Pedersen on Sports

Looking for ways to improve your Super Bowl party? How about low-stakes gambling and booze?

This Sunday I'm going to a Super Bowl party."

That statement is one of the most common phrases in this country at this time of year, but for most of you uttering it, there's not much excitement in your voice.

While the Super Bowl is annually the most-watched television event in America, most partygoers, if surveyed on the topic, would probably gauge their interest as somewhere between fleeting and "There's a game on?"

Super Bowl parties aren't about the game itself, which this year pits the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks in a battle of teams from the only two states in America where recreational marijuana is legal.

Coincidence? I think not.

But I digress ... (Sorry, got ... distracted. And now I'm hungry.)

Anyway, most of us will be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, and whether you're a diehard fan of one team or of the game itself, or you are watching the game as an act of irony— Tucson is, apparently, a haven for hipsters— there's much more to the experience than just seeing who wins.

To that end, I give you my Super Bowl Party Boredom Survival Guide, a handy set of options to keep you entertained and occupied all afternoon and evening, from the way-too-long pregame show all the way to the final impactful statement by a talking head after the winner has been crowned.

Super Bowl Squares. Massive sporting events like this one often are a huge source of gambling, whether it be the legal kind through Vegas sportsbooks, the illegal kind through online sites, or shady friends who know a guy who knows a guy, or various little individual bets.

Or through squares games.

It's a simple concept: Create a board with 100 squares and have people pick (usually after ponying up some cash) a square and write their name in. Once the board is filled, you randomly put the numbers zero through nine along the top and left sides of the board. This gives each square a value, with (for instance) the box's column number representing the last digit in the Broncos' score and the row representing the Seahawks' tally.

If your square matches the score at various times in the game—the most common format is after each quarter, but hard-core games track each and every change in score, including between a touchdown and an extra point—you win. The amount of the prize depends on how you set up the game and how much is on the line.

There's even a kid-friendly (or cheapskate-friendly) version where you can have people pick squares free, and give out nominal gifts if their square has the right numbers. When I hosted a small party with more kids than adults, we gave out candy.

Drinking or Eating Games. If you actually do watch the game, there are plenty of ways to add some intrigue via various adult beverages and/or choice foodstuffs.

Depending on your stance on alcohol or binge-eating, not to mention your transportation home and your Monday responsibilities, there are any number of games-within-the-game that can force you to drink, chug, shoot, chew or swallow each time a particular event happens.

For example: Everyone picks an offensive or defensive lineman. Each time they're called for a penalty, you shotgun a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Another one: For each time announcers Joe Buck, Troy Aikman or any of the endless supply of sideline reporters or studio analysts spouts a cliché such as "at the end of the day" or "to be honest," or pointlessly attaches "obviously" or "of course" to a statement of fact, you've gotta eat a four-alarm hot wing or a habanero pepper.

Just make sure there are plenty of garbage cans, toilets and cleaning supplies available.

Commercials Critiques. Let's face it: In most years, the commercials that premiere during the Super Bowl are far better than what happens on the field. The game's result becomes a notation on Wikipedia, but none of us will ever be able to erase the image of swimsuit model Bar Refaeli making out with the splotchy nerd guy who seems to be in every commercial or TV show in need of a splotchy nerd guy.

Thanks for that burned-into-the-frontal-lobe memory, GoDaddy.

You can probably find a good deal of this year's commercials online, but it's more fun to watch them live, with friends, each person chiming in with an opinion about how awesome or pathetic the latest Bud Light or Doritos spot is.

Then, like the sheep we all are, we'll be buying those products in bulk on Monday.

Porn Tracker. This is a special Tucson-only item, as we were the only ones lucky enough to have gotten some ... bonus material a few years back when the Arizona Cardinals found themselves in the Super Bowl. Only a couple of thousand folks (including yours truly, who still is thankful the kids had grown bored and left the room) got to bear witness to some spliced footage from a program called Club Jenna that involved a large organ getting whipped out right after Larry Fitzgerald scored a touchdown.

It added a completely new meaning to the phrase "going deep."

So, if you've got a choice between watching the game in Tucson or going to a party in the Phoenix area, choose wisely.

Intermission Entertainment Pity Party. The Super Bowl halftime show is usually a who's who of who's that, often featuring acts that lost relevancy long ago and would be better served making their "comeback" attempt in a random commercial about goat farming M&M lovers or sex-crazed seniors who like to listen to hipster music while eating Taco Bell.

You could take turns throwing jabs at the bad lip-syncing during the halftime performance, or picking out oddly shaped background dancers who very likely are the niece or nephew of a Fox programming executive. Or you could try to guess which onstage performer is most likely to have a "wardrobe malfunction."

But considering that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are performing, the winner of the halftime game is too easy to predict: It's bassist Flea, in a landslide. He's sure to find a way to re-enact RHCP's famed Socks on Cocks performance.

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