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Gallo Goes There: The Big Game Party Survival Guide

By DJ Gallo

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You’re invited!

What: Super Bowl Party

Wait. No. It’s not that. It’s definitely not that. Since the NFL is probably looking to make back some money on all the concussion lawsuit payouts, chances are they're feeling especially litigious this year. So we should probably call it a “Big Game” Party. What “big game” will be shown? Sunday’s Magic-Celtics game? No. Of course not. Seahawks-Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. It’s a Super Bowl Party. (But not officially.)

Not into football? No worries. Consider it an Ad-Watching Party. You remember ads? The things you had to watch during shows back before DVRs and on-demand video? Or the things you click-through after five seconds on YouTube? Them. Well, during the Super Bowl, people want to watch them. They just sit there on the couch, mouth agape, thinking: “Tell us what we should buy, large corporations of America. We wish to please you with our purchasing dollars.”

It’s amazing. Some of the ads are pretty funny, though. For example, there are often animals that talk. And there are people who fall down and/or get hit in the crotch. Madison Avenue clearly has a monopoly on America’s most creative minds. Chances are that Super Bowl ads are what inspire all of Adam Sandler’s movie ideas.

Not big on football or corporate messaging? Then consider yourself invited to a Bruno Mars Concert Party! He’s going to play all his hits at halftime, from the one about falling on a grenade to the one about getting locked out of heaven. He’s kind of a downer.

And if all that isn’t enticing for you, then consider yourself invited to A Random Mixing of the Host’s Friends, Family, Neighbors and Co-workers Party! Conversation might be a bit awkward. Sorry. But here are some suggested small talk topics to help break the ice: football, your favorite corporate brands, and if the current Bruno Mars song sounds exactly like the previous Bruno Mars song or if he is just maybe singing one really long song that changes slightly every four minutes.

When: Sunday, February 2nd, at 6:25 p.m. ET

Kickoff is scheduled for 6:25 p.m. At least, that’s what they say. But chances are that 6:25 will roll around and it will just be some talking heads doing the 14,719,248th game preview of the past two weeks. (So much new information to share!) And then the national anthem. Who knows how long that will go. Some people sing it quick and straight. Others add a few minutes to it by singing up and down the scale and doing random boy band-style flourishes. This year’s anthem is being sung by Renée Fleming, so who knows what to expect. She is being accompanied by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, which is a real thing. I checked. Maybe someone will play a wrong note and then get beaten by a cello. It’s worth tuning in just for that.

Anyway, you have to think that the game will kickoff by 6:45 at the latest if they’re saying 6:25. So be there by 6:45 if you want to see all of the game, but 8 p.m. could work, too. Who knows.

You’re more than welcome to come early to watch some of the pregame show, but the pregame show essentially started two weeks ago so please be reasonable. You can show up an hour or so early. That’s fine. But don’t drop in on Saturday morning and say: “I’m here to watch the pregame show.” No. Go away.

Also, realize that when you arrive at the Super Bowl Pa- … Big Game Party determines where you get to sit to watch the game. Show up an hour early and you’ll have one of the few prime couch/recliner seats. Roll in at 9:00 p.m. and you’ll be craning your neck for glimpses of the TV from the kitchen. And no stealing seats from people when they get up to get food or use the bathroom! That’s a jerk move.

Who: You and a Few Friends

Again, though, to be honest: the party will be you and a few of the host’s close friends. Not your close friends. The host may also extend an invite to his boss and some neighbors, people you definitely don’t know. And someone will no doubt bring their kid(s), too. Now you’ve got some 7-year-old spilling Kool-Aid on you and a baby with a smelly diaper crawling around. Party!

It’s probably best to down a few beers right when you get there to take the edge off a little bit. Just don’t overdo it, please, because then you’re suddenly the drunk at the Super Bowl party, slurring his words and spilling beer on a 7-year-old. I mean, it’s a Sunday night. Who gets drunk on a Sunday night? Have some dignity.

What to Bring: One food item or beverage

Bring something you think you’d like to eat or drink because the other options will be hit-or-miss. There will be chips and three different kinds of salsa: a nasty slurry that comes from a jar; a homemade salsa that is way too heavy on the onions; and a delicious homemade salsa that will be completely eaten within 20 minutes.

Some guy will no doubt make his “famous chili.” It’s fine. Good, even. But famous? Please. This guy clearly hasn’t eaten a lot of great chili. Just go along with it, though. For whatever reason, he’s really proud of his chili. His self-worth seems to be tied up in it. Tell him the chili is great and you’ll have a friend for life.

There will be a few batches of store-bought cupcakes with football designs on them. They will be palatable. There may also be a “special” batch of brownies available. You know, in honor of Denver and Seattle being in the Super Bowl. Please don’t let any of the kids get near them.

Beyond that there will be random finger foods. Foods that the kids can easily get to. Who knows where their hands have been. Gross.

As for beverages, soda and cheap beer will be plentiful.

Eat up. You can get around to starting that diet and workout regimen you were going to start after the holidays after the Super Bowl.

RSVP: By phone, text or e-mail ASAP

Does anyone actually RSVP to things anymore? Or is that just something you put on an invitation to make it look official?

Show up or don't.

It’s going to be a blast.

DJ Gallo is the founder of and has written for, ESPN The Magazine, The Onion and Comedy Central. He has appeared on SportsCenter, ESPNews, and G4 and is a frequent radio guest and published author. Follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloEtc, @sportspickle and @thatdjgallo.

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