It’s how you play the game

Published 10:43 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Buffalo Bills haven’t been near a Super Bowl in 15 years and aren’t getting back to another one as long as Bill Belichick’s a Patriot.

This is primarily due to the fact that the long-running joke about Super Bowl commercials being more interesting than the actual Super Bowl game is dead.

When the big game’s a big blowout, it’s easy to find entertainment and conversation starters in commercials, the halftime show and waiting for a defensive lineman to drop a four-letter word in the middle of what he and his agent meant to be the perfect clip for the “I’m going to Disney World!” ad.

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It’s also easy to label Super Bowl Sunday “overhyped” as, say, for instance, a Browns fan.

Maybe seeing the Browns in the big game sometime in the next few decades would increase my excitement about reveling in every minute of an eight-hour pregame show. Along those lines, I can give diehard Steelers and Packers fans a pass here.

Normally, though, watching the full pregame show and making the buffet an effective tripleheader has to mean illness and, worse yet, the need for a nap around 6:15 p.m. It’ll make work on Monday morning worse than usual, too.

Whether at a party, and whether that party is a home or an away game, having a solid routine prior to kickoff is critical to enjoying the game. It might well be important to keeping a simple football fan in the clear for watching the game.

Going to a party? Have to be courteous? Rather just sit and watch the game? Clock management leads to victory. Use the pregame, timeouts and halftime wisely.

Pacing caloric, let alone alcoholic, intake is more vital for strictly social Super Bowl fans.

Alone stretched out on the couch, snoring away the whole second half is fine. Every play will be replayed on Sportscenter later Sunday night or Monday morning. No one will ever know the difference. At a party, though, this behavior is frowned upon.

Watching the halftime show only results in dead brain cells, so it’s a good half-hour window to be a polite guest, make a significant other happy and set yourself up for an easy second half.

Finally — and depending on your surroundings, this could range from difficult to impossible — this might be hard to believe, but in quite odd circumstances, it’s okay to turn off the Super Bowl. I’ve done it before. I’m still here to talk about it.

If it’s 31-7 after the third quarter, it’s legal to change the channel, turn the TV off, walk the dog, get an extra hour of sleep or whatever.

The final point for keeping Super Bowl Sunday a good holiday on the social and sports calendar is having a designated driver or another good plan come the end of the game. Super Bowl Sundays have grown to rival New Year’s Eves in regard to drunken traffic accidents, so plan ahead there as well.

You wouldn’t want to miss the Browns making the game next year, now would you?