So, a record number of people watched the Super Bowl last weekend -- 111 million to be exact. It's too bad that the technology used to determine this gaudy number can't tell the difference between those who were actually paying attention to the action on the field and those who just happened to be in the room during the telecast.
I've only been to a handful of Super Bowl parties in my lifetime. Though the truth is that I've only been invited to a handful of Super Bowl parties in my lifetime, I prefer to say that I chose not to attend as a way to make a personal statement against glam-football.
In my limited Super Bowl party experience, I've discovered that there are three distinct types of people you'll meet there. Since I know there are still those of you out there who don't get invited to Super Bowl parties, I thought I'd provide a bit of a primer into what to look for and how to deal with each of of the groups.
The Purists - These are the people who would prefer that the Super Bowl was played outdoors, in a foot of snow, with leather helmets and goal posts moved from the back of the endzone to the goal line. They don't care which teams are playing - the fact that is football is more than enough for them. They drink hard during the game action and go to the bathroom during commercial breaks. Don't bother them during live action and never question their ability to dissect a play or their take on playcalling or strategy.
The Squareheads - These people would show up to an International Cricket Championship party, as long as they could buy five or six squares from a game grid. Without the excitement of losing forty or fifty bucks, they would just as soon be at the dentist getting their molars capped. These are the men and women who question the strategy of kicking an extra point in the first quarter because one of the Super Bowl squares they purchased had the number six in it.
The Ad Spotters - These partygoers show no outward interest in the game while the game is going on. The talk. They eat. They turn their back to the action. Yet, at the very moment a commercial break begins, the Ad Spotter drops their plate and cup, closes their mouth and cranes their neck to get a premium and unfettered view of the Super Bowl ad now showing on the television. So intent is the ad spotter, you'd think they were actually appearing in the commercial. Spotters are quick to judge and offer an opinion about what they've just seen. As if Larry Tate were somewhere in the room looking for agency talent to help with a new campaign for next year's big game.
I clearly don't fall into any of the three categories I've just described. So, there must be a fourth group. I've had to stop writing to really think about this. It's a bit like looking for the missing link and then discovering that it's you. But, I think I've got it...
The Foodies - I love football, but I don't worry about whether the defense is running a cover 2 zone defense. I'm late for everything, so I'm sure how I feel about Super Bowl squares -- they're always gone before I get to the party. I used to be in the advertising industry, but frankly the Super Bowl ads have not lived up to the hype since about 1995. But dammit if I don't love party food. Wings. Pizza. Chips and salsa. Six versions of seven-layer Mexican dip. Sausage sandwiches. Cookies. Cake. It's a fat sports fan's heaven. Foodies like me are the heart and soul of any Super Bowl party. Plus, we're the most versatile of all partygoers. Just because I'm eating doesn't mean I can't watch the game, buy a square or comment on the commercials.
So, it's a miracle all four groups can get along so well. We all have different agendas, but rarely does a fight break out. It's kind of like an African nature preserve. Lions living with antelope in harmony because the lions are fed so well by humans they think of the antelope as friends, not dinner. Think of it as the Pridelands after Simba returned home.
The good news is that you have an entire year to get ready for your next (or your first) Super Bowl party. Heck you may even decide to break down and throw one of your own. If so, keep in mind the delicate balance that is the Super Bowl Circle of Life.