It is NFL Playoffs time again. Every weekend, the TV schedule is filled with several football games, and if you are like me, you will find that your Spouse/ Significant Other (henceforth known as SO) has now turned into a fixed attachment on the couch. All attempts to speak to said person or invitations to go out are futile.
SO will stare intently at the television screen, sitting completely motionless, making you wonder if you should check for a pulse. But just when you approach the couch, SO will leap in the air and utter a blood-curdling shriek. No, wild animals have not invaded your home. The Colts have just scored a touchdown.
Make no mistake, I am speaking as someone who loves sports. I love watching cricket and basketball and even football, NFL style. But I do object to spending all my weekends with the television set blaring at 200 decibels and a SO-turned-couch accessory who gives me periodic heart attacks.
What to do in such a situation? It would be great if SO’s team lost in the Playoffs, but sometimes even that does not help. SO will continue to watch other teams.
I am sure I am not alone. There are millions suffering silently like me. So, to all of you suffering millions (or at least the lucky ones who read this blog), I am going to disclose the 7 strategies I have devised to survive the Playoffs.
Basically, the aim is to make sure SO loses all interest in NFL football, or atleast in watching the Playoffs. (If there are any SOs reading this, now is your cue to stop reading and go away).
The modus operandi is devilishly simple – watch the game with SO. Express great interest in learning the finer points of the game. Then, proceed to start unveiling the strategies one after another.
The Seven Strategies for Surviving NFL Playoffs:
1. Make stupid comments.
This one is the easiest and does not need any practice. Some examples are –
“Great! The runningback got sacked !!”
Follow up question: “What, only quarterbacks get sacked ? Why is it just a tackle when the runningback gets sacked ?”
“How can they kick a field goal immediately after a touchdown ?” (Hint: It’s the extra point.)
“Why do they call it football anyway ? Shouldn’t it be called throwball or holdball ?”
2. Interrupt with celebrity gossip.
Some examples are – “I don’t like the Patriots because Tom Brady left his pregnant girlfriend.”
“Did you hear the latest about Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson ?”
“Do you know, Randy Moss has been charged with battering his girlfriend ?”.
This strategy involves a little more active effort. But the material is readily available in all newspapers and magazines. Plus, football players provide continuous fodder for this.
For best effect, this strategy should be used just when the player in question is making an important play.
3. Ask lots of questions – after all you are trying to understand the finer points of the game.
“Does a sneeze constitute a false start ?”
“In how many ways can you rough the passer ?”
“How does the referee decide it is ‘unnecessary roughness’ ?”
This is actually a valid question. I mean, in a sport where players ram into each other, lift one another bodily and bash each other all the time, which of the roughness is “necessary” and which is “unnecessary” ?
4. Learn useless trivia about the game and unleash it at strategic moments.
For instance, when the referee is announcing a game-changing penalty, you can say something like –
“Shall I tell you why referees wear those striped uniforms that look like prisonwear ?”
5. Share your thoughts and expert opinions. Aren’t your opinions important too ?
Comment on the way the referee announces penalties. Compare with cricket umpires and how much better they look.
Comment on the players’ uniforms. Bright Purple ? Really ? And those tigers’ stripes ? What’s with those super-tight pants ?
6. Comment on the nomenclature:
“Why do they call him a tight end ?
“Does the runningback have to run backwards ?”
“Did Michael Vick invent the pooch kick ?”
“The nose guard is a guy ?!!!”
7. Come up with conspiracy theories :
“This game is fixed ! They should look into who took the money !”
“The defensive lineman is on steroids !” Who knows, you may even turn out to be right.
No doubt, your SO will not like this constant interruption. He/ she is likely to rave, rant and threaten bodily harm.
Stay calm. Put on your most innocent expression and explain that you are actually very interested in understanding the game. How else can you share the SO’s enthusiasm for the game ?
SO will retreat, completely baffled.
Lather, Rinse and Repeat every weekend. From long experience, I can predict that the outcome will be one of these scenarios:
Scenario 1: The SO will give up watching football in sheer resignation and agree to go out for a movie/ shopping/ do whatever you want;
Scenario 2: SO will decide to leave the home and watch the rest of the game in a bar (or threaten to do so);
Scenario 3: SO will run off to friends’ places on weekends.
Of course, Scenarios 2 and 3 are less-than-optimal solutions here, but they are better than the Base Case. And hey, even in these scenarios you get to watch your favorite weekend programs and relax at home without all that noise !
But if you really want to do it right, you should aim for Scenario 1. Then, you can say (silently to yourself), TOUCHDOWN !!!