Skip to main content

I hate, hate Super Bowl parties

By Jeff Pearlman, Special to CNN
February 1, 2013 -- Updated 2330 GMT (0730 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jeff Pearlman says he loves the Super Bowl, just hates having to go to a party
  • He says when he was young, it was him, with football under arm, the TV, and no talking
  • Now a dolt's always blabbing through game and wanting quiet during commercials, he says
  • Pearlman says this year he's staying home with family to watch -- in peace and quiet

Editor's note: Jeff Pearlman is the author of "Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton." He blogs at jeffpearlman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

(CNN) -- I hate Super Bowl parties.

My wife would prefer that I not open this column with that sentence. "We'll never be invited to another one," she says.

Hmm ...

I hate Super Bowl parties.

Hate them.

Oh, I love the Super Bowl. I love Vince Ferragamo and the Los Angeles Rams nearly upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1980. I love Jack Squirek's walk-into-the-end zone interception of Joe Theismann in 1984. I love Marcus Allen reversing field and William Perry running over the Patriots and Doug Williams shocking the Broncos and Jeff Hostetler filling in for Phil Simms and Steve Young yanking the monkey off his back.

Opinion: Who is God backing in the Super Bowl?

I absolutely, positively love the Super Bowl.

Just not Super Bowl parties.

Jeff Pearlman
Jeff Pearlman

Back when I was a kid, growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, New York, Super Bowl watching was simple: me, alone, plopped down in front of the television in my den, football tucked beneath my arm, a bowl of pretzels to the side. I didn't want to be bothered; I didn't want to engage.

I wanted to watch a football game -- in peace.

Still do.

But nowadays, Super Bowl parties have joined Christmas Eve dinners and Easter egg hunts as requisite American rituals -- enjoyment be damned. If you're not in a room with a large-screen TV and a bunch of balloons and 40 people complaining about the nacho dip, you're in the wrong place.

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



Well, to hell with that. Nothing ruins the Super Bowl like a Super Bowl party. Or, to be more precise, the people attending a Super Bowl party. Not everyone, of course. But for every shindig thrown, there's guaranteed to be at least one dolt who -- like a "Terminator" sent back in time -- is programmed to ruin everything.

The non-fan's guide to Super Bowl parties

Here's a quick breakdown:

1. The Knows-Everything-That's-About-to-Happen Dolt: Four years ago, while watching the Cardinals and Steelers play one of the great Super Bowls in NFL history, I had the misfortune of being in the same room as Myles. I'd once played flag football with Myles and was, well, unimpressed. A short, stout man in his early 40s, he boasted hands of stone and speed of mud but talked as if he were Randy Moss. When I first spotted him at the Super Bowl party I thought, "Uh, this can't be good."

It wasn't. Myles predicted every play five seconds before the snap -- and was right approximately .00872% of the time. "Oh, they're gonna run James up the middle here" -- pass. "Big Ben needs to throw a long one" -- screen. Myles didn't just prognosticate. He did so in a r-e-a-l-l-y loud voice. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to dress Myles in a Cowboys jersey and banish him to a bar in Philadelphia. Instead, I sat there, listening as this fool behaved like John Madden on whippets.

2. The Quiet!-the-Commercials-Are-on Dolt: Don't get me started. The Super Bowl is about football. Seriously -- it's about football and two elite teams and runs up the gut and slants and touchdowns and interceptions and field goals. It's not about the Alf puppet, John Oates and Justin Bieber teaming up for a wacky Pepsi commercial. I get it: Commercials are sometimes funny and clever. Fine. But if one more person jabbers on throughout the game, then tells me to "Shhhh ..." so he/she can watch the friggin' Clydesdales, I'm losing it.

3. The Long-Suffering-Fan-in-the-Jersey-With-the-Price-Tag-Still-on Dolt: Inevitably, someone will arrive this Sunday wearing a brand new Ray Rice Ravens jersey while talking about "all the years I've suffered waiting for this day."

Soothsaying bear makes Super Bowl pick
Batimore's Super Bowl boost

"Can you name five members of the Ravens?"

Ray Rice.

"Good."

Ray Lewis.

"OK."

Jim Flacco.

"Go away."

I'm a fan of the New York Jets. I was born in 1972. Not only have I gone 40 years without my team appearing in the Super Bowl, but I've had to sit through the likes of Blair Thomas, Rich Kotite and JoJo Townsell.

In other words -- zip it.

4. The Box Dolt: I can't remember the last time I attended a Super Bowl party where someone failed to pass around a sheet of paper with a bunch of boxes, and everyone was guilted into plunking down $5. Then, throughout the game, someone screams out "14!" or "27!" and everyone cheers. To this day, I have no remote idea what this means -- only that it irks the living hell out of me.

5. The Drunk Dolt: Not much really needs to be said -- he drinks 12 beers, eats all the nachos, vomits all the nachos on your shoes while screaming, "Go Astros!" and is sent home early.

Fortunately, this year should be OK. The wife has agreed that we'll stay home, order a pizza and watch Ravens-49ers in the den with our kids.

As long as no one talks, I'm golden.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeff Pearlman.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1925 GMT (0325 HKT)
Maria Cardona says Republicans should appreciate President Obama's executive action on immigration.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Van Jones says the Hunger Games is a more sweeping critique of wealth inequality than Elizabeth Warren's speech.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2329 GMT (0729 HKT)
obama immigration
David Gergen: It's deeply troubling to grant legal safe haven to unauthorized immigrants by executive order.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0134 GMT (0934 HKT)
Charles Kaiser recalls a four-hour lunch that offered insight into the famed director's genius.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The plan by President Obama to provide legal status to millions of undocumented adults living in the U.S. leaves Republicans in a political quandary.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
Despite criticism from those on the right, Obama's expected immigration plans won't make much difference to deportation numbers, says Ruben Navarette.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
As new information and accusers against Bill Cosby are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2256 GMT (0656 HKT)
When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 2011 GMT (0411 HKT)
Lost in much of the coverage of ISIS brutality is how successful the group has been at attracting other groups, says Peter Bergen.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Do recent developments mean that full legalization of pot is inevitable? Not necessarily, but one would hope so, says Jeffrey Miron.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
We don't know what Bill Cosby did or did not do, but these allegations should not be easily dismissed, says Leslie Morgan Steiner.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
Does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have the influence to bring stability to Jerusalem?
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
Even though there are far fewer people being stopped, does continued use of "broken windows" strategy mean minorities are still the target of undue police enforcement?
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
The truth is, we ran away from the best progressive persuasion voice in our times because the ghost of our country's original sin still haunts us, writes Cornell Belcher.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2141 GMT (0541 HKT)
Children living in the Syrian city of Aleppo watch the sky. Not for signs of winter's approach, although the cold winds are already blowing, but for barrel bombs.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
We're stuck in a kind of Middle East Bermuda Triangle where messy outcomes are more likely than neat solutions, says Aaron David Miller.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
In the midst of the fight against Islamist rebels seeking to turn the clock back, a Kurdish region in Syria has approved a law ordering equality for women. Take that, ISIS!
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says President Obama would be justified in acting on his own to limit deportations
ADVERTISEMENT