OK, so you’re that person at the party, the one who has not watched a down of football in his life. Don’t fret, there are many of you in Durango, no need to feel bad.
But we’re humans, social creatures, and few things make us feel better than belonging to a group, fitting in, being part of the team. And that Super Bowl party you got roped into is definitely a place you can be a part of the team, even if you aren’t.
Sure, the deviled eggs and spinach artichoke dip you brought will probably do plenty for your popularity, but a few key observations about the actual game will put you into legendary status.
Here’s my quick and dirty guide on how to sound like you know something about football when you clearly do not.
First, you’re simply going to have to take five paltry minutes sometime before the party and Google something like “basic football rules.” You’ll want to know how downs work, how a team earns a first down and why and when a team punts or kicks a field goal. These are the basics. You’ll also want a third-grade understanding of what the key positions are all about: On offense, quarterback, running back and wide receiver; on defense, linebacker, cornerback and safety. You don’t want to be the person pestering the people who actually care about the game during any pivotal moment, which, in the Super Bowl is every moment.
Make fun of kickers and how they’re just soccer players wearing padded costumes. If you’re feeling really brave about kickers, mention how you really like the dynamic this year’s new PAT rules have brought to the game. If pressed to elaborate on PATs, gulp down whatever remains of the drink in your hand and say something like, “I’ve gotta go kick my own PAT if you know what I mean,” and go hide in the bathroom for at least 10 minutes.
If anything goes wrong for the Broncos at any point – Peyton Manning throws an interception, Ronnie Hillman fumbles, Demaryius Thomas drops an easy pass, Cam Newton runs for a 187-yard touchdown – seem really annoyed, sigh audibly and say, “Ugh, here we go again.”
If the game is close in the fourth quarter, before any third down play regardless of which team has the ball, you can commandingly use the phrase, “This is huge.” (Replace “huge” with “YUGE” and score a Trump joke two-fer.) You can use this phrase at least five times without annoying those around you. However, listen closely: If one of the game’s announcers uses this phrase before you do, the appropriate phrase is, “Pshh, like that wasn’t obvious. How much are they paying that guy for his insight?!”
Never refer to the Broncos as something silly like, “The Broncos” or “Denver.” It’s “we” and “us.” Always.
At any point in the game, you can yell “Throw the flag!” to insinuate a penalty on the play that you saw and no one else did. Be sure that the ball is actually in play or else you’ll appear insane. If an official happens to actually throw a flag on the play, even better. You can then yell “Thank you!” and look knowledgeable and astute.
Anytime in the first half, bring up how important it is to “establish the run.” When the Broncos have the ball, you say, “It’s all about establishing the run.” When Carolina has the ball, you say, “It’s all about not letting them establish the run.” Never mind what establishing the run actually means, because it doesn’t matter.
If Peyton Manning is sacked or if any Carolina player makes a violent tackle, the phrase, “Have another bowl of human growth hormone” will be a big hit.
And if the Broncos lose, you can say, “Well, at least we’re the No. 1 loser.” Actually, don’t say that.