Watching the SuperBowl is a privilege, not a right. You need to earn the invitation to a party by being a good friend, showering with regularity, and making sure people know you like football. The enjoyment associated with the Mardi Gras of the pro sports can be taken away as freely as it can be given to you. As such, when you’re at the party (wherever that party is), there are rules you need to follow. And that goes beyond the obvious ones like “wipe your feet before entering” or “figure out who’s playing.” I call these rules the “Don’t’s.” And I’m going to share them with you so that you don’t embarass yourself and ruin what, for many, is the most fun day of their year.
DON’T be late. If so, you’ll miss the pre-game gambling grids, the prime seating and the first round of chili. Also, there is not more horrendous than the suspence of an opening drive interrupted by the sound of someone buzzing into your apartment. Just budget an extra ten minutes for the trip. Everyone will thank you.
DON’T show up empty-handed. This is common courtesy, but it must be mentioned in the context of the Big Game. To host a SuperBowl party is to lay out $100 in food and booze and know, for a fact, that this food and booze will wind up all over your floor. SuperBowl parties aren’t clean and classy affairs. They’re messy and loud and result in an environment that needs a wet-dry vac to correct. Hosts are saints, and you should make a sacrifice of smoked meats, a cheese tray or a case of domestic beer to honor their divinity.
DON’T be contrary. We’ve all seen it. That random girlfriend of friend of a friend that shows up and immediately begins rooting for the other team. Not because they’re a fan, or because they even know anything about football, but because they want to “be funny” or “give everyone a hard time.” These people are soul-sucking leeches, put on this Earth to bother the rest of us. They’re the same people that wore zany neckties in high school, or carried a tie-dyed purse. They just want attention, and they don’t care if that attention is laced with murderous hatred. There is nothing more infuriating than a non-fan cheering in mock enthusiasm when your team gets scored on. It’s the only thing worse than stunned silence. Just imagine you’re a Buffalo fan, and your cousin’s new girlfriend came over your house eighteen years ago wearing a $5 Giants shirt she bought “just for fun.” Now imagine her cheering when Norwood’s kick went wide. Now, take a breath and imagine the statewide search for the body. Be kind and, if you don’t know the sport, stay quiet until those catchy commercials start playing. Which reminds me…
DON’T feel bad about enjoying the commercials. Enough effort has been put into them over the years that it’s ok for the die-hards to laugh at them. It’s not like doing the wave. It’s totally fine. Don’t feel bad. Laugh when something funny happens.
DON’T ask if anyone wants the last cocktail weiner. Just take it. No one cares.
DON’T use ESPN pre-game analysis as the source of your opinions. Yes, the temptation is there to opine on why Larry Fitzgerald will dominate or why Willie Parker will get stuffed at the line. But if you haven’t seen any Steelers or Cardinals games this season, what you heard Cris Carter say before you drove to your buddy’s house IS NOT a valid substitute for silence. If you don’t have an opinion of your own, don’t offer someone else’s to look cool. Everyone there knows where you got it from.
And finally, DON’T leave until it’s over. These people are your friends. There is nowhere else you should be.