Each year, millions of Americans pull on their favorite team jerseys and wait on the edge of their seats for the return of NFL football. The 2015 season begins Sept. 10 with the Pittsburgh Steelers heading to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots. Of course, many cannot wait for the season to begin; Forbes reported that Nielsen ratings for the televised 2015 NFL draft showed over seven million viewers. Thirteen match-ups are set for Sunday, Sept. 13, including the St. Louis Rams at home against defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Even if you can get the game at home, there is nothing quite like the comradery, excitement and friendly competition that can be found in a sports bar. So don’t be blindsided at game time, plan a visit to one these Sacramento hot spots to kick off the 2015 football season.
The Couch Sports Lounge
7431 Madison Ave.
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
(916) 961-3342

Whether your favorite team wears silver and black or red and gold, it will be easy to find common ground at The Couch. A unique combination of a sports bar and relaxed lounge, there are plenty of comfortable seats to ensure no stadium splinters or unnecessary roughness. Watch the game projected on 106-inch screens or on nine flat screen televisions, and enjoy high-quality food and drinks. If you call early enough and book a free V.I.P. room, you and your buddies can watch the game without interference. The club also offers lip-sync battles, karaoke, live music and other entertainment, and there are great happy hour deals seven days a week.

The Zebra Club
1900 P St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 442-3972

Zebra may not be particularly elegant, but this small midtown pub is a touchdown for sports lovers. Particularly renowned for serving up excellent breakfasts, the club opens very early seven days a week, offering patrons the chance to warm up before kickoff. Raider fans can roar at the Bengals on Sept. 13, when the Cincinnati team comes to Oakland; there are 11 flat screen televisions to catch all the action. There is also a covered patio — heated when Sacramento turns chilly later in the season — and 19 brews on tap.

Related: Watch Sports For Free: Top 5 Sports Bars In Sacramento

Field House American Sports Pub
1310 Fulton Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 487-1045

The Minnesota Vikings meet the five-time Super Bowl champion 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on Monday night Sept.14, and you can tackle all the action at the Field House. Located in the former Mandangos’, the pub has 14 big screens and plenty of space, even when there are too many men on the field. The employees are friendly, the service is great and the menu gets extra points for taste and selections. In addition to a full bar, Field House takes it through the uprights with 14 rotating taps of favorite local and international beers.

Coin-Op Game Room
908 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 661-6983

The recently opened Coin-Op is a great spot to get your game on, in more ways than one. If the half-time show is incomplete or one of your friends just isn’t into football, you can enjoy video games like Blitz, Tron, Street Fighter 2, Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat and X-Men. Premium pinball games are available as well, and even the most hard-core Kaepernick fan cannot resist the huge oversized Jenga and Connect Four games. Quaff your favorite draft pick brew or enjoy a creative cocktail from the bar, and be the eligible receiver of delectable meals and snacks.

Referee’s Sports Bar & Grill
7951 Auburn Blvd.
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
(916) 726-7210

Referee’s almost deserves a Heisman for the bar’s amenities, including eight-feet projection screens, 13 high-def televisions, pool, foosball, beer pong, Golden Tee golf, dart boards and poker tournaments. The pub came under new management in 2014, and staff members have worked overtime to get the home field advantage. Come by to see the Seahawks clash with the Rams at 10 a.m. on Sept. 13, and stick around until 1 p.m., when the Detroit Lions face the Chargers in San Diego.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers business, employment, animal rescue, volunteerism and nonprofits. Her work can also be found at Examiner.com.