Super Bowl etiquette

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

As many of you may remember, Super Bowl XXXVI saw Tom Brady lead the New England Patriots to its first-ever world championship, a thrilling 24-21 victory over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams.

That game was memorable for several reasons, the most notable of which was the dawning of the Brady/Belichick era. In my case, however, that game will always remind me of the day my friend Tim made an absolute jackass of himself.

Erroneously assuming the “STL” on the scoreboard was an abbreviation for “Steelers,” Tim made a comment he has been mocked about each and every subsequent Super Bowl bash.

“The Steelers’ quarterback is totally ruining it for them,” he said, referring to Kurt Warner’s poor first-half play. “They should put in Kordell Stewart.”

On that fateful day, poor Tim received a crash course in Super Bowl etiquette, a set of unwritten rules that govern one’s behavior during the year’s biggest sporting event. In order to spare the general public from suffering the same fate, I have decided to outline a few major “dos” and “don’ts” for virtually any Super Bowl party.

1. Prepare yourself. If you show up at a party without knowing which teams are playing, people will look at you like you just sneezed all over the salad bar. In the modern information age, only the Amish have an excuse for being so poorly informed.

Fakers trying to masquerade as “true fans” can go to SuperBowl.com for information and statistics on both teams. Also, because this year’s primary match-up is Peyton Manning vs. the Bears’ defense, casual fans would do well to get hip with terms like “Cover 2” and “audible.”

2. Know your audience. If the individual who is hosting the party happens to be a passionate Colts’ fan, showing up in a Bears’ jersey is strictly prohibited unless the zeal you have for your team is greater than or equal to that of your host.

In any case, busting your hosts’ chops following a loss by his or her team is strongly discouraged, as he or she may become violent. Exceptions to this rule include BYU fans and Carolina Panthers fans; both groups deal with losses by drawing a hot bath, lighting some candles and listening to Celine Dion.

3. Eat like Chris Farley would if he were alive. Arriving at a party with food marked as “non-fat” or “organic” is tantamount to telling racist jokes at a UN summit. It shows a complete and total disregard for context-appropriate behavior.

Wings and salsas should both be of the hot variety, and at least 75 percent of all foodstuffs should be deep-fried. Men’s Health Magazine reported that the average football fan consumes 1,200 calories during the Super Bowl. You’re better than average, aren’t you?

4. Throw out all alcohol that isn’t beer. Under no circumstances should anyone get caught drinking Zima or wine coolers at a Super Bowl party. No one will remember the game if anything stronger than beer is served, so keep the Jack Daniels locked up for the night.

5. Last, but certainly not least, designate a driver. Anyone who gets busted with a DUI will probably end up in jail with half of the Cincinnati Bengals’ starting lineup.