The door swings open and the family greets its guests with warm smiles, hugs and the indulgent smells of ‘lil smokies, hot wings and homemade guacamole.
Their spots on the couches are saved as they pile food on their plates. The guests plunk themselves down into their seats and eagerly anticipate the upcoming showdown.
The Mannings’ home in Provo is one of many party locales dedicated to the most epic day of the year, centered on two teams in a showdown for glory, honor and another Lombardi trophy in the victor’s trophy case.
But what can you do to view the biggest game of ferocity and testosterone properly? What is necessary to experience the same adrenaline rush the players do? Super Bowl observance involves more than just falling into the recliner. Traditions, old and new, are essential to Super Bowl satisfaction.
Amy Manning said family traditions of revelry in football have led her to continue what her parents started.
“My dad always had just our family, but we always had tons of food,” Manning said. “We just took it one step further and have people come over.”
Last year for Super Bowl XLV, the Mannings even decorated their house in honor of the clash between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. They consider the Super Bowl almost as another Thanksgiving, rife with their “tradition of overeating.”
David Banks, a junior from Houston, studying political science, agrees with the Mannings.
“Food,” Banks said. “Food is essential to any party.”
The Mannings said they make lots of food for their parties. They spend the day cooking wings, ‘lil smokies, guacamole, salsa, meatballs and the list is growing. They look year after year for recipes to entertain their guests. Last year, they made a dessert pizza out of sugar cookie dough, apples, caramel and cream cheese. It’s one of the favorites at the Manning’s party amongst their platters of food. They say the party just isn’t the same without an abundance of food.
Even if you don’t watch the game or overindulge, Super Bowl commercials have to be enjoyed. From talking geckos pitching car insurance to dogs barking Star Wars music, they are fundamental to the experience. Todd Manning was in Iraq five years ago. He and his fellow soldiers would get DVD copies of the Super Bowl, but they wouldn’t get the commercials.
“It’s amazing how much you miss the commercials,” he said. “That was the one thing we asked for.”
Banks agrees; he enjoys the commercials the most.
“I always love watching the commercials, because they’re always hilarious, even if the game sucks,” Banks said.
If food and commercials, especially in Hi-Def and surround sound, are the cogs of your party, then family and friends are the grease that keep it going. Without a fun atmosphere, the party just isn’t the same. It’s like spaghetti without meatballs or Bill Belichick without Tom Brady. It just doesn’t work.
“Most people could care less about the game so much as the environment,” Banks said.
Todd Manning said it’s important to know who you are really rooting for. A little rivalry within the house leads to some interesting parties.
“It’s always fun to have someone here who’s against you,” Manning said.
The food’s in the oven, the commercials are starting, and the family and friends are showing up to your party. But, why are you throwing this party again? Does football even mean anything to you?
“Take it for what it is. It’s a giant sports event, nothing more, nothing less,” Banks said. “The reason everyone watches the Super Bowl is because it’s a tradition.”
Tradition is the heart of the Super Bowl. Old traditions are honored and new traditions are made. Even if it’s just for the Geico gecko.
Great game? Check. Witty commercials? Check. Overabundance of food? Check. Family and friends? Check. Ready for the Super Bowl? Check.
“When you think of America, you think of football,” Amy Manning said. “Forget baseball, it’s all about the football.”