Etiquette for watching football

John Kelley

Last Sunday, while watching football with my roommates, we decided to do something spectacular that had never been tried before: sit through an entire halftime with Jim Nance without falling asleep! On top of that, however, we also elected to create a list of mandatory rules for men to follow when viewing football games. Many of the rules, understood but unwritten, constitute standard male football etiquette, however, we took the liberty of putting them on paper. So, copy these puppies down and pass ’em out to everyone in your dorm, because we expect them to be strictly adhered to starting next week.

Remember, no matter where you are viewing the game, always wear your favorite teams apparel. Whether they are actually playing is unimportant. All pregame music will be hard rock. Save light rock and techno for gymnastics and figure skating. When your team scores, you must participate in some form of ritualistic chest bump, handshake, high five, or head-butt created by you and your buddies. The more dangerous the better. Cursing is a necessity when the opposing team makes a good play. Lowering your head or holding your head in your hands is also optional. Crying, however, is never acceptable. That is to be done later, when you’re alone.

Furthermore, screaming at the television is completely normal and quite helpful. Remember, if you yell loud enough, the quarterback might just hear you. Also, one man should never single-handedly eat all of the nachos and dip. If he does, he’s buying more at halftime. Nachos and salsa or chips and dip are acceptable snacks. Shrimp, however, is not! Nothing diet is to be consumed during football games. Real men drink Coke, not Diet Coke. They drink Bud, not Bud Light. Loud belching is acceptable if no females are present. If they are, then only quiet belching.

Additionally, absolute silence is required for all new or funny commercials. Sometimes, they’re better than the game itself. Do not try to recreate great plays in your living room. There’s a reason why you’re watching the game and not playing in it. You may degrade or poke fun at others, as long as they are not present or are Raider fans. Never, ever, bad-mouth a viewing member’s girlfriend unless she is impeding upon the group’s viewing pleasure. Feel free to verbally assault the game’s announcer and color coordinator. However, leave the sideline reporter alone. Especially if she’s cute.

Finally, bear in mind, comments concerning Chris Berman’s receding hairline are funny. Comments about Terry Bradshaw’s substance-abuse problems, however, are not. Insulting highly-paid players is fine. Insulting underpaid backups is not. No cheap, corny, overused comments about cheerleaders. Creative comments, however, (especially one’s using the words pom poms) are welcome! At halftime, talk about cars, jobs, fights, and girls is acceptable. Sharing your feelings, however, is not. Only bring up your football “playing days” if everyone in the room played on the same team and is willing to reminisce as a group. If not, then shut up, nobody cares. Also, no Pop Warner stories. Everyone played Pop Warner and it was more like human pinball then actual football. Finally, don’t bring up a serious topic or issue during the game. Nobody cares. Relax. You can worry about your unpaid gambling debts to a mobster named “Bubba” after the game has concluded.

There you have it. The 20 formerly unwritten rules of football viewing.