The clock is ticking, sports fans! With Super Bowl 50 only days away, do you know where you and the fellas will be watching the big game? Of course not! That would involve planning, and if you’re a man, you hate doing that! If you and the rest of “the wolf pack” hope to throw an epic Super Bowl bash at home, then you’re going to need to up your man cave to new levels of machismo.

Thankfully, we’ve studied the playbooks of some of the smartest “play callers” in the interior design world, so you can focus on what you do best: downing beers and shouting at the television. Here are four essential plays that will help you create the ultimate man cave:

Play 1: Retreat

Garage Man Cave
Photo via ImproveNet

A man cave should be a sanctuary — a place where you can feel free to let your hair down (assuming you have enough hair to let down) and let loose with your buddies. Chicago-based interior designer Bill Cherne believes, “The man cave needs to be in a dedicated space. It can be a spare bedroom, a portion of a finished basement or a space over the garage.”

You want your manly space to give you the freedom to scream at the television at the top of your lungs when your team scores a touchdown, or weep like a little boy when they give up the game-winning pass. You want to be able to crack the occasional inappropriate joke and spill the occasional beer without upsetting the missus. “The key is, it should be a space where you can retreat,” says Cherne.

Play 2: Blitz 

Photo via HomeDit

If you’re Peyton Manning lining up to take the snap in the Super Bowl, you want the lineman handing you the football to be as big and burly as possible. The same logic applies to the television you want for watching 300-pound behemoths crash into each other with rib-crunching force. When it comes to choosing a high-res TV for your space, James Cameron, host of DIY Network’s “Man Caves” says “the bigger, the better.” The same principle holds true for your audio — you want surround sound speakers capable of volumes loud enough to rip the paint off a football helmet.

Play 3: Coverage

Photo via Sesshu Design Associates, Ltd.

The best part about decorating a man cave is you get to throw out the good design rulebook in favor of autographed footballs, vintage jerseys and giant posters of your sports heroes. “If you have a collection, sports memorabilia or anything like that, those things start to define the room,” says Christopher Luce of Luce Architects. Your man cave decorations should make the 12-year-old version of yourself drool with envy.

And if you’re asking, won’t these adolescent décor choices look tacky? Award-winning interior designer Lisa McDennon says, “If you do this in a polished way, with display cases or even nice shelves…it creates a theme to the room that reflects your personal interests.” See? An expert is telling you it’s totally OK to display your prized, game-worn Tom Brady jersey.

Play 4: Trap

Photo via Sights and Sounds

When it comes to furnishing a man cave, there’s only one hard-and-fast rule: comfort is king. Interior designer Catherine Cleare explains, “It’s not an English parlor. I want guests to feel like they can put their feet up on the sofa.” In short, your guests should never want to leave.

When looking for the right man cave sofa or chair, you can never go wrong with leather. As interior designer Kimberly Grigg reveals, “Men love leather. It is practical, masculine and comfortable. I always recommend at least one piece of leather for a man cave.”

We’re not sure why — maybe it hearkens back to the days of cowboys riding into town on leather saddles — but men just dig leather. Find the right, cozy leather furnishings, and your friends will never want to leave your place (start charging admission!).

Follow these four essential plays and you’ll be well on your way to having yourself a killer dude den this weekend. Have we missed any key “plays” to creating the ultimate man cave? Share them with us in the comments!

Featured photo: 2505 Divisadero Street. Photo courtesy of Joel Goodrich.