The year was 2007. A small suburb outside the city of Toronto would host the greatest Super Bowl party of all time. We talked about it for days in advance. Frank — not his real name — had promised us the world in exchange for a small fee of $10. Food, drinks, and a large television that would feature Peyton Manning’s quest for Super Bowl glory. Prince was performing at halftime. Prince! Nothing could go wrong.
Unfortunately it did. Frank’s brother (FB) and his band of misfits showed up minutes before kickoff. They weren’t football fans, but they needed a place to party. FB and his girlfriend had a falling out during the first quarter — somebody forgot the drugs — and chose the front of the room for their skirmish. We missed Reggie Wayne’s 53-yard TD grab. It went downhill from there. Pizza went unaccounted for, the alcohol “ran out” at half time, and Mushin Muhammad was the target of a bizarre pro America hate speech by one of FB’s friends.
Choosing the right Super Bowl party is one of the most important decisions you’ll make before Sunday. Some of you have prepared well in advance — congratulations, jerk. For the rest, this guide will serve as a road map to Super Bowl salvation. All hosts are not created equal. The following is what to avoid.
1) Intransigent Destiny’s Child fan
I’m a Beyonce supporter. After parting ways with Destiny’s Child, the Houston native has achieved mega stardom. Jay-Z’s better half will perform at halftime this year. Unfortunately, the rumor mill reports B will reunite with her old band mates, Kelly Rowland and…and..the other one in New Orleans. Destiny’s Child zealots are an unhinged group as it is. No sane individual deserves to be subjected to “will they or won’t they” speculation for two quarters. If your host has “Say My Name” on vinyl, it’s time to find a new party.
2) The bitter fan
Baltimore and San Francisco have their enemies. Piano backed vignettes featuring Ray Lewis, the Harbaugh brothers, and Colin Kaepernick are enough to annoy anyone. That said, some are more prone to losing their cool. Mainly, I’m talking about Steelers fans. James Harrison isn’t playing on Sunday. Neither is Big Ben, and nobody gives a damn about Franco Harris or Jerome Bettis this weekend. Stay away if your invitation to Sunday’s party had a disturbing amount of yellow and black in its color scheme. Find somewhere else to watch the game or risk four hours of conversation that will feature at least 14 Ray Lewis is a murderer references.
3) Automated sports bar
If you have reservations at a sports bar with hundreds of TVs, so be it. For those of you who don’t, avoid your local big box establishment unless you relish hating yourself. Packed quarters, overpriced beer, and that one guy who is hammered three minutes after kickoff are guaranteed. The staff will be overworked, as dealing with drunken rubes is tiring. You probably won’t see your server for an hour. The really drunk guy will make the bathroom uninhabitable after one too many shots of jager. A Bills fan will create a cone of sadness at the bar, regaling fellow patrons with tales of woe. Friends don’t let friends watch the Super Bowl at Jack Astor’s.
Family functions are where sporting experiences go to die. The cousin you haven’t seen in five years just got back from Mexico, and boy does she have some stories to tell. That important series in the fourth quarter? Forget it. Check out these pics from the best resort in the Mayan Riviera.
5) A 49ers or Ravens fan
Gambling aside, most of us don’t have a horse in this race. This Bills fan doesn’t wish Super Bowl heartache on anyone. If your party is hosted by a fan of Baltimore or San Francisco, you may want to make other plans. It can go one of two ways. Their team wins, beginning an excruciatingly long celebration, chalk full of tears and “nobody believed in us” rhetoric. Or their team loses, inducing a painful mourning period consisting of Morrissey and Robert Smith jockeying for time on the sound system. When told it’s only a game the host will lash out, hurling the bean dip to the ground. Everyone loses.
We evolve by learning from our mistakes. Leave your Super Bowl party horror stories in the comments below, and remember, it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.