No matter how hard the casinos try, you won't get a live-action stadium experience watching pro football games in Las Vegas: no collective sigh of relief when the opposing team shanks a field goal in overtime; no tidal waves of joy when the home team snags an interception; no leggy cheerleaders (usually).
Not to worry.
With such amenities as specially priced crab legs and your very own recliner, casinos are offering a little slice of home and then some in animated settings that beat adjusting your binoculars in the cheap seats. Here are some of our favorites:
THE LAS VEGAS HILTON
3000 Paradise Road; (702) 732-5111, www.lvhilton.com.
Dubbed "Football Central," this weekly Sunday party starts at 9 a.m. and takes place in the Hilton Theater, where 11 giant screens compete for your attention. As if the prospect of being welcomed into a smoke-free sanctuary by the Miller Girls and Las Vegas Vodka Girls isn't enough of a draw, fans also can win prizes, including a $1,000 Sharper Image gift certificate and four $100 certificates for NFL merchandise.
If you stop by and the theater is closed because of a prior engagement, don't pout like Terrell Owens. Plenty of other options are available, including the super-slick lounge Tempo and the Space Quest Casino Bar (where you watch multiple big screens inside a replica of the Starship Enterprise).
1301 W. Sunset Road, Henderson; (702) 547-7777, www.sunsetstation.com.
If you don't like armchair quarterbacks filled to the gills on cheap domestic beer, come to this Henderson-based casino and lounge in its showroom Club Madrid. Featuring three giant screens and multiple seating arrangements, including comfy booths, this spot allows you to enjoy a violent showdown between pro-footballers in relative peace.
Doors open at 12:30 p.m., and the purchase of a draft beer gets you a free hot dog.
If you crave company, you can always hang at the bars on the casino floor, where the staff is outfitted in NFL jerseys and the atmosphere is much livelier. And if you're looking for really live wires, head to the bar at Hooters, where on Monday nights scantily clad waitresses serve $5.95 pitchers of Miller and a pound of king crab legs for $10.95.
RIO ALL-SUITE HOTEL & CASINO
3700 W. Flamingo Road; (866) 746-7671, www.harrahs.com.
Despite its Brazilian theme, the Rio has embraced North American football, not South American fútbol. For its weekly party, "Best Seat in the House," the servers at the sportsbook get all duded up in referee uniforms and serve a wellspring of drink and food specials fit for any armchair king.
The event takes its name from the fact that, Saturdays through Mondays, the bar ropes off an area stacked with four leather La-Z-Boy recliners. For $500 per person, a fee that is typical of VIP service at some nightclubs, fans get their own recliner, control of nine plasma TVs, two cases of Coors Light beer and bottomless gourmet nuts, popcorn and pretzels.
It's not home, especially when a crowd of rowdy San Diego Chargers fans is whooping and yelping, but it's pretty close. Which is why it costs.
For those uninterested in replicating their suburban football-watching experience, there's plenty of space on the other side of the bar at the sportsbook. Barring that, you can always cruise over to the Tilted Kilt or the All American Bar & Grille.
THE PLATINUM HOTEL AND SPA
211 E. Flamingo Road; (702) 365-5000, www.theplatinumhotel.com.
Ah, the great outdoors. Up on the fifth-floor pool deck, fans are treated to two iris-tickling spectacles: the gorgeous view of the Strip and a 25-foot-tall high-definition projection of Monday night football. If the game is a bust, you can stare out at the hotel-spa's blue diamond pool.
Relax on a chaise longue or daybed and enjoy a juicy burger or another gourmet grilled item from the menu. Although attendance isn't on par with the Rio's event, the atmosphere is just delightful and the service impeccable.
This is the place to go when you really want to get away and just watch the game, not joust with a budding football statistician on his fourth beer.
The only catch: You have to wait until it's dark enough to view the projection, which means waiting either off-site until sunset or in the downstairs bar.