Skip to main content

I hate, hate Super Bowl parties

By Jeff Pearlman, Special to CNN
updated 6:30 PM EST, Fri February 1, 2013
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
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
updated 12:25 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
updated 12:23 AM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
William McRaven
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
updated 10:43 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
updated 9:30 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT