In sports, you can be penalized for holding the stick, the facemask or the salivating, fat guy intent on devouring your quarterback like a cheese steak.
There are infractions for delaying the game, starting too soon or, in the case of Tiger Woods, once you do get going, moving at an absurd pace of play.
But there are rules for fans, too, rules that must be adhered to in order for someone to be treated with respect and not mocked for being a complete dork.
This brings us to Super Bowl Sunday in Las Vegas, at The Mirage, where four buddies could have been suspended for conduct detrimental to the species.
There they stood, shoulder to shoulder at the bar, each wearing a football jersey, a Dallas Cowboys football jersey.
Let us note the violations:
1. The Dallas Cowboys were not playing Sunday.
2. These four guys were not at the actual Super Bowl.
3. These four guys were dressed alike.
4. These four guys each were old enough to name at least two songs from Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Heck, when the crimes stack up like that, forget suspensions. Let’s start with deportations.
There are very clear rules regarding the wearing of a professional team’s jersey. This is true even though these rules are unwritten.
See, there doesn’t need to be a rule formally stating that you shouldn’t attempt to slow dance with a bobcat. It’s pretty much understood.
Likewise, most of the jersey-wearing guidelines are obvious. For starters, there’s an age when dressing like Donovan McNabb becomes iffy. Though a number isn’t specifically defined, most societies recognize this age as adulthood.
You’re probably too old if one of your children has attended a high school dance. Dude, do not greet your daughter’s prom date at the front door looking like a bloated, balding A-Rod.
You also are too old if the player identified on the jersey could be – age-wise – your son. If there’s a 50-something woman wearing a Luke Walton jersey at Wal-Mart, it better be the woman who nursed him 30 years ago. Otherwise, take it off, sister.
Here’s another age-related tenet to follow: If you can remember that there were two pairs of actors who played the brothers on "The Dukes of Hazzard," you probably should mothball your matching set of his and her Manny Ramirez No. 99s.
This stuff isn’t exactly microphysics, people.
Along with being age-appropriate, jerseys also should be venue-appropriate. When worn in the proper arena/stadium, almost everyone can get away with it.
It is not, however, acceptable to enter Dodger Stadium this way. It also isn’t very smart, since fans at Dodger Stadium have been known to take exception to people in other teams’ colors. By take exception we mean they shoot them.
And what is it with those folks who invest good money in an authentic jersey and then have their last name stitched on the back? Please, like we’re supposed to believe HALLIMANWICZ once played for the Bulls.
Speaking of the NBA, middle-aged guy with biceps the color and firmness of pizza dough, you are not allowed to wear tank tops to games. Ever. At the very least, you must go with a T-shirt underneath.
Never again do we want to see Kobe Bryant’s regal No. 24 besmirched by a petting zoo of shoulder hair.
We’re just trying to help here, understand? Spending the weekend of the Super Bowl in Las Vegas exposes all manner of sports fashion indiscretion.
From the grandmother in the Paul Hornung jersey to the 40ish-looking guy wearing the Saints jersey over his collared dress shirt to the four Dallas Cowboy yokels, the violations were glaring. Even to us, and we sometimes accidentally put on our underwear over our pants.
Las Vegas, in fact, has its own collection of rules. For instance:
1. No one cares about your remarkably amazing bad luck at the blackjack table. You do realize the outcome of each hand is based more on hard math, right, than fleeting chance?
2. At no time are you permitted to wear sunglasses while playing roulette. Who are you bluffing, exactly, the little white ball? Don’t worry. He’s a pai gow player.
3. Playing craps in a sweatsuit is akin to running a marathon in a tuxedo. Anyone who even walks through a casino looking like Al Davis should be immediately ordered to run to Oakland.
Sorry to be so harsh. It was just a long weekend. Maybe I’ll go to Las Vegas for the next SuperBowl… Wearing my jersey, of course.