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
December 25, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT)
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
ADVERTISEMENT