy with gold trim and is adorned with Redskins memorabilia.

Mr. Kumar and his friends prefer the comfort of home to view the game.

“At home you can be as loud as you want. We’re pretty die-hard fans — we get pretty wild,” he said.

Michael Campbell, of Fredericksburg, Va., and his family plan on hosting a similar gathering to watch the game.

Mr. Campbell’s family, including his Cowboys-fan father and Patriots-fan mother, spend about $100 on buffalo wings, cheese trays and drinks.

“It’s a pretty penny,” said Mr. Campbell, 25. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We make a weekend out of it this time of year,” he said. “It’s like a religion. There’s football and nine months of ‘oh, I can’t wait for football again.’”

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