Super Bowl

Posted: Sunday, February 07, 2010

Today is the big day, the day we've been waiting for in eager anticipation for the past year: it is SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! This is the day when the two best professional football teams the country meet to lock in gridiron combat to decide who will reign as champions for a year.

Legions of fans will gather in groups for the annual festival. There will be chips! There will be dips! There will be those little weenies in barbecue sauce! There will be nachos! There will be meatballs marinated in teriyaki sauce! There will be chorizo wrapped in puff pastry! There will be cheese on crackers! There will be chilidogs smothered in onions! There will be beer and gallons of soda flowing freely to wash it all down! And somewhere, amidst the festival of finger foods, there will be a football game cleverly inserted between the best commercials of the year.

Super Bowl Sunday is one of those events that is best experienced in groups. Some say camaraderie is what makes the game so special. That it is people sharing a common interest in a sport that makes the event more thrilling. Shared enthusiasm, so the logic goes, brings an extra excitement to the occasion where energy from one fan feeds off another to create an electricity to the occasion. If asked, most people would say watching the game alone is a sad and pathetic way to experience it because the excitement is lacking.

To that, I say "bunk!" The real reason people gather in groups to watch the Super Bowl is because it affords the opportunity for a much more diverse selection of munchies. It's not hard to deduce that it's called SUPER BOWL SUNDAY not so much as a description of the sporting event, but more along the lines of a description of the vessels needed to hold all the cheese dip, guacamole, chili and other goodies.

Quick! In less than three seconds, state who played in last year's game, and who won. I rest my case.

Will anybody remember who, and on which team the person played, made the longest run-back in the history of the Super Bowl? Was it last year? How long was it? Only rabid fans are going to have that information readily at the tips of their tongues, the average Joe (or Josephine, since many women get into the Super Bowl Sunday thing) that hung out last year with their friends won't remember the play.

They will, however, vividly remember how Burt got so excited watching it, that he started jumping up and down and dumped a perfectly good bowl of guacamole on the floor, effectively creating a complete imbalance of corn chips to dips. A number of people were left to eat their corn chips dry. DRY for crying out loud! And that's to say nothing of the tacos, tostados and chalupas that went without benefit of guacamole. (Burt will be watching the Super Bowl by himself this year, thank you very much.)

Let's face facts: Super Bowl is to adult finger food fans what Halloween is to adolescent sugar addicts. On Super Bowl Sunday, it's all about the food, and as with the game itself, the consumption of Super Bowl food has rules to keep the event civil.

The following is a short list of the most common calls made around the snack table.

OFFSIDES: This infraction occurs when someone slides an hors d'oeuvre directly from the serving platter into their mouth. This is a five-chip penalty.

DELAY OF GAME: Standing in front of the snack table, blocking access by other fans, for more than a minute while trying to decide what to pile on a plate. This is a five pig-in-a-blanket penalty.

UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS: Elbowing someone out of the way to grab the last Cheese Nip will garner a loss of two dips penalty, and give the offended party first choice of whatever is on the snack table.

PASS INTERFERENCE: Snagging all the goodies off the serving platter as it is being passed to someone else. This is a ten chip, or five dip scoop penalty.

FALSE START: At any other food event, it would be called "double-dipping" from a common bowl. Serious offenders are expelled from the game.

CLIPPING: Reaching around someone from behind in an effort to snag the last item on a platter. This is a serious offense, and results in loss of possession.

HOLDING: Taking the last of a popular snack, and then not eating it, leaving it to sit on your plate in plain view.

FIRST DOWN: This happens when the first gooey food item falls to the carpet. It is not a penalty item, unless followed by INTENTIONAL GROUNDING, which occurs when the person responsible for the FIRST DOWN steps on it in an effort hide it from the host.

ILLEGAL PROCEDURE: A minor infraction where the guacamole spoon is used to serve up cheese dip. Most officials simply overlook this one.

PERSONAL FOUL: Tasting something, then putting it back in the serving bowl, or licking a serving spoon will get you thrown out of the game.

Here's to the Super Bowl! Go... uh... whoever.

A.E. Poynor lives in Kenai.

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