Super Bowl Etiquette
Sure big political stuff is happening right now and it's deciding the future of America, the West, and the entire world, but let's not forget the more important event here: Super Bowl L.
For the first time in 12 years, the Panthers are in the Super Bowl. For the first time in 17 years, the Broncos might actually give us a Super Bowl show, instead of putting everyone to sleep in the first quarter. Fingers crossed.
Since my team is usually in the Super Bowl (cue Patriots fanfare and inescapable whiny knee-jerk reactions), I know how to properly conduct myself whilst watching the game in a group setting and am, therefore, an expert on the subject. But since it's been so long for this year's teams, a reminder might be necessary. To make it more understandable and relatable, said reminder is written in Football. Rule No. 1: Uniforms
Are you rooting for either the Broncos or the Panthers? If not, then wear neutral clothing. No jerseys, hats, t-shirts, or stupid sunglasses of any other team. Those sunglasses shouldn't even exist.
Showing up to the party in attire supporting teams that are not in the Super Bowl is obnoxious and a personal foul, with a penalty of beratement and dirty looks, and, in extreme cases like multiple pieces of non-Super Bowl team clothing and/or stupid sunglasses, ejection from the party.
Rule No. 2: Food
Bring something edible to the party. Not vegetables. The Annual Gridiron Finale is not the place for little leaf things. If Ron Swanson wouldn't eat it, don't bring it. Unless the party host explicitly tells you not to bring a damn thing, bring something. A bottle of soda. A six pack of beer. Hotdogs. A few bucks to offset the monetary cost of hosting a pack of irate people who might turn the living room into a murder scene. Something. Anything. If you don't bring something, you are benched and don't get to eat. Nope.
Rule No. 3: Roughing the Player
There are two kinds of Super Bowl parties: ones that are exclusive to a team, and ones that include fans of both sides. If you are going to a mixed-company party, you should know that you will, at least five times, honestly consider committing a crime of passion and murdering all opposing fans with your bare hands and the little colored toothpicks everyone is using to grab meatballs.
This happens during regular season games. You know it does. You've experienced it. But so far you have restrained yourself, and that is laudable. Right up there with crisis heroics and saving puppies. But that muderous desire is 1000% stronger during the Super Bowl. The atmosphere is so intense that any non-football fans have to evacuate the area, and the pressure in the viewing room is so high that pets run away. True story. So before you go into the Colosseum that is a mixed-company party, take a deep breath and remind yourself that there is no NFL in prison.
If you give in and make a move to physically abuse any fan opposing your team: 15 yard penalty, a.k.a. you get a seat far away from the TV.
Rule No. 4: Unsportsmanlike Conduct
We know. This is the first time in ages that your team looks like it will be better than "meh" in the Super Bowl. I have no idea what that feels like, but I imagine it feels like the opposite of the Patriots breaking their winning streak this year. But regardless of your elation at actually being pretty good, you can't let it take over and turn you into Jekyll and Hyde.
If your team is winning, don't shove it down the opposing fans' throats. Inevitably - unless the Broncos repeat the Sleeper Bowl of 2014, which would just be too much for one decade - something good will happen for them that's bad for you, and they'll give you exactly what you gave them, with interest. Try to remain a civilized human being, please and thank you.
Otherwise: 15 yard penalty and probably a busted lip.
Rule No. 5: Rushing the Quarterback
Eventually, the clock will run out, someone will win, someone will lose, and it will all be over, all the way until the 2016 draft. People will be excited, people will be depressed, and people will resign themselves to the fact that the only football they now have is YouTube replays and Madden. Withdrawals will begin as soon as the last Super Bowl ad ends.
As these realizations sink in, it's easy to forget where you are and just wander home, leaving your host - the quarterback - to clean up the barbecue sauce from the counters, the beer spray from the tables, and the blood from the floors. If you do this, you will become a hated member of football society, on par with Ray Lewis circa 2000 and Ben Roethlisberger circa 2010.
Not really. But seriously.
The penalty is a fine of friendship, barment from all future Super Bowl parties, and widespread rumors of your selfishness and laziness. You will be forced to watch all future Super Bowls alone in a crowded bar of unhygienic strangers, and that is sad.
Rule No. 6: Unnecessary Roughness
Anyone who mentions Deflategate or talks any kind of crap about the Patriots is a pernicious peeve who doesn't appreciate football greatness and, therefore, does not deserve to be taking up prime Super Bowl-watching real estate.
Result: 10 yard penalty and duct tape over your mouth.