An Idiot’s Guide to Super Bowl Sunday
You’ll sound like a bonafide football fan when saying these quips.
There are two kinds of people who will be attending Super Bowl parties this weekend. One group is made up of the genuine football fans who can’t wait to see a great contest between the AFC and NFC champs in Super Bowl LI (51).*
The second group is those folks who know what KFC stands for, but have no idea what AFC, NFC, ACL, or any other football-sounding acronym stands for. Worse than that, they don’t follow football at all — but these folks don’t want to miss out on the fun, food, drinks and networking opportunities that a Super Bowl offers.
Come Super Bowl Sunday, they want to be where the action is. But they’re also terrified because they don’t know anything about the game.
Here’s how this works.
What follows are five phrases that you can memorize and say with enthusiasm — loud enough for people to hear — during the Super Bowl. You can even take this with you as a cheat sheet…just tell people you’re looking at numbers in your Super Bowl pool. They’ll know what you mean even if you don’t.
Use these phrases throughout the game and you won’t only sound like a real fan — you’ll be guaranteed to get an invite to Super Bowl LII (52). Trust me. Let’s get started:
What to say: “Okay. Who are the Brady haters around here?”
What it means: Anyone around you who isn’t a New England Patriots fan most likely hates Tom Brady, the team’s quarterback (the handsome guy who throws the ball). You’ll be saying something that none of them disagree with.
When to say it: Make it your grand-entrance opening statement. It will immediately mark you as someone who knows what’s going on, and it will get the excitement going by causing your friends to take sides.
Bonus: For those who aren’t Brady haters, commiserate with them by saying, “It’s too bad Gronk isn’t playing.” Gronk, or Rob Gronkowski, is a powerful player for the Patriots and has been injured most of the season. It will show your compassionate side.
What to say: “I’m so glad I drafted Julio this season.”
What it means: Julio (Hoo-leo) Jones is a great receiver (a guy who catches the ball the quarterback throws). Nerds who take football seriously (like my son and daughter) choose a team of players in a game of make-believe and statistics-based football and play in a league with other nerds — otherwise known as Fantasy Football. Someone who drafted Julio Jones was a genius and probably did great. Others will recognize your genius.
When to say it: Watch the game and look for the guy wearing a black helmet with a red bird painted on it and wearing a colorful shirt with the number 11 on it. Then say your stuff. (Or listen for the announcer to say, “Julio Jones does it again!”)
Bonus: Pick any player who isn’t doing well and say, “That chump is the reason I lost in fantasy!” No one will ask for proof, and they’ll probably start airing their own fantasy grievances.
What to say: “I hope the refs brought their pressure gauges!”
What it means: Tom Brady was suspended for four games this season because his balls were deflated. That is, there was huge controversy (called “Deflategate”) because the Patriots were found to be taking air out of the ball so Brady could grip and throw it better. That’s cheating.
When to say it: The best time would be early in the game, when the game is young. You’ll sound like someone who follows football in the off-season and earn some extra-credit respect.
Bonus: Add the word “gate” to anything controversial. Run out of chili? Chiligate. Who had the last of the guac? Guacgate. Who drank out of your water bottle? Watergate.
What to say: “Come on — take it to the house!”
What it means: It’s very exciting and somewhat rare when a player returns a kicked ball for a touchdown. This expression is real fan jargon and makes it sound as if you’re keyed up for action.
When to say it: The best time would be just before the “opening kickoff” (which is how the game starts) or the kickoff that starts the second half (right after the 30-minute break for more chili and guacamole).
Tip: Tell everyone, “Don’t let me miss the kickoff!” They won’t, and you’ll be prepped for your line.
Bonus: If you don’t have the time or mental capacity to memorize this list, or don’t feel like using a cheat sheet (especially if you went to church — it is Sunday, after all), just use this single surefire winner:
What to say: “It’s not a Super Bowl without a Manning!”
What it means: Peyton Manning and Eli Manning are brothers and quarterbacks and have each been on two winning Super Bowl teams. Peyton was in the Super Bowl last year, and Eli has notoriously beat Tom Brady in the Big Game. Most everyone likes a Manning. And now you do too, right?
When to say it: Anytime during the game. You can even say this at the next few Super Bowls and get away with it.
Good luck — and don’t forget the guac!
*The Big Game, Super Bowl LI (51) is between the Atlanta Falcons, champs of the NFC (National Football Conference), and the New England Patriots, champs of the AFC (American Football Conference).