When Donald Trump left his Mar-a-Lago Super Bowl party last year, the New England Patriots were trailing the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter, 28-3. After the president’s departure, Tom Brady (a close, personal friend) orchestrated the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, and New England went on to win, 34-28. What a thing to miss! Surely the president, who isn’t prone to regrets, would at least regret this. But he shouldn’t. That’s because he made the right move.
Out of all of the behaviors exhibited by Donald Trump, leaving a Super Bowl party early is one of only two that I am confident in endorsing. (The other one is gabbing with your friends on the phone at night. It’s a lost art and a great way to decompress.) My only critique of Trump’s exit is that it didn’t come early enough. Leave at halftime, or late in the second quarter. Either way, you should always watch the second half of the Super Bowl at home.
Super Bowls run late, and nothing knocks the stuffing out of your weekend like finding yourself bloated, tired, and a commute away from your bed on a cold Sunday night. This is not to say you shouldn’t attend Super Bowl parties. They’re fun! By all means, pick up some beer and a bag of those chips that are specially engineered for dipping and head to a friend’s place. But go early, when it’s still light out and the miserable grip of the impending work week has yet to compress your soul.
Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about missing any game action if you leave at halftime. Super Bowl halftimes can last over 30 minutes, which is more than twice as long as a regular season halftime. These interminable performances are so drawn-out that the players—professional athletes in peak physical condition—have to prepare themselves in the weeks leading up to the game for the unique toll of an extended halftime. This lengthy break may shake them off their rhythm, but it gives you ample time to hit the road.
(If you’re really concerned about missing Justin Timberlake, it will be OK. Not only will the halftime show be immediately uploaded to the internet, but Prince’s performance from the 2007 Super Bowl is already on YouTube, and you should just watch that instead.)
Plus, NBC’s post-game programming this year is probably more compelling than the halftime show. The network is using the Super Bowl lead-in to boost ratings for This Is Us. I’ve never seen the critically acclaimed drama, but I hear it can get pretty heavy. Do you want to suffer an emotional episode at someone else’s house while they’re throwing away cans and doing the dishes? Of course not. If you’re going to cry, do so at home, in the familiar recliner that already knows all your secrets.
Of course, the objective goodness of leaving early only applies to viewing parties and not the actual, live Super Bowl. If you’re shelling out for seats (or if you have pleased a corporation so much that they have bequeathed you with tickets), you really should stay. Mark Wahlberg deservedly caught some flak last year when he was caught leaving NRG Stadium in Houston before the Patriots’ comeback. To make matters worse, he tossed his son under the bus afterwards, telling Men’s Health that the child had thrown a tantrum and forced them to leave.
You needn’t worry about coming up with an excuse for leaving a viewing party. No one cares if you duck out early. It’s a Super Bowl party, not a custody hearing. The second half will go on as planned, with or without you.
And besides, people shhh you for talking during commercials at Super Bowl parties. That’s borderline unacceptable during the first half, but it’s totally unreasonable behavior in the second, when the ads start to repeat and networks roll out teases for the local news. Why subject yourself to this abuse? If anyone is going to tell you to shut up as the Super Bowl crawls to its conclusion, it should be your loving family, and they should be hurling this abuse at you from a setting that makes everyone comfortable: home.