The Super Bowl is coming up, so I’m going to take a break from bench pressing and watch it. In terms of viewership, it ranks as one of the highest, despite Kim Jong Un’s insistence that video of him resurrecting dinosaurs with his mind ranks the highest.
I joke, of course. Kim Jong Un usually spends Super Bowl Sunday recalibrating his cannons. These cannons, of course, are the ones he uses to execute people who fall asleep when he complains about the abnormally low number of marshmallows in his Lucky Charms.
But I digress.
I use Kim Jong Un as a pretense for talking about football. Because football is such an intricate sport (it’s basically live-action chess for people who aren’t wimps), it’s practically impossible to know everything there is to know about it. However, it is an ancient, sacred male tradition to try and acquire so much esoteric knowledge about football that one can be the alpha male at any gathering. I’d be lying if I said I was that alpha male, but I would not be lying if I said I’m really good at looking like I know what I’m talking about when it comes to football.
I have a lot of friends who know way more about football than I do, and that’s been a constant source of embarrassment for me. However, I quickly learned that making grunting noises at the correct intervals causes people to interpret those grunts as either primal confirmation that I know what they’re talking about or as symptoms of impending brain damage. Either way, it’s kept me socially safe and has only resulted in a few dozen angry ambulance drivers.
Seriously, those football conversations get intense. I remember one that started as a dispute over who was the best quarterback. Five minutes later everyone was arguing about the various stages of the quarterback’s embryonic development. Then one friend insisted he was born a day after his due date while another was steadfastly maintaining that it was three days after. The argument came to a close when the “three day” friend claimed (and verified via the interwebs) that not only was he born three days after, but he was also a C-section and born in the same hospital as a restaurant cook’s friend’s sister’s cousin’s fourth grade teacher who once saw Tom Brady inflating football-shaped balloons at a party he wasn’t invited to (plot twist: Kim Jong Un is actually an underinflated football).
Keeping up with such conversations it tiresome, so a typical remedy is for people to disagree on even more stuff while consuming beer for several hours. Eventually, everyone forgets what football even is and starts wondering why they’ve been eating Cheetos out of a dog bowl.
Believe it or not, there are some people who aren’t as educated in the aspects of football, so some of the occurrences during the game might confuse them. Although if you start talking about football with people outside of the United States, they tend to get agitated and talk about soccer for some bizarre reason.
Rather than break down every aspect of the sport, I want to focus on the most important part: the commentary. Commentaries usually involved two retired football players who stand in a booth and do their very best to compete for the “who can point out the obvious in the most serious tone of voice” award. Either that or finding the smallest excuse to show off their own knowledge of football trivia. “You know, Bill, Andrew Jacobson is actually the fifth player born in a two-story house to catch an interception thrown by a quarterback who was born in a split level without a garage.”
“That’s right Tom, but Andrew Jacobson also has the distinction of buying all of his shoes at the same store as Terry Bradshaw. Size 14.”
But the best commentator moments come after an injury. When a player is injured, the network cuts to a slow-motion video of a player’s leg snapping like a pretzel, making sure to show it twenty or thirty times just to make sure everyone can accurately remember the number of inches it stuck out (you can guarantee it’ll pop up in a debate later—no pun intended). One of the commentators will invariably say something like, “He might have hurt his leg there. That might make it difficult for him to continue playing as running back. You know he’s the twenty-first running back to snap that specific bone on an option play in a city that has four vowels in it.”
The other commentator will chime in, saying, “The reminds me of my tenth concussion. I really like eating porridge.”
Eventually a golf cart comes out to take the player to the hospital while people in the stands cheer that the player isn’t dead.
Later, another commentator down on the field will swoop in before halftime and ask the coaches thought-provoking questions that yield equally thought-provoking responses. Here is a modest example:
Commentator: So, coach, it’s halftime and you’re down 48-0. What do you think you need to tell your team?
Coach: Well, we just have to start executing and getting more points on the board. Once we can stop them from scoring and start scoring ourselves, we’ll be able to turn this thing around. We just have to keep playing football.
Commentator: Thanks coach always a pleasure. You really need to write a book.
If you happen to miss that pre-halftime interview, just watch every football game played since the beginning of time, and you’ll not only wish you had done something else, but you’ll realize that every coach says that. Still, if you can notice a pause or a slightly different word, you’ll be able to one-up everyone else when it comes to football trivia.