In just under three weeks, one of the biggest sporting events of the year will take place: Super Bowl XLVII (aka Super Bowl 2013 or the one where Destiny’s Child is doing the Halftime Show OMG!). This also means that, in just under three weeks, many unwilling non-football fans will be subjected to hours of screaming, yelling, shouting (yes, these all represent different levels of enthusiasm), gobbledygook phrasings (“You should never throw the venus on a spider 3 Y banana!”), and flung about chicken wings (keep the OxiClean handy). Among other things.
How do I know this? Because, dear readers, I was once one of these most unwilling of non-football fans. When I was in college, many moons ago, I only cared about one football game, and that was mostly because I got to wear a shirt that proudly proclaimed “HUCK FARVARD,” stuff my face at the free tailgates outside the Yale Bowl, and see how much Mad Dog 20/20 I could sneak into the game. This last was essential to my level of tolerance for the game itself, which I didn’t care about unless I was close enough to the field to be able to see…uh…interesting things through the player’s football pants. (Hey, it was college! Cut me a break.)
In the years since graduating, I continued to care about only that single football game and, again, it was mostly because I got to crow on Facebook if we won (which, sadly, has been less and less–seriously, HUCK FARVARD) and I didn’t actually have to watch the game, just other people’s statuses about the game.
All of that changed around 2006, when I met my now-husband. My husband, bless him, is an avid sports fan: horse racing, mixed martial arts, college basketball and, his biggest passion of all, football. From the months of September through February, the TV is his the entire weekend. Saturdays it’s all about college football, and Sundays are all about the NFL. Monday and Thursday evenings, too.
Needless to say, I didn’t have much of a choice: I either learned to love football, or I was S.O.L. when it came to televised entertainment for a solid chunk of the year. Because I do enjoy sitting with a glazed look staring at pretty pictures on a flatscreen, I chose the former. I watched. And watched. And watched some more. And, horror of horrors, shock of shocks, I started to like it. And then I thoroughly enjoyed it. And, then, one day, I found myself willingly talking about it over dinner. And, one fateful Sunday, I turned to my husband and actually heard myself say, “Hey, we need to get to the store early today; I don’t wanna miss the 1pm game–the Colts are playing.”
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I’m in the unique position of being able to guide those most unwilling of souls through the mind-numbing wasteland that the Super Bowl would otherwise be. I’ve been there, even if I’m not there anymore. Bear with me–I’ll make it so that you can actually enjoy it. (And I won’t expect you to learn a single football term or even know what the hell is going on at all. That’s just how awesome I am.)
First, though, a little PSA for those lovely folks for whom you will be sacrificing your Sunday: Y’all, you need to realize that the person sitting patiently next to you while you stuff your face and analyze everything from the color of the turf to the slightest hand gesture from the ref is there because of a great, abiding love for you. They’re not there because they particularly care about the game, or because they want to learn about football, or because they have a desperate need to hear you armchair quarterback for four hours. No, they’re there because they love you. So, ya know, be nice to them if they ask a question about the game or a play. And, ya know, be patient when they can’t follow what the hell is going on. Also, be understanding if they get pissed off when you switch to another channel during the Halftime Show (seriously, it might be the only reason, outside of love, for why they’re there–let them watch the damn thing). And don’t try to force-feed them football knowledge (they don’t want it, and they won’t retain it). In short: Don’t be a football dickhead.
And, with that, I give you my Reasons Why The Super Bowl Doesn’t Have To Suck And Can Actually Be An Enjoyable Experience.
Don’t go into it expecting to magically get all into the football. Unless the gods smile down upon you, it won’t happen. However, don’t go into it with a crappy attitude, either. Just appreciate it for what it is–a single Sunday spent doing something that’s not terrible, involves burly men, and (hopefully) eating mozzarella sticks. Look at it as a social experiment–you are about to observe football fans in their natural habitat. You’re like a modern Jane Goodall. This is all in the interest of science.
If you bring anything to the party, don’t make it so that you need cutlery to eat it. This can end in disaster. Focus on things you can eat with your hands (bonus: You can practice your sexy “licking chicken wing sauce off your fingers” routine!). And, also, skip the diet for today. If the Super Bowl party you attend is worth its salt, there will be burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, dips, chips, cheese (fried and otherwise). Don’t be that guy asking where the salad is and getting all chippy when you get a collective dirty look from a bunch of barbecue-smeared football fans. Today is the day for you to get all-American and consume your weight in guacamole. Love it. Live it. Embrace the noms.
This is the heart and soul of the Super Bowl for laypeople, as far as I’m concerned. Although not as good as in years past, advertisers still pay a pretty penny for ad time–and spend a pretty penny trying to come up with awesome ads. Don’t believe me? Here are some of the best ones from years past: Matthew’s Day Off, My Fast Has a Problem With Authority, Larry Bird vs. Michael Jordan McDonald’s Commercial, The Budweiser Frogs, Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. Don’t let anyone fast-forward through the commercials, either. Stand your ground. You’re putting up with the crazies for the better part of your day. Own the remote during ad time.
The Halftime Show
Fireworks. Dancers. Lights. Glitter. Controlled explosions. Janet Jackson’s nipple. The Super Bowl Halftime Show almost never fails to disappoint (of course, there are exceptions). Hell, one year, Prince actually sang “Purple Rain” in the rain. And Michael Jackson’s 1993 Halftime Show is without equal. This year, Destiny’s Child is reuniting for the Halftime Show. I’m rooting SO HARD for them to sing “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name,” I can’t even stand it.
Oh, so many hotties. Some are rugged, some are not. Some are muscled up, some are lean. They come from every color of the rainbow, and they’re all wearing tights. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Clay Matthews. The list goes on. And then there are the coaches: Jim and John Harbaugh. ‘Nuff said. And the analysts. Oh, bless them all. My favorites are Howie Long and Jesse Palmer, but there are others. And let’s not forget the cheerleaders. They wear skimpy clothing! And gyrate! With pom-poms! To music!
It doesn’t even matter if you’re not paying attention to what they’re saying–if Joe Buck and Mike Tirico are talking, just close your eyes and float away on the smooth, smooth liquid gold that are their vocal stylings. So very, very smooth.
There’s always a chance a quarterback could knock himself out on someone’s ass again:
That alone would make the game worth watching.
So, there you have it. Sally forth into the great football unknown with courage, the knowledge that you can survive, and a hearty appetite for high-sodium snacks and beer.
If all else fails, you can always get drunk.