There’s a certain breed of American male whose worst qualities come out on the last Sunday of each NFL season. He’s a football fan - a “die hard” if you ask him - and he’ll make that clear by wearing a jersey, even if the player represented isn’t playing. He’ll be a little pudgy with the complexion of a Wavy Lay, a true sign he’s dedicated the past 20 Sundays, along with Monday nights, Thursday nights and some Saturday nights, to absorbing the light emitting from his flatscreen. Most tellingly, he’ll be talking, initially to anyone who will listen, and by the end of the night, to any one at all. He’ll be enlightening them to the intricacies of the game, correcting an overhead fact, and, this year, holding forth on the principles of air pressure. He’ll be a self-righteous, know-it-all fan who ruins everything for those just trying to celebrate America’s biggest sports holiday.
Don’t be that guy.
There’s a big difference between knowing about football and not shutting up about football. Knowing that difference is the key to not becoming this clown. If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you know the game. Maybe you played a little. Certainly you’ve played video game. You’ve probably owned a fantasy team with a crappy pun in its name (perhaps, Gronky Kong) and you definitely know the rule that led Dez Bryant’s catch against the Packers to be called incomplete.
But here’s the key question: Can you keep your mouth shut about all of that? When you overhear a frat boy in a cutoff Pats hoodie saying, “Isn’t it crazy that Tom Brady wasn’t even drafted?” can you refrain from correcting his? When you hear your best friend’s mom wondering out loud what illegal motion is, can you spare everyone the explanation? When Bill Belichick elects to punt on fourth and two from Seahawks 46, can keep from launching into a rant about sound fourth down strategy? If so, you’re well on your way to not being the worst guy at your Super Bowl party. If not, watch the game at home alone.
As Sunday approaches, it’s important to remind yourself that the Super Bowl is only marginally about football. It’s also about a 10-hour pre-game show, commercials, bean dip, cocktail sausages, a halftime show, alternate halftime shows and getting drunk with friends. Knowing the difference between a nickel package and a dime package is not a necessary requirement to enjoy the Super Bowl. So if at any point you find yourself tempted to drop football knowledge on a casual fan, shove some crudite in your ears so you can’t hear their nonsensical ramblings and just watch the game.