Friday, January 31, 2014

The Super Bowl party guests you'll try to avoid

A version of this column first appeared in The Dallas Morning News and on DallasNews.com. Please check out the site.
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Some may dispute whether the Cowboys are “America’s team,” but the Super Bowl is certainly “America’s game.” During the decisive final minutes of last year’s Super Bowl XLVII, when once again the Cowboys had the day off, an estimated 114 million people were watching.

Or at least their TV sets were tuned to the game. I’m sure some people had left the room, or were hitting the buffet table, or were lying on the couch, nodding off under nacho-smeared paper plates.


Because that’s what Super Sunday is really about, you know. The Super Bowl parties. The annual XL celebration of Americana, featuring good friends, humongous televisions and a chance to combine buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks and football-shaped cupcakes on the same plate.

There’s also a football game, of course. And that creates one of the most interesting aspects of Super Bowl parties: the mingling of hard-core fans with those who think bump-and-run coverage refers to car insurance.

If party attendees were displayed in a pie chart – a Butterfinger or Snickers pie, perhaps? -- the largest slices would be for those who don’t stand out in the crowd. But a few slivers would be reserved for some of these characters you’ll find Sunday:

The Superfan
Usually found near the 50-yard line of the television room and often wearing an authentic jersey, The Superfan overreacts to everything and demands awkward high-fives. He (or she) will scream “come on!” and “you’ve got to be kidding!” after a first-quarter play that will only be remembered as the moment when kids at the party no longer felt safe.
Aliases: Maniac, Guy with the Rash from the Body Paint
Common acquaintances: The Embarrassed Wife

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The Questioner
Many people at Super Bowl parties know little about football, but few seek education during the biggest game of the year. During a dramatic moment in the game, the Questioner is known to throw out “does anyone ever run into the field-goal post?” and “why do they call it football when they don’t kick the ball very much?”
Aliases: Ask.com, The Student
Common acquaintances: The Distracted Husband

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The Genius
It defies logic, but each of the millions of Super Bowl parties includes one person who knows more about football than anyone else in the world. The Genius spouts clich├ęs such as “you’ve got to be able to run the ball” and “defense wins championships,” and is both amused by other fans’ lack of knowledge and frustrated by coaches who don’t have a better understanding of the game.
Aliases: Chief, Professor
Common acquaintances: The Guy Who Says He Wins His Office Pool Every Year

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The Downer
This person could be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when pointing out that “those fat guys look really unhealthy” and “I bet that’s another concussion right there … so dangerous.” The Downer is also famous for reminding others, especially those who show any kind of emotion, that “it’s just a game.”
Aliases: Dark Cloud, Person Sitting Alone
Common Acquaintances: The Person who Brought the Cauliflower and Nonfat Dip

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The Could’ve Been
He has a room full of trophies from youth football and was darn near a legend at a high school with no verifiable football history. If not for a nagging shoulder or knee injury, and a lack of talent that goes unmentioned, The Could’ve Been was headed for big-time college football. He might’ve even had a shot at the pros.
Aliases: Storyteller, Dreamer
Common Acquaintances: The Nodding Buddy Who Believes Everything

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The Talker
With an ability to socialize about anything, The Talker is great for 99 percent of parties. He or she is even valuable during the ridiculously long Super Bowl pregame show. But once the game starts, the trouble begins. The Talker is like a human version of the VH1 show “Pop-Up Video,” with a nugget of info on everything: the clever commercials, the halftime show and even last month’s polar vortex.
Aliases: Talk-a-thon, Comments R Us
Common Acquaintances: Everyone. There’s really no escape.

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