We’re on the eve of Super Bowl XLVI, and the big question for most folks is “where do I watch the game?”
Many have Super Sunday rituals that are as much a part of their lives as those of Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. The Super Bowl, for many, is the defining day of celebration in America. The difference between Super Bowl Sunday and say, Thanksgiving, is that, instead of having to spend the day with family, most of us choose who we want to watch the game with. While that’s not to say that dads and sons don’t gather together in the glow of the big screen anymore, most of us get together with friends, drinking buddies and fellow fans to follow the scrum.
As I have attended a number of the games and watched virtually all of the others live on TV (my family drove to San Diego to watch Super Bowl I on television because it was blacked out in Los Angeles where the game was played), I have had some experience with the process of picking a game day location.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you make your choice:
Consideration #1 – Do you care about the game?
Are you kind of person who knows that Victor Cruz broke the Giants record for receiving yards or that Tom Brady threw two picks versus Baltimore in the AFC Championship game? Or are you the kind of person who is more interested in Cruz’s salsa moves or Brady’s super model wife?
If you are the former, you might want to stay home with your HDTV and listen intently as Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth relay the 411. Die-hard fans, those who subscribe to the NFL Ticket on Direct TV or play fantasy games, make a rookie mistake when they accept that invite to their girlfriend’s brother’s house that is filled with know-nothings who are only there for the nachos. It gets loud, it gets distracting, and well, annoying.
If you care, don’t go there. Watch the game for the game. At home.
Consideration #2 – Sports Bar or Party?
Ah, but if you don’t care about names, numbers, stats, downs and distance etc., then your decision becomes, “do I go to a party or a sports bar?” Opt for the party and you will have an obligation to be on time and to bring something. A six-pack works but if you go the extra mile and bring something special, preferably homemade, chances are you will be invited back year after year.
Choose the sports bar and you’ll have a tab and a crowd. Sometimes a rowdy crowd.
Consideration #3 – The Party
There are many different kinds of Super Bowl parties and choosing the right one will determine how your day will go. Start by choosing between the party with co-workers vs. the one with friends. If you go to a “work” party, it will be work. You’ll need to be polite, not swear at Eli Manning, and be extra careful not to drop your celery crudités on the sofa.
If you select your friend’s house, you can slip on a pair of jeans, a Wes Welker jersey and scream to your heart’s content. Nobody will care because you’re with friends.
Consideration #4 – The Sports Bar
So there are a lot of different kinds of sports bars. There are those that have 56 TVs and are key accounts for Anheuser Busch. There are neighborhood places that have a pair of small TV sets placed at either end of the bar and are filled with locals. And then there are restaurants that bring in the big screens for a day and pretend to be sports bars for the day.
I opt for the neighborhood spots but try and make sure that there is quality screenage. Local spots just have more character and there are not as many poseurs. But the deal is location, location, location. You have to get to a good bar early if you have any hope of bellying up by the bartender. Also, you need to make it a big day for the bar as well. You should buy a beer each quarter with an extra order of food at a minimum, and be sure to tip at least 25 percent if your bar man is any good at all.
Consideration #5 – Be Safe
Whatever you do, wherever you go, whoever your team is, make sure that you don’t drink and drive. No place worse to welcome Super Bowl Monday than in the local jail. No one means to drink too much at the Super Bowl party and yet, most people do.
Call a cab, hire a driver, rely on a teetotaler or stay at home.
Just don’t be the big game’s biggest loser.
Malibu Kelly Hayes is the spotter for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Since 1986, when he began a 25-year rum on ABC’s Monday Night Football, he has been in the booth for over 500 prime time games. This will be his tenth Super Bowl, and yes, he has the best seat in the house.
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