How to Win at Watching Football

Our seven-step process for making it through the whole game.

The NFL’s got a problem that isn’t the systematic mishandling of domestic violence cases or the side effects of repeated head trauma. It’s called commercials, and it’s horrible. NFL games are now so broken up by pitches for home-improvement megastores that they’re almost unwatchable. This is why we’ve devised a seven-point plan designed to make football bearable again.

1. Don’t watch the pre-game show: They’re supposed to get you ready for the action, but the commentators are just committing flagrant fouls on logic and reason. The hour before kickoff is better spent building a 16-inch sandwich, or a relationship, or a house.

2. Start the game with that sandwich and a second screen: The sandwich is to sustain you through the three-and-half-hour marathon you’re about to endure. The second screen is to allow you to watch two games at once. If you’re obsessed enough with football that you bought Sunday Ticket, you can easily stream another game on the laptop. For the rest of us, dodgy streams from sites like work fine. If it’s Thursday or Sunday or Monday night and the game on TV is the only game on, you can tune that second screen to Gilmore Girls, which hits Netflix on October 1 (you heard it here first).

3. Fire up Twitter on your phone: The next best thing to watching a game with friends you can talk at during commercials is watching with Twitter friends you can tweet at during commercials. Follow people who will crack wise comments during the game and keep you mildly entertained while the commercials swallow your TV.

4. Mute everything: Don’t let the play-by-play buffoons destroy your Sunday. Dig a radio out of the closet and listen to the broadcasters whose job is simply to describe the action, not entertain. Or better yet, skip the commentary all together and listen to Free Reign, the metal band composed of three Cowboys offensive linemen.

5. Take a nap at half time: Football’s mid-game break officially lasts 12 minutes. Try to break off a 45-minute catnap and you’ll be sitting pretty when you wake up. You will have missed the half-time show completely, and you’ll be able to watch the third quarter with the help of your DVR. Each time you hear that telltale music and anticipate a commercial break, drop a 3x fast-forward on those parasites and skip the ads entirely.

6. Crack some jokes: By the time you catch up with live TV it should be about the start of the fourth quarter. This is time to get back on Twitter and spend commercial breaks coming up with zingers to impress your followers. Say you’re watching a Cowboys game and you’re anticipating a touchdown (unlikely, but go with it). Instead of seething over another Prudential commercial, work on your material. Something like, “Romoarigato Mr. Quarterback-o.” Except you can’t use that. The whole point is to spend commercial time thinking of something yourself. But definitely make Romo jokes.

7. Just watch the game: Finally, with under five minutes left in the game, it’s time to just watch. It’ll take 30 minutes but at least the action will be gripping. Speaking of gripping, invest in one some exercise equipment for your hand so every time you have to have to sit through a commercial you can channel your rage positively. Soon it will all be over. Then you can do it again.

Photos by Getty Images