Over the past 20 weeks you’ve watched 300+ professional football games, listened to over 350 hours of Matthew Barry podcasts and consumed three times your body weight in chicken wings. You’ve lost your future children’s college fund to prop bets about what Gisele would be wearing at Patriots games and have slept on the couch 7 times this season for violations against the sanctity of dating. And now, the granddaddy of them all, the Super Bowl, is upon us. You’ve suffered through a Pro Bowl and countless hours of ESPN banter about the participants travel schedules and hygiene regiments and Tom Brady’s unscrupulous handling of balls. But instead of heading to the local dive bar with the trough urinals where the distinct smell of disillusionment and masculinity hangs heavy in the air, you’re on your way to Steve and Jill’s 700 square foot apartment with 40 other of your girlfriend’s friends.
Steve is a casual sports fan at best whose conversations about sports are limited to rattling off matter-of-fact statements verbatim from this morning’s iteration of SportsCenter. This Super Bowl roster isn’t complete without the crestfallen fan of a Super Bowl participant who has been forced here against his will. He can be identified in the wild by his gloomy demeanor, sunken posture, and pricey authentic jersey that will most likely get mustard spilled on it by the Chad of your group. Then there are the WAGs who see this as an opportunity to drink cheap white wine and hang with their typically distanced boyfriends or fiancés. More importantly the big game gives them an excuse to bake football themed desserts, cackle amongst themselves in the kitchen and watch the commercials. The leader of this group will commandeer the remote control so that she can elevate the television’s volume to levels that will drown out the males analytical banter so that her crew can hear the overrated commercials and halftime performance. But rest assured that it will be hard to hear “Roar” over the judgmental whispers coming from the girls regarding Katy Perry’s wardrobe, makeup and dance routine choices, as well as their general disdain that Beyoncé wasn’t awarded the honor again this year.
Other supporting cast members on this playbill include the relatively new, still-into-PDA couple who is stepping out at a friend event together for the first time. They will sicken the long since dejected couples by holding hands, kissing on every down and will ultimately provoke questions like “why aren’t we like that anymore” from your girlfriend on the way home. Then there is the loose cannon of your group who is fun to have around from roughly midnight to 4 AM on Saturdays but is a liability for his poor life choices and questionable decisions otherwise. Having Monday off and fighting through a brutal hangover, he will be partying like Lawrence Taylor after a Super Bowl victory. He will recruit reluctant participants into aggressive drinking games and take more shots than a sorority girl on Spring Break.
Arguably more of an issue than this legion of doom gathered for the finale of the NFL season is the seating situation. Unless you have a rich friend who has made vastly better life choices than you, you’re likely going to be relegated to a folding chair or some sort of musty camping chair that Steve found in his basement for the entirety of the big game. The limited couch space is reserved for the hosts and those who common decency dictates get subway seats: pregnant women, geriatrics and anyone with a handicap. Unfortunately your learning disability does not count as a physical handicap. The VIPs defense of their prime real estate will include the use of 5’s, only making one trip to the food table and leaving one half of the couple on the couch at all times. You might spot a weakness in their line and send a full on blitz but your hopes are dashed when you remember Jen’s frequent bathroom breaks are due to her pregnancy.
Shoveling pounds of barbecued, fried and buffaloed food into your stomach is little consolation for your seat being partially blocked by the host’s unkempt houseplant and Steve’s brother’s big head. But a quick escape to the bathroom is a priceless assuagement when your dormant volcano of a stomach erupts, spewing molten cheese, meat and golden battered goodness into your host’s porcelain throne. Be sure to avoid sordid invites from your health conscious or “crunchy” friends. These are the same people who prepared a tofurkey at friendsgivng and give out homemade granola bars on Halloween. You’ll also want to duck your poor and/or single friend’s gathering. The combination of a lack of fiscal responsibility coupled with the absence of a women’s innate hosting abilities creates a perfect storm of luke-warm TGIFriday’s wings and store brand tortilla chips with velveeta served from the jar.
Plate integrity is paramount when engineering your masterpiece of 2 dozen buffalo wings and 36 pigs in a blanket plastered together by a pound and a half of ranch. A real pro will take a page out of his “bringing in groceries” playbook and only make one trip to his seat by loading his pockets full of beers. And not just any beer: cheap, watery, American beer. On what is arguably the most American holiday, it is your god given right to drown the sorrows of your team not making the playoff in “great pilsner taste”. In the unfortunate case that host recently converted into a douchey craft beer connoisseur, make sure to have at least one thirty pack of Silver Bullets in the chamber.
If you find yourself at a crappy party your only hope is that the puppy bowl features a bunch of ugly dogs that can’t hold your girlfriend’s attention and that the actual game is a blowout so you can tuck your tail between your legs, bow out early and pop as many antacids as you can find in preparation for the only fate worse than a bad Super Bowl party: work on Monday. And try not to be bitter about the fact that fantasy has been over for weeks, you lost $20 to a female who has never watched football in her life in one of those obligatory box games and that your girlfriend is all too aware of the clearing of your schedule for the next 30+ Sundays. But don’t worry, pitchers and catchers report in less than a month and March Madness will scratch your gambling itch in a mere 6 weeks.