Celebs were all pumped up for this year's Super Bowl, which saw no shortage of action. (Beyoncé's electrifying show! Power outage! Ravens rule!)

And there was no shortage of pregame parties, either: E! News swung by GQ's bash in New Orleans on Saturday, where we caught up with Hayden Panettiere, Ian Somerhalder and Ryan Kwanten, among others, and they gamely sounded off about their love of football, and just what the sport means to them.

"It brings people together," Panettiere told us. "And whenever I think about my childhood and growing up, we grew up huge Jets fans and we always got together."

But the most fun thing to do, the Nashville star recalled, was "to dress up in our uniforms and go to a friend's house and have that cool experience watching the game." That experience, she said, was priceless: "It's part of your history."

True Blood's Ryan Kwanten, meanwhile, may have grown up in Australia, but he copped to being an equally diehard football fan.

"This is by far the world's biggest event if you think about how many people watch it," he said. "And even if my accent is somewhat deceiving, we are very, very big fans. I'm beyond excited. Beyond."

As for Somerhalder, his connection to this year's Super Bowl goes much deeper than his love of the sport: The Vampire Diaries star is a New Orleans native, and he proudly sounded off about what it meant to bring the Big Game to his hometown.

"There are these places that are so old and have so much history, and as a native they hold a lot of memories for you," he said. 

"And when you grow up here, you really learn that, at a young age, this is huge for the city," he said about the Super Bowl. "Seeing all of you guys here—running around, loving the city, being a good consumer—makes me happy because this city needs it."

And after last night's explosive, white-knuckle game—and Beyoncé's blow-out-the fuse halftime show—millions of fans watching live and at home no doubt agree with him.

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