At the Super Bowl, one of the most interesting phenomenon was the sheer number of people wearing jerseys. At any sporting event, the percentage of people wearing jerseys is higher than in normal life...football being the highest from my informal survey. But when a big game hits, the percentage shoots up. Well, at the Super Bowl, I think the percentage was around 75%. And after starring into the sea of jerseys for several hours, I came up with a few rules for correct jersey wearing by fans...I'll admit I stole one from a magazine, but I'll cope to that.
Do not tuck the jersey in
Yes, the guys on the field do...but you're not on the field. Plus, you won't get fined by the League if you don't tuck it in. Plus, tucking in a jersey with uniform pants looks fine, it completes the look...tucking it into a pair of jeans or heaven forbid Khakis...you just look like a dork. Luckily, I only saw this twice...one Bears fan and one Colts fan...both were sporting the Jersey tucked into Khaki shorts...just a look that screams "I've never played sports in my life, and I really want someone to kick the crap out of me right now."
If you have a beer gut, think twice
Jerseys are one of the least flattering pieces of clothing. They accentuate the things that normal clothes work to hide...so if you have one of those gravity defying beer guts...the kind that look like a pregnant belly...think twice about the jersey.
Don't go Mainstream
If you walked around the Super Bowl, you would think that all Bears players wear 54 and all Colts players wear 18. That's all you saw...everywhere you looked, those were the jerseys everyone was wearing. If you're a "real" fan, show your support for one of the other guys out there...don't just blend in with all the other fair weather fans. You know for a fact if you ask Joe or Jane Blow on the street to name a Bears and Colts player...they would name Urlacher and Manning...and they might even be able to get their numbers right. But you're better than that, you know that your team is more than its star...don't be that guy.
Go old or obscure
You want a jersey that will get the respect of your fellow fans? Go for a retired player, or an obscure player on the current roster....and an old obscure player is even better. This establishes a few of the following:
You've been a fan for a long time (Old)
You really know this team (Either)
Maybe you know that person (Obscure)
What? You want proof? Sure. I had several people walk up to me, while sporting my Payton Jersey, and start talking about the Bears of the 80's. Meanwhile, Krish, sporting his Kyle Orton jersey got asked if he knew Kyle Orton. And trust me, the guys I had the most respect for in terms of jerseys? Anyone sporting an Offensive Lineman. What that says to me? This guy, really knows the game. So to all those guys that were wearing Kruetz and Saturday jerseys, cheers.
Your own name...don't do it
Every fan dreams of suiting up for his team...and some of these fans decide that since they will never play for their team, they'll go out and buy a jersey with their name on it. Don't be that guy. Sorry, this just looks sad. I mean, seeing a Bears jersey with "Dasgupta" on the back...everyone knows it doesn't look right...no one is going to say "Hey, did you play for the team?"...they're all instead going to think 2 things...
God, that guy is pathetic
What a waste of money
The solution? Either go out and join a sports team so you can get your name on your jersey, or be lucky enough to have a player with the same name...it's why when I was a kid I wanted a Raymont Harris jersey.
If you must, don't do it with a known number
So you don't heed my advice, and you really HAVE to have a jersey with your name on it. Fine, be that guy, but DO NOT pick a famous number to accompany it. If you're wearing a Colts #18, and it says "Pincus" on the back...yeah, that's just wrong. If you really must have your own jersey, pick a number that isn't linked to anyone, or go with the "00".
Stay away from "designer" jerseys
Listen, and this is mostly for the lady fans out there, DO NOT buy a jersey that is pink. Any jersey that does not look like a jersey worn on the field...just don't do it. I'm a big fan of throwback jerseys....alternate jerseys that are actually worn by the teams are okay, but they're really just a way to make more money off us the fan...but jerseys that are pink, or neon, or rhinestoned...just don't do it. My favorite occurrence of this sort...my buddy Scottie and I walked into a Burger King in College...one of the girls working the counter was wearing a Yankees jacket that was Neon green...and Scottie goes, "When did the Yankees change their colors? That's great." The Girl looked at him confused for a very long time...finally saying, "Oh, my jacket." Yep, true fan there.
Don't wear a jersey from a team not playing
Here's a massive pet peeve of mine...and I see it all the time...wearing a jersey of a team that isn't playing. At the Super Bowl, I saw this regularly, but forgave most of them. Saints, Ravens, Patriots, or Charger fans that had gotten tickets hoping their team was going to make it, and then saying "ah hell, I'm going anyway"...and choosing to show support for their team...while I would never do it, makes sense to me. But I saw a guy wearing a Lions jersey...what? And it never fails that at the Seahawks games I have attended out here, there is always people sporting gear for a team that isn't playing...including a season ticket holder that always comes in full Vikings gear...yeah, that just shows the world that you're an idiot. Listen, if your team isn't in the game, leave the jersey at home...trust me.
A new game to pass the time
Finally, I want to propose a simple game for the next time you head out to a big game. Jersey bingo. The way it would work is this...each participant has a card that is full of the following squares (With examples from a Super Bowl XLI card):
Squares listing the main players from each team that is playing - Urlacher, Grossman, Jones, Benson, Moose, Kruetz, Tillman, Vasher, Briggs, Harris, Manning, Addai, Harrison, Freeney, Vinateri, Saturday, Sanders, Wayne, Clark
Alternate Jersey square - Alternate Colts and Bears
Designer Jersey square - Any "designer" jersey for any team
Several random team squares - Squares for "Any Saints Jersey", "Any Ravens Jersey", etc.
The way it would work, all players have to see the jersey referred to...can't go off walking around and then return claiming you saw a Vikings, Raiders and Texans jersey. And then, all the normal bingo rules apply. Trust me, if the cards are done correctly, this could easily pass the time before any big game.
When you prepare for the next big game, just keep these guidelines in mind, it will help you look the part of the true fan.