Photo by nathan shively via unsplash

As the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos gear up for today's Super Bowl match-up, a series of smaller battles will be unfolding in living rooms across America. Just what will be getting some fans in an uproar? After seventeen weeks of tuning in to watch their favorite teams on the big screen, football lovers suddenly find themselves in the presence of mixed guests who have come for the food, others who are mostly interested in socializing, a cluster who will savor the commercials and still others who care mostly about the halftime show. With so many competing rationales for attending a Super Bowl party, an occasional (if mostly harmless) clash is inevitable. Here to ensure your friends don't throw a penalty flag on your behavior are some goal posts for proper game-watching etiquette:

Dress Down
This is one of the few parties where dressing your best is discouraged. Pull on a football jersey, a pair of jeans and some sneakers, and you'll be good to go. Neckties not welcome.

You'll be doing a lot of eating at a Super Bowl party, and certainly some drinking, too. Pull your weight and ask the host what you can bring. Don't show up expecting to be fed without bringing something for everyone else to share.

Delay of Game
Apart from an Oscar party, a Super Bowl soirée is the only social gathering where a television set should be front and center. As a result, arriving after kickoff is akin to walking in late to a's disruptive to the other guests who are already glued to the game. Get to the party on-time, say your hellos and take your seat. Which leads us to:

No Seat Interceptions
The chair you chose when you arrive is yours for the duration. Your popping up for food during a commercial break is not license for another guest to steal your seat.

Instant Replay
Unlike key plays on the field, the commercials don't get an instant reply. Since for many of us, watching the ads is just as much sport as watching the game, guests should keep quiet during the commercials. And have the tissues handy, as some of the ads can be downright weepy.

Lurking by the food table, preventing others from easy access to the chips, dip and submarine sandwiches is just as likely as any of the behavior on this list to get you tackled. Take what you want (leaving plenty for others, of course) and move along.

The rule during halftime is the same as during game time: down in front. If you're not interested in the halftime show, don't ruin it for others by talking during the performances or standing in front of the screen.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct
With all ages likely in attendance at a Super Bowl party, adults should mind their language--no matter how frustrating a referee's call might be. Keep your comments clean, and remember: at the end of the day, it's just a game.

Don't crowd the scorekeeper who's minding the boxes in the betting pool. Let him or her do his job, announcing the winners at the end of each quarter. And if luck is not with you, accept your gambling defeat graciously.

Out of Bounds
It's a Sunday night and most of us will have jobs (or school) to get to in the morning. So once the game is done, make sure to help clear up and then be prepared to clear out. Don't overstay your welcome.

Follow these guidelines and you'll score an etiquette touchdown. Enjoy the game everyone, and may the best team win!