Guest Columnist: Slices of Life: Big game, bigger commercials

Jill Pertler

It’s the time of year when the term “F-word” takes on a whole new meaning. Especially if, like me, you reside in a home with a bunch of football fanatics.

For most of the season, their fervor doesn’t impact me. I leave them to their games on the big screen (with booming surround sound) and find myself a nice crime or home improvement show on the small TV upstairs. (Or maybe take a nap.)

It’s not that I don’t understand or appreciate football. I do. I can provide an audible definition for terms like false start, face mask and flea flicker. I know a first down is better than a fourth down, but not as good as a touchdown, and they call it the line of scrimmage for a reason. I am familiar with the yellow hanky (which is not used for blowing one’s nose) and know the final two minutes of the game can last as long as the entire first half. At least it seems that way.

Football 101 – I’ve got it hands down. However, understanding and being a devoted follower of a sport are two different things. For 11 out of 12 diehard fans, my brutal honesty may be deflating. Please don’t tackle me. I’m sorry. I can’t help the candor – or the bad jokes.

There are just too many games, too many quarterbacks and too many team balls to keep straight during the regular season. I prefer a simpler approach, which involves watching and paying attention to pro football once the really good commercials start airing – a couple of weeks before the Super Bowl, or in technical football terms, during playoffs.

What’s not to love about a clever and well-crafted 30-second ad that costs millions? A bigwig over at Nielson ratings said that close to 50 percent of viewers are as interested in the Super Bowl commercials as the game itself. I’m not the only person who acknowledges there are few things in life as cute and cuddly as a Clydesdale – and the only real question is how they plan to tug at our heartstrings this year. (Can’t wait!)

Besides savoring the commercials like they are nacho cheese chips, I like to announce the team I’m rooting for. I decide during warm-ups and base it on uniforms – or more specifically which team is wearing the flashiest, splashiest colors. I also provide nonstop, insightful and delightful commentary during important plays, which is unappreciated by my husband and sons. My utter disregard for “the game” drives them crazy, and that’s mostly why I do it. They should be grateful for my presence at the biggest competition of the year. Things could be worse; I could be in attendance the entire season. I hope they appreciate that.

Despite my more than adequate grasp of the rules of the sport where men basically try to pummel one another over a piece of leather, I don’t get a ton of football respect.

My boys fail to comprehend my sportalistic abilities. When I challenge their opinions, they remind me sports is my worst category in Trivia Crack. Then they go on to recite facts and figures regarding every Super Bowl winner from 1995 to present without having to look it up on Google. They watch not only professional football, but all the college games, and know which players will likely be drafted in each round by whatever team next spring – or at least they know enough to argue about it incessantly. Their statistics could fill a stadium and they consider me something less than a football rookie.

Perhaps I am. But that could change. I might develop an undeniable passion for the gridiron and be found on any given Sunday in front of the big TV wearing my favorite team jersey, spouting statistics while armed with expert awareness and comprehension regarding which teams are playing, current standings and who’s leading the league in rushing, passing, interceptions and tackles. It’s possible. Yeah, sure it is. When pigskin flies.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. She writes a weekly column for The Logan Daily News. Her views may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.