Anywhere Eli Manning goes technically counts as a party.
Along with New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl is part of a string of disappointing winter holidays — hyped-up and ostensibly festive events during which you go to elaborate logistical lengths to get somewhere crowded and terrible. Typically, it’s not until St. Patrick’s Day arrives with the flower blossoms and giant beers of spring that we return to the holidays that are actually fun.
It does not have to be this way. New Year’s is already past us, and for Valentine’s Day you’re on your own because I don’t know how to talk to girls, but your Super Bowl can be redeemed if you follow the rules below.
1. DO have two TVs.
One for the die-hards, one for chattin’.
2. DON’T countenance any smirking at people who get really into the game.
We don’t come to your house to laugh at you while you’re watching the Kardashian Channel, so don’t snicker at us just because we’re really excited about how the one guy caught the ball instead of the other guy. Leave the cultural snark where it belongs — in divisive, vicious, anonymous comments on the Internet. We already know we’re acting a little ridiculous. Think of the way you get worked up over Orange County Hill Gossip Plastic Surgery Road Rules Housewives Beach, even though you know it doesn’t really matter. Just go with the flow.
3. DO encourage a ton of beer drinking.
People are going to be a little hesitant to drink that much because they have a whole week of work ahead of them. It’s responsible, it’s adult, and it’s no way to have a good party. Here’s something you don’t hear a lot: “Best party I ever went to? Probably the one where everyone was really restrained, lots of moderation, people spending most of their time thinking about errands they had to run the next day, self-discipline all over the place.”
You can’t party all the time — if our probation officer has said that once, he’s said it a million times. But if you’re going to party, do it right. Practically, the best way to encourage other people to drink beer at your party is to have a lot of beer on the premises and drink some of it yourself while being a fun person. So do your best. Take it easy Saturday night, to prepare. Get in a good jog Sunday morning. Do some squats, work your lats a bit. Center your chi and bring balance to your life, mind, and spirit. Then, when it’s time to get down, get down like the mayor of party town.
4. DON’T just serve cheap beer.
You definitely want to have SOME cheap beer — it’s only appropriate for the occasion — but you also want the guests who aren’t sports-bar types to feel comfortable. Have some microbrews and wine. Themed cocktails are always a delight so long as you don’t go overboard and make a Ravens drink out of Communion wafers and crab juice.
5. DON’T say, “The commercials are better than the game.”
They aren’t and never were. Except the talking lizards. Those lizards were incorrigible!
6. DO play music during commercial breaks.
Honestly. No one will miss the commercials. “I hate this fun music and conversation. It would be better if we were watching a beer commercial in which the very notion of an overweight person being considered sexually desirable was portrayed as the richest and most exquisite of high comedy.” Go ahead and let people say that.
7. DON’T kill someone as a tribute to Ray Lewis.
And on that fateful day, death rode a weird fake horse.
8. DO have as many chicken wings as humanly possible. All sorts of chicken wings.
Despite the fact that eating wings and watching football is a cultural cliché, wings are still a surprisingly underutilized delivery option. It feels like a real occasion when you show up somewhere and — hey there, are those some piping-hot crispy chicken wings covered in a tangy, spicy sauce? They sure are, friend. You’re in a special place.
9. DON’T encourage party-hopping.
None of this “stop by for however long you can make it!” baloney. A game is a story. It builds on itself. It is a journey that you and your guests are taking together. You wouldn’t invite someone to your house to watch the middle third of Judge Dredd.
10. DO encourage lots of gambling.
The oldest trick in the book for giving someone who otherwise wouldn’t care (i.e., most Super Bowl viewers) a rooting interest. Have some sort of pool that everyone present is competing in, and loudly make some side bets in the first quarter to encourage that sort of thing as well.
11. DO feature this early ’90s poster of Jim Harbaugh somehow.
It’s too late to order on eBay, but you could project it on your wall, or print out 1,000 of them at your office (who cares, it’s not your money) (HAHA JUST KIDDING, BOSSES). Little touches make a difference at parties. For example, one time when I was younger, me and my roommates threw a Cinco de Mayo party and made a piñata filled with marijuana and condoms (HAHA JUST KIDDING, PARENTS) (BUT NOT REALLY KIDDING, LADIES [LEERS SUGGESTIVELY WHILE STONED TO THE POINT OF INCAPACITATION]). Have fun this Sunday, everyone!
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