Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest American sporting (and social) events of the year. Not one to miss out on any fun, you've accepted the invitation to your friend's house party.
But here's the catch: You don't know a thing about football. If your palms are already sweating at the prospect of struggling through hours of conversation about pigskins and fourth-down conversions, take a deep breath. SI has your back with our handy guide on how to BS your way through a Super Bowl party. Seriously, follow these steps and your friends will never realize you just came for the buffalo chicken dip.
1. Know the basics
The Patriots are from New England and are playing the Falcons from Atlanta. The Falcons' quarterback is Matt Ryan. The Patriots' quarterback is Tom Brady (if you didn't know that one, you might be beyond help). The Patriots have been very good for a long time and have won four Super Bowls. The Falcons have not been very good and have never won it.
2. Learn a fun fact
Once you've mastered the basics, it's time to learn something new. Something the rest of the party likely isn't privy to so you sound hip and in-the-know. It doesn't even have to be football related. Did you know that the coffee table book of photos of Tom Brady's supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen sold for $700? No? Guess you haven't been paying close enough attention. (Insert smug facial expression here).
3. Pick a team
It's vitally important that you pick a side and have valid reasoning to support your choice. There is no quicker way to lower your football cred than saying, "I like the Falcons because their uniforms are cooler," or "I'm rooting for the Patriots because I think Tom Brady is dreamy." Instead, say something like, “I'm going with the Patriots because another Super Bowl win would cement Bill Belichick’s legacy as one of the best coaches of all time.” Or even something as simple as, “I’m rooting for the Falcons because they're the underdog." No one will suspect you secretly don't care who wins.
4. Practice the art of delayed cheering
If you've ever faked interest in a sporting event before, you know how this works. Start cheering (or groaning) just a little after everyone else, so as to properly gauge the level of emotion necessary before joining in. If you're feeling really confident, you can also start yelling, "Where's the flag?!" after every play. Football fans love to complain, so you'll fit right in.
5. Select your seat strategically
Chances are you don't want to be seated front and center on the couch if you don't really know what you're talking about. Consider choosing a seat off to the side where you won't be noticed too much for falling silent or missing a cheering opportunity. Huge plus if that seat is next to someone knowledgeable who will take pity on your plight and allow you to subtly whisper questions if you get really confused. If such a person isn't available to you, Google is your best bet. Just tell your friends you're texting your mom, but don't blame us if they still make fun of you.
6. Comment on the commercials
Everyone loves the commercials, and the great news is you won't need a lick of football knowledge to fully participate in these conversations. Another sly trick is to time your bathroom breaks during the actual game with the excuse that you don't want to miss any of the commercials.
7. Create a diversion
Talk about The Bachelor. Talk about politics. Bonus points if you can bring up the sports connections between Aaron Rodgers and The Bachelor or Brady and Donald Trump. Four-plus hours is a long time to fill with chatter about something you don’t know much about, and eventually you’re going to run out of fun facts.
8. Wait until the fourth quarter to get drunk
Give yourself some time to tactically build rapport with your football fan friends, but by the fourth quarter you can feel free to let loose and blame the brews for any dumb things you say.
9. Eat messy food
If you were looking for an excuse to stuff your face with cheeseburgers or more buffalo chicken dip than usual, here it is. It’s tough to answer a question about whether you believe passer rating is a useful metric to measure talent when your mouth is full of masticated beef. Be messy enough with your food and eventually people will give up on peppering you with questions.
10. Say you hate Roger Goodell
That’s pretty much guaranteed to go over well, especially if your friends are Patriots fans.