By Dan Bernstein–

It takes a year for us to forget that consuming the Super Bowl can be a chore if not handled correctly.

Luckily for you, however, I did not forget, and I am going to make your life easier.

No other sports day is so demanding of the TV viewer. Not the start of the NCAA tournament, which pops you around the country in whiz-bang fashion, cramming your head with action, results and content. Certainly not any other major sport’s title games, which diffuse intensity and significance over the course of a seven-game series.

America’s largest secular holiday brings a level of size and weight to your wall-mounted plasma that requires strategy. The HUGENESS of EVERYTHING going on is something the viewer has to bear, too, and it gets tiring, particularly for a fan with no real rooting interest.

We are reminded at every turn how incredibly important every occurrence is, whether it’s the “crucial” first-quarter third-and-three or the zillion-dollar, thirty-second spot with the creepy, talking babies trying to lure you to a day-trading website you have never thought of using and never will.

Here are some tips for you, if you are trying to care about the game:

— Watch at home, and keep people out of your house. People are stupid and annoying, and some of them look weird and smell bad. They ask dumb questions, make inane comments, and have misguided opinions that they spout unsolicited, in artless, insipid fashion. They drip globs of guacamole on your carpet and use the wrong wine glasses.

— Know the exact, published kickoff time (5:25 CST) and do not turn on your television until then. All pregame is useless, unless your goal is to become bored, impatient and angry. Or if you think you care about any of the players’ various rehabilitations, recoveries or “redemptions” from their addictions, injuries, self-made family dramas, or multiple felonies.

If you cannot keep the TV from going on wherever you are, stay in the coat closet until kickoff. If anybody knocks on the door and asks what’s wrong, say “Nothing. Don’t worry about it.” Then ask politely for them to bring you one of the bacon-wrapped scallops on a toothpick.

— Enjoy the commercials, but keep in mind that they will soon be in mind-numbingly heavy rotation for the remainder of the winter on pretty much everything that you watch. Even the clever ones will recede into the din by spring, and it will seem like the witless ones get the most play. You’d better like farting horses and improperly-calibrated comic violence. And Danica Patrick is just not that hot. Sorry.

— Don’t bet on anything, since you’re probably going to lose. Give that money to a charity, instead. Try this one, for example, for kids with cancer and leukemia:

— Keep your expectations low for the quality of the halftime performance. This year, we’ll be treated to a pop act for the first time since Janet Jackson flashed her boob (causing a cultural uproar powered by politicians and blowhole pundits who are also closeted homosexuals and drug abusers). The Black Eyed Peas have commercialized their hip-hop to the point of proper sanitization, so their simple anthems get a turn. They replace the parade of geriatrics, with their computer-enhanced vocals.

— Remember that there is a second half coming. It’s easy to think you can turn it off after the music, since it’s, like, 8:30 already.

— Don’t eat too much or drink too much. A one-pound bowl of chili or three garlic brats early on in the game will make you logy and distracted, so control yourself, fatty. Nosh a little, sip a little, but stay sharp. You don’t want to have to re-watch anything.

— When the clock hits all zeroes, turn the TV off. If anything noteworthy happens, you can YouTube it tomorrow. Don’t worry — you won’t be the guy at the office on the outside of the latest cultural meme that evaporates by the end of the workday (and ends up in a Leno monologue after it has ceased to be funny).

Print this out and save it. Open it and re-read it as needed next year. Enjoy.

Happy Football.

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM.
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