NEW YORK – You've studied the rosters for the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks enough to know a few players besides Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman, and can name all the members of the "Legion of Boom." You've watched that adorable Budweiser commercial with the puppy about 100 times, and have booked a trip to Omaha to ward off the post-Super Bowl depression that will hit with a vengeance Monday morning.
There are still several hours before kickoff. What to do?
First things first. From the moment you wake up, hydrate. Super Bowl Sunday is a marathon, not a sprint. If a few of the Manning family's favorite game-day beverages or the like are in your plans, you will thank me Monday.
10 a.m. (all times Eastern) – Those of you having a party at home, knock out that last run to the grocery store. You'd have better luck getting through Broncos nose tackle Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton than the afternoon crowds. Chips? Salsa? Guacamole? Queso dip? Mini meatballs? Spinach dip? And get some of those cut-up veggies while you're there. Someone will eat them. Sure they will.
Those of you lucky enough to have game tickets, start planning your wardrobe. The snow and freezing temperatures everyone was fearing for the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city never materialized, but this isn't Miami. You need layers, gloves, a hat, warm jacket and boots. Throw some of those hand-warmers in your pockets, too. You won't be sorry in the fourth quarter.
Noon – FOX's pre-game show is starting. It's worth watching just to see the replay of Richard Sherman's rant after the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago. You know they're going to show it a time or 10.
1 p.m. – Hit the road if you are going to the game – if you haven't already. Gates open at 2 p.m. and this isn't New Orleans, where you could stroll down the street to the stadium. The trip to the New Jersey stadium is a hike no matter where you're staying, and you're going to get stuck in a bottleneck somewhere. This is New York, deal with it.
You have three choices to get there: Public transportation, Fan Express shuttle buses (for the low, low price of $51) or have someone with a parking pass drop you off. Good luck with that last one, unless you happen to know someone whose last name is Goodell.
2 p.m. – Gates open at MetLife Stadium. Wander around the concourses, or head over to the Gameday Fan Plaza on the southwest side of the stadium. There you can get your photo taken with the Lombardi Trophy (you know you want to), and promptly text it to all of your friends for the ultimate humblebrag.
You also can get a photo with the massive Roman numerals for this year's game. Anyone who actually knows what the Roman numerals are without having to look it up gets a prize. (Hint: This is the 48th Super Bowl.)
The Super Bowl Gospel Choir – who knew there was such a thing! – will be playing throughout the afternoon, as will some marching bands. Think the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, minus all the fun cartoon balloons.
2:15 p.m. -- Whether you're at home or at the stadium, it's time to hydrate again. Don't ask questions.
2:30 p.m. – The NFL Tailgate Party starts outside the stadium. You need a separate ticket, because shelling out a couple of grand for tickets to the game wasn't enough. The cheapest tailgate tickets were going for close to $700 on the secondary market Saturday afternoon, and you really don't want to know how much the good ones cost. What's that old saying, if you have to ask, you can't afford it?
But … if you are lucky enough to have a ticket – or be watching at home – you'll see a pretty good show. The Band Perry and former American Idol winner Phillip Phillips are playing, and parts of the concerts will be shown on FOX.
And since we're talking about tailgating, no, you can't do it. This isn't Lambeau Field. If you want a beer and a brat before the game, it's going to cost you. A lot. This is New York, remember? Deal with it.
3 p.m. – If you're at home, put the meatballs in the crock pot and turn it on low. Get out the plates, napkins, silverware and plastic cups. Put away anything you don't want broken.
4 p.m. -- If you didn't turn on the TV before, do it now. One of the best parts of the Super Bowl is the commercials, and if the ones we've already seen are any indication, there are going to be some great ones. Tim Tebow and Big Foot, Tim Tebow rescuing puppies. Need I say more?
4:30 p.m. – Put down that other beverage you've been drinking and hydrate.
5 p.m. – Put out the chips and dip. But hold off on the guacamole. It gets all brown and gross after sitting out in the open, so wait until right before the first guests arrive.
5:15 p.m. – Take your seats, those of you in the stadium. Yes, there's still an hour until kickoff, but the teams will be warming up. Your ticket cost more than some used cars, you may as well get every penny's worth.
6 p.m. – Home viewers should nail down a spot that gives you access to the food as well as a view of the TV. And if you haven't already done so, get in on the pools that are undoubtedly going. You can win some serious cash in those things. Or continue your losing streak.
6:15 p.m. – The national anthem. Opera singer Renee Fleming is doing it, so you know it's going to be good. Maybe not Whitney Houston good, but not screeching cats, either.
6:20 p.m. – Hydrate. I would tell you to eat something, too, but you've been doing that.
6:25 p.m. – Finally, kickoff!
Since you did your homework, you know this game features the NFL's No. 1 offense (the Broncos) vs. the No. 1 defense (the Seahawks). Peyton Manning has taken enough grief about his cold-weather record, so I won't get into that again here. But given that the game-time temperatures are expected to be in the 40s, it won't be an issue, and I say Manning throws the ball early and often.
Because the Seahawks are a young team, expect some big-game jitters. If they can manage those from the start, they have a shot at keeping it close against the Broncos. If not, it's going to be a long night.
8:15 p.m. – There isn't quite the anticipation for Bruno Mars' halftime show as there was for Beyonce's last year – unless he's got a plan to reunite Destiny's Child that we don't know about. (By the way, did anyone else realize the Red Hot Chili Peppers were still together before it was announced they were playing at the Super Bowl, or was it just me?)
Hey Bruno, pyrotechnics and light shows are great. But please keep them to a level the power grid can handle.
Roughly 10:30 p.m. – The game ends, confetti falls and we can all go home. But if the Broncos win, stick around long enough to see if Manning says he's going to Disney World … or Omaha.