The new year has kicked off with a tone of intensity and deep division in our nation. Deeply held beliefs in our chosen representatives fill the newsfeed and are emblazoned on ball caps. Record spending is expected to surpass $17 billion. Followers who number in the millions are preparing, and the energy is palpable.

This is the Super Bowl — the holiest of Sundays for devout football fans — and it has a playbook all its own.

It’s one of the few occasions when hosts serve chips and beer and voila — dinner is served. Toothpicks morph into silverware. A football jersey and face paint make for proper game-day attire.

A lack of eye contact while staring at the television won’t be considered rude. Yelling and making hand gestures at an absurd referee call are appropriate.

A great Super Bowl party is a team effort, and hosts and guests alike have some strict rules to play by.

Back by popular demand, here is your game plan to avoid a deflated Super Bowl Sunday.

Host/guest duties

u Championship games are similar to election night. To truly enjoy the experience, surround yourself with a supportive fan base for your team.

u Keep children fed and entertained so you can stay focused on the game.

u Never mock a sports fan, but do gloat over your win for the entire year.

Host duties

u Supply enough ice for the beer chest and comfortable seating to cushion the backsides of every guest for at least four hours.

u Greet guests at the door and introduce them around. Set the party time for pregame for on-time arrivals.

u If space permits, offer casual fans and those inclined to talk during commercials and halftime a separate room for conversation. Die-hard fanatics require a sports center dedicated to the entire Super Bowl viewing experience.

u Arrange for a designated driver. After hours of intense game watching with beers in hand, a dedicated fan will likely take it up a notch to celebrate a win or soothe a loss. Inebriated fans can ride-share together if there is no DD.

Guest duties

u If you are invited to bring a guest, you must assess the level of fandom in your potential date. It is a breach of Super Bowl party etiquette to bring a guest whose naiveté is reflected in comments such as, “What color is your team wearing?” or “It’s only a game,” which equates to unsportsmanlike conduct. Guests have a responsibility to contribute to the fun, so get up to speed on the teams and the players.

u Don’t show up wearing a football jersey for the team you wish had been in the game, or you’ll be watching from the nosebleed section outside.

u Bring a host/hostess gift like carpet stain remover or a tasty low-maintenance snack. Don’t blitz your host upon arrival by asking for a preheated oven to prepare your goat cheese canapes. Food should be simple to prepare and typically consists of pizza, wings, chips and beer — foods that don’t require silverware.

u When bringing drinks, bring enough to share.

u No matter how casual the menu, do not double dip.

u The host is always in charge of the remote on their turf!

u Share the couch.

u Lend a hand for cleanup, like picking up the ground-in cheese puffs or separating the beer cans from the bottles for recycling.

The best defense is a good offense. Choose your plays wisely and win the etiquette MVP award.

Bizia Greene is an etiquette expert and owns the Etiquette School of Santa Fe. Send your comments and conundrums to hello@etiquettesantafe.com or 505-988-2070.

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