Many of us are going to be watching this weekend’s final NFL game of the season. For two regions, and their fans this is the big one, the summit of Mt. Everest, the Super Bowl. It is the goal of all 32 NFL teams, it is the desire of every football fan and the stuff dreams are made of. I am one such blessed individual to be able to say that my team is in the Super Bowl. With that proclamation, my dear football sister-newbies, I have some final suggestions, or guidelines, for watching this game with other football fans.
Most of the people I know or have talked to are going to be watching this game with others. A lot of them will have more experience, more enthusiasm, more knowledge and more emotional vested interest into the game than a new follower might have. For those of us who have a team playing this Sunday, the rules change. The game means more, the plays are more crucial and the viewing is more focused. The Super Bowl parties are meant to be for one thing, to watch the game. It is not a place for socializing. For 164 days out of the year, our relationships with others mean more than anything, but for about 4 hours on Sunday afternoon, all relational rules must be shelved for the good of the game. So here are some things that you can do to ensure that come Monday morning, all relationships are back to ideal:
1. No talking prior to the snap. The tension is building as the teams break their huddle and line up. For the Seahawk and/or Bronco fan sitting next to you, their heart rate is increasing at an alarming rate, they are taking shallow breaths, and their eyes are darting back and forth as they desperately try to see all the match-ups right before they happen.
2. No talking during the snap. This is where the action starts on the field. It is not the time to point out that linemen should not wear white football pants. It is not the time to ask why Peyton Manning says “Omaha” a lot, or if Michael Bennett’s sack dance can be censored. The fan next to you is watching the play unfold as they try not to swallow their tongue.
3. No talking after the play ends. This is where you use observation tools to gauge the reaction of those sitting next to you. If there is visible relief, then the play that just occurred was good. If there is anxiety in any verbal or non-verbal form (this could be from cursing to actual tears), then the play was bad. Try to refrain from immediately asking, “What happened?” there will usually be a re-play on TV.
4. Avoid remarking about the reactions of those around you. Once, I had a relative tell me how I sounded while I was in labor, it was not appreciated. Nor is it appreciated when someone remarks about behavior at a game. Both labor and football viewing are very intense, painful, at times agonizing and yet both can produce the sweetest of joy at the end. Let’s just leave it at that.
5. Seahawk/Bronco fans will NOT be watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. Commercials are for the rest of the world’s viewing audience that has no vested interest in the game. Commercial breaks for those fans will be used for rapid bathroom trips or wiping away tears or undivided intercession or shots of oxygen. You can determine if you like this year’s Doritos commercial better than last year’s but give the fan next to you until Monday to think of anything else.
6. The half time show will do nothing to calm the mind of the fan next to you. They will be trying to predict the adjustments that each team will make. They might be filled with anxiety over weaknesses they saw in their team in the first half or they will be filled with anxiety over strengths they saw. Why anxiety over strengths? Because what if the other team adjusts to that strength the second half? Can you see how the mind of a fan can work against itself? Don’t ask how much they like Bruno Mars, just make sure the DVR is on, they’ll want to watch him later. And by later, it could mean a year later.
7. At the end of the game, rejoice with those rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping. The rejoicing part is easy. But the weeping part is a bit trickier. Try to avoid the cliché statements like “there’s always next year” or “they played a good game” or “it’s just a game” or “are you going to finish those chicken wings?” Just cry with them, and if you have to speak, use soft soothing tones.
8. Know that Monday always comes. Win or lose, the fan next to you will go back to the guy or girl you know and love. Monday will be a time to look back and recap but also a time to look ahead. Monday starts the time where football becomes about business. Terms like salary-cap, free agents, mock drafts and OTA’s will take precedent in football lingo. And everyone’s eyes will turn to the future. Because the first week of September 2014, everyone is 0-0 again.
Have a great Super Bowl and…GO Hawks!