Friday, February 1, 2008


An abridged version originally published on BlogCritics Magazine (

Dear NFL Patriots Giants Nielsen family Fans,

On Sunday, millions upon millions of Americans (and beyond) will take part in the unofficial national holiday called Super Sunday. The day, as you know, revolves around the biggest single-day televised event of the year, Super Bowl XLII. Besides the fact that this is the championship game of the National Football League, the Super Bowl is a social cauldron, if you will. The game huddles more people into homes across the country for one night than any major holiday, regardless of race, creed or income. The build up to the event is lengthy, but at 6:18 PM eastern standard time, the two weeks of hype and hope will culminate to what we hope is a game for the ages. There’s just one problem.

Some of you folks just don’t belong.

From the middle of the summer to the dead of the winter, football players, coaches, media and fans have prepared for this final night of action. For each team, there was training camp, four preseason games and sixteen regular season contests. Yet, the fans have prepared throughout the season as well. They follow the teams from the festive opening weekend to the final whistle of Week 17. When December becomes January, twelve teams embark into the second season; the league’s playoffs. These players and coaches are not only rewarded with the chance to become champions, but are redeemed for hard work and adversity from injuries and losing streaks to unexpected tragedies as the death of a teammate. When the playoffs begin, the football faithful are treated with four playoff games in each of January’s first weekends. Seemingly before we blink, twelve teams become eight and eight become four. These final four teams play for the conference championships and garner the attention of anyone that considers him or herself a NFL fan.

And then the NFC Championship Game ends.

The moment the winning team accepts the conference title, the hype machine begins. In addition to two weeks of over-analysis and jitters, there is a flood of news regarding everything that surrounds the game. The most talked about news revolves around which company will have a commercial during the game. And that’s most likely why some of you ‘fans’ are here. You don’t normally watch football unless one of the following occurs;
a) your significant other is hoarding the remote
b) your kids are hoarding the remote
c) you want to know who the heck is Tom Brady and why is TMZ talking about him (another letter for another day)

As much as most of us – this writer included – would rather that the reason you would come to our homes because you’re good company, we know better. We know that you are going to join us for Super Sunday because you want to see what Budweiser has to show us and you want free food. And that’s okay… to a point. On behalf of the football fans that have spent the last twenty weekends rearranging plans with the family, skipping out of church early or sacrificing a Friday night or two working overtime instead of on the weekend, we have some advice in order for you to have a hand in the fun.

There are plenty of you who come to the Super Bowl gatherings in order to eat someone else’s food. Maybe you didn’t get their fixes during the holidays or maybe you’re excusing yourself from dieting for one night, we don’t really know. Yet, we ask that if you are going to stock up food in your belly for ten full battalions that you at least donate something. More food or beverages would be great. Your dollars would be even better. Even a ‘thank you’ card in the mail would be a sign of appreciation. Yet, we ask that you remember that you do not treat our abodes like your own home; treat them like the White House. Be neat, be clean and please flush.

Some of you are here against your will. You might not like football because the person you are with is borderline-crazy about the game. Contrary to what you might think, you¹re still welcome. After all, someone has to take that drunken Patriots fan friend/relative/lover home. But we want you to enjoy yourself. There is likely a sane football fan in the room that you can talk to who would be a good sounding board to understand not only what is going on in the game, but why people care so much in the first place. You may become a fan or you may still hate the game. Yet you will have a deeper understanding for one of the country’s great passions. However, the rules for food apply to you as well. Do not eat because you’re bored; eat because you’re hungry.

There are those of you who are coming because it’s the biggest event of the year and you love football. The problem is that you don’t know a lick about the game and we know it. Now, we’re not asking you to name the offensive linemen of the 1958 Baltimore Colts. We’re not asking you how many Super Bowl rings John Madden won as a player (ZERO!) and we’re not asking about your fantasy team (which someone made for you, we bet). We are going to ask you to pick up a book to learn a bit more about the game before you step inside. Hey, there are a ton of fans that don’t have a clue either, so they can brush up on their knowledge. However, would you rather look like the smartest person in the room because you know four-yard completions help an offense move down the field or be embarrassed for screaming about ‘too many men on the field’… during warm-ups? There are few things more infuriating to any sports fan than the casual or non-fan who wants to puff his or her chest to fit in. Just as anything in life, learn the basics and let the rest come to you. Ask about what you are seeing and remember that football is about more than scoring points.

Finally, some of you are here for the 30-second commercials for which companies paid $3 million to air. You might be even more excited for them this year, given that the current writers¹ strike has compelled many of these companies to invest more money in these spots. We like the commercials as well, even though most ads do a poor job of selling the brands and products they are supposed to advertise. Commercials, themselves, have become entertainment, with kooky scenarios likened to sitcoms and some of your favorite celebrities lending their images and voices for dramatic effect. The ads may provide some laughs, but if you are still looking for entertainment because the ongoing writer’s strike has halted your favorite shows, look no further than the Super Bowl itself. The game is reality TV, drama, suspense and in some respects, comedy, all rolled into one. None of us know if the game will be good (Steelers/Seahawks, 2006), great (Titans/Rams, 2000) or horrendous (Broncos/Falcons, 1999). However, just like the last episode of The Sopranos, we fans tune in anyway just to see what happens. Still, if you¹re here just for the commercials, please understand that you shouldn¹t tie these ads to how good or bad the game is. Furthermore, the ads, as the games, may likely fail to live up to whatever hype non-sports media has built. Please focus on the game and not the newest version of Terry Tate.

There are only two things in life that unify people; death and the Super Bowl. While the former is rather depressing, the latter should be something for all of us to enjoy without feeling as if the game doesn’t matter. As much as we want the Patriots and Giants to give us a great battle, we understand that this is an event that can’t be missed. We know that the following Monday will be devoted to talking about the night before. We hope it’s for the right reasons and not because some car company thought a suicidal robot was funny… again.

The Super Bowl Hosts

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