How To Enjoy The Super Bowl If You Have NFI About The NFL
Watched by over 100 million people, the Super Bowl is the biggest event of the year on American television.
It’s certainly the biggest sports event of the year, partially because the playoff format allows for the football championship to be decided by one game, rather than a series as in baseball, basketball and hockey.
It’s the one time of year when all Americans can put aside their social / economic / political differences and celebrate the violent poetry of the National Football League. (Unless you’re black and you want to protest police brutality -- then you’re disrespecting the flag and the “President” will call you a “son of a bitch”.)
But what if you don’t know anything about professional American football? What are you supposed to do? How can you possibly enjoy this epic clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and the… other team (*still doing some research on this)?
Now, judging by the way everyone seemed to absolutely hate last year’s low-scoring and not-fun-to-watch game, you might be better off not paying attention to the game.
I don’t know a lot about football. I know that you have four chances to advance the ball 10 yards and that there’s something called the Statue of Liberty play, which probably doesn’t happen often enough. I know that the games take forever and there’s lots of starting and stopping and thanking a benevolent God if you win (and blaming a vengeful God if you lose, I assume).
But I do know how to get swept up in a cultural event and I’ve put all that knowledge into this essential guide to enjoying Super Bowl LIVIVLXXM (?) without knowing anything about the actual football being played.
Take the day off work
The Super Bowl will be played right in the middle of the morning, when most of us will be engaged in employment somewhere. If a race can stop a nation, surely a version of rugby with more padding can stop some of the country from going to work.
Some pubs have Super Bowl parties. Apparently in Federation Square in Melbourne there’s some kind of viewing happening.
Or you can just go to a non-Super Bowl pub and think about how many of your New Year’s Resolutions you’ve given up on already.
Watch the wildly expensive and hilarious commercials
The late comedian Bill Hicks once said that if you do a commercial you’re “off the artistic roll call forever” and you’re “another corporate shill” and that “everything you say is suspect”.
But who knows what any of that means. Bring on the celebrities selling cars, snacks and really bad beer!
We in Australia can only watch these commercials online, of course, but it’s all part of the Super Bowl spirit.
Here’s one with Boston accents:
Here’s one for the Australian wine that’s not sold in Australia, Yellow Tail, which tries to make the case for the idea that Yellow Tail “tastes like happy”:
And here's one that uses The Dude from The Big Lebowski to sell Stella Artois. It manages to be really unfunny and uncomfortable while making me absolutely want to continue to not drink Stella Artois.
Try not to think about chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Do you know what CTE is? No? Better to keep it that way. You don’t want the realities of a degenerative brain disorder that’s casting a shadow over the NFL putting a cloud over watching very large people hit each other over and over again
Revel in the glorious half time show
Kid Rock, New Kids on the Block, LMFAO, Up With People, The Black Eyed Peas, the magician Elvis impersonator Elvis Presto, Katy Perry and that shark thing… the Super Bowl Half Time show has given us so many classic moments.
This year it’s Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
Will they lip sync?
Will they remind Miami that it could be one of the American cities most affected by climate change?
No one knows!
But it's sure to be an improvement on Maroon 5 last year, which everyone hated.
Now that you’ve taken the day off work, throw a Super Bowl party for all your other work-ditching friends
You can be apathetic about pretty much anything if you’re eating and drinking. Ancient civilisations understood that.
Traditional Super Bowl party snacks include chilli, beer, nachos, beer, some beer and then more beer. Do you know what a party ball is? I don't know if they make them anymore, but get one.
Gravitate towards the other people who aren’t interested in football so you have an ally when everyone gets upset at you for asking dumb, offensive questions
“Time out again?!”
“I wish everyone could wear a helmet to work.”
“I’d like to see that Statue of Liberty play people keep telling me about.”
These are just some of the things that will deeply irritate the people around you. So when you say them, you’re going to want to say them in the right company. Or at least say them and then get a sympathetic glance from someone who understands you.
And that’s all any of us really want, isn’t it? To be understood?
Make an enormous wager on the game
All contests of all descriptions become more interesting when you’ve got money riding on them. If you’re having a hard time being invested in a game that you don’t like, put some money on it. That’ll get you invested. And fast.
If you decide to go through the trouble of learning about the game, loudly read from the rule book through the game to show that you’re not totally antisocial
When they’re watching a game, there’s nothing people like more than to have someone loudly reading from the rule book throughout the game. They’ll thank you for it.
Figure out who seems to know the most about American football and just say what they’re saying
Literally, just repeat everything they say word for word.
Ignore the dehumanisation of Native Americans
Until recently, the official mascot of baseball's Cleveland Indians was Chief Wahoo:
They’re not playing in this year’s Super Bowl (I think), but there is a team in the NFL called the Washington Redskins. Redskins. That’s a slur for Native Americans, some of whom can’t go to bars in Washington DC without Redskins fans screaming at them about “keeping the name”.
As for the Kansas City Chiefs, they begin every game with a cheerleader riding a horse named Warpaint and then someone bangs an “Indian drum”.
And like the fans of baseball's Atlanta Braves, Kansas City fans paint their faces, strap on enormous headdresses and do an "Arrowhead Chop", which is some kind of tomahawk arm thing.
Apparently, all of this stuff is how fans and teams "honour" Native Americans...