… for those who hate football or just really don’t careAt some point in the last decade, Super Bowl parties have become a central social event. They aren’t just for football fans anymore — anyone and everyone is invited, from the woman who has watched every game this season and can rattle of facts and stats, to the guy who hears the name Russell Wilson and thinks, “Isn’t that the dude from the movie ‘Wedding Crashers?’ ”
The trouble comes when you mix those diehard fans with the folks who just want to get to the commercials already. As someone who has only recently understood what the term “first down” means and generally thinks sports fandom is overrated, I’ve survived more than a couple Super Bowl parties as that annoying person who doesn’t know anything about football.
So for those folks who hate football, or just really don’t care, here are a few survival tips to not only get you through the big day, but hopefully help you have fun along the way.
1. Cheer for a team
Sure, longtime fans hate what they call “bandwagoners,” but any Super Bowl party experience will be exponentially more interesting if you actually pick a team to root for. Whether you pick the team everyone else is into (likely the Seahawks in these parts), or you choose by some other arbitrary factor (e.g. how attractive the quarterback is or what team colors you prefer), being a “fan for a day” makes everything more bearable.
2. Dress up
This is it. This is your chance to paint your face, spray-dye your hair and hit up the thrift store for all the blue and green your heart desires (or red, white and blue should you choose to head to the dark side this year). Sure, you aren’t an actual football fan, but you also don’t have to actually be a skeleton or ghost to dress up on Halloween — and it’s still just as fun.
3. Place your bets
Don’t be afraid to bet a dollar or two in any Super Bowl pools that might be happening at the party — or at the office. I might get hate mail for saying this, but sports games like this are, in the end, almost completely unpredictable. Sure there are stats and numbers and odds and favorites, but the fact remains that all it takes is one injury to incapacitate a star player, one fluke interception, or that 50/50 chance in an overtime coin toss and the game changes. Suddenly the team everyone thought was going to win … doesn’t. So whatever team you are rooting for, bet on them. It gives you an actual monetary stake in the outcome, which makes rooting for your chosen team just a little bit more fun.
4. Do a smidge of research
From my experience, at least knowing some basics makes pretending to like football slightly more enjoyable. Facts like the name of the quarterbacks and the basic rules of the game make it far easier to follow what’s going on. I’m not saying you have to spend hours and hours researching, but watching a “Football 101” video on YouTube and looking up the star players on each team will go a long way, especially to mitigating a non-football fans’ propensity to ask ridiculous questions (see No. 5).
5. Don’t ask ridiculous questions
I find there are few things that annoy hard-core football fans more than non-fans asking ridiculous questions during the game. I know because I’ve totally been “that person” before. Doing a bit of research beforehand will help you avoid feeling the need to ask questions like, “Unnecessary roughness? What does that even mean? Isn’t all of football unnecessarily rough?” and irritate your fellow partiers.
6. Feel free to laugh
Maybe this is just some morbid testament to the kind of person I am, but when game commentators throw around phrases like “penetration,” “going deep,” “tight end” and “looking to score,” it’s really hard to not laugh. I feel like there’s a “that’s what she said” moment every 30 seconds of game commentary and it’s genuinely hilarious to those of us who don’t have much context for those phrases outside of innuendos. So if you aren’t a football fan, you can at least have some good laughs and maybe even make a drinking game out of all those phrases that sound dirty but really aren’t.
7. Enjoy the extras
Commercials, the halftime entertainment, good food, time with friends — even if you don’t follow any other bit of advice in this list, at least do this. Sure, football is overrated and people take it far too seriously, but really the Super Bowl is an excuse to get together with those people in your life who mean the most to you. If nothing else, hang out in the kitchen with the other non-football fans (there are bound to be at least a few others) and eat all the chicken wings, only venturing out to the TV when Katy Perry hits the stage for the halftime show.
Have a listicle you’d like to see? Get in touch. Moroney may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 848-2232.