It’s not that Bomani Jones doesn’t want to go to your game day party. He just can’t. There’s a difference, OK?
“It’s the one thing I dislike about this job,” he admits. “I always have to do some measure of content that requires paying attention while everybody else is having fun.” And when something big inevitably happens during the big game, forget about it. “People expect to get a free show out of me. I don’t blame them! It’s fun to watch the Super Bowl with the guy from TV.”
And not just any guy. The outspoken sports analyst and host is knee-deep into the second season of his HBO show, “Game Theory With Bomani Jones” [note: HBO is owned by CNN Underscored’s parent company]. A potent 30-minute mix of comedy, topical essays and interviews, each episode (airing Friday nights at 11 p.m.) is delivered in his signature no-nonsense style. “I’m really good at being serious about what’s absurd and absurd about what’s serious,” says Jones, who also contributes to ESPN. “People can hang out with me and get a book report without knowing it and can appreciate it.”
Not surprisingly, Jones has some strong opinions on all things NFL. The annual draft extravaganza? He wants it abolished and said so last season. (“It’s a labor restraint that’s been turned into a television show.”) He’s still not pleased about the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. But he’s genuinely looking forward to seeing the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs duke it out for the championship on Feb. 12.
“First and foremost, it’s a good matchup of good teams,” he says. “When I was growing up, the game was always lopsided, but that really hasn’t been the case for the past 20 years.” He also notes the importance of two Black quarterbacks — the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts — playing in the big game for the first time. “It’s not something we should easily shrug off and dismiss,” he adds. “I think it speaks a lot about the changes in the NFL and changes in attitudes in how players in the league are evaluated.”
This Sunday, Jones plans to watch the game from his NYC apartment with possibly a few (quietly respectful) friends. But first, he ran down his game day essentials for CNN Underscored.
The clock is ticking! Jones begins his all-important day by, yup, mopping his floors. “The first thing you need to do is take care of the house and you’ve got until 1 p.m. to do it,” he says. “If you’re coming over here, it’s going to be clean.” He scrubs with this all-purpose non-toxic cleaning solution, which is concentrated in an easy-pour bottle and features a fresh lavender scent.
After going out in his neighborhood for a late breakfast, Jones will catch a few well-deserved Zs. “A nap is a good call,” he says. No calming app is needed, just “a little lavender on the pillow.” (FYI, its essential oils contain linalool, linalyl, acetate and camphor that act as anxiety relievers and help reduce agitation, restlessness and aggression.) This spray is also an odor eliminator.
Alright, enough lavender talk. To get himself properly pumped, the Atlanta native will blast some Southern rap — think 8Ball & MJG — from his new sleek, state-of-the-art audio system. “I’ve got a whole set-up going on,” he says of the tower, which features professional-grade quality, audio clarity and detailing. “I spent way too much money on it, but I treated myself when I got a TV show.”
If you’re coming to Casa Jones for an elaborate spread of cheese and veggies and chips and dips, prepare to leave hungry. “I’m not gorging,” he says, “So, if you want to just watch the game, then watch the game!” But Jones will order a hearty dinner from this iconic Harlem soul food restaurant. The key, he says, is to put in the call during the afternoon so the food arrives by halftime. “You’ve got to do it early and set your time or else everybody is going to have the same bright idea at the same time!” For him, the magic hour is 7:45 p.m.
The closest that Jones will get to alcohol on Sunday night is watching all those beer commercials on his 60-inch LG flatscreen Smart TV. “It’s not a great idea to drink that night,” he says. “I’m not typically in that zone.” Instead, he goes for classic caffeinated soda. As in OG Coca-Cola. Not Diet!
Jones observes the game with two tech devices nearby. He needs his iPhone to check his Twitter mentions and “keep up with the conversations” and he uses his Apple MacBook Air to check stats, read press notes and text with his friends. “Sometimes it’s just easier to text with my hands than with my thumbs,” he explains. And though they want his take on the game and the halftime show, he has some advice about the latter: “I don’t want Rihanna’s performance to be evaluated. Just enjoy it!”
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