Growing up, Sunday was the best day of the week. It was a time for my family and I to gather around the couch and watch football. My dad has been in the same Fantasy Football league since I was in first grade, so I learned the ins and outs of football lingo pretty quickly. While most of my friends spent Sundays catching up on homework, I watched the Bears tackle down their latest opponent (what can I say, I’m a Chicago girl at heart). A few years later, he joined another fantasy team, in which he competed with 50 other people to pick five games each week against a point spread; the goal was to win all five games to get the pool. Even when I’m away from home, I’ll text my mom, who took over for my dad in the five-game fantasy pool, what teams she picked for the week so I can follow along with her. Needless to say, I love football.
Watching football may not be on every girl’s list of fun things to do on a Sunday night, but the Super Bowl is different. From the commercials to the halftime performance, it’s kind of like awards season for sports fans. If you’re not as sports savvy as I am when it comes to football, here are some helpful tips for Super Bowl XLVI (46) to boost your knowledge and impress your friends.
1. Know Who the Contenders Are
If you know absolutely nothing about football and are invited to a Super Bowl party, it might be helpful to know who is actually playing in the game. This year, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants will face off. Bonus points if you know the quarterbacks: Tom Brady plays for the Pats, while Eli Manning plays for the Giants. But if you’re the kind of girl who roots for the team with the cutest quarterback, sorry girls, but both are happily married with children.
2. Learn the Football Jargon
There is nothing worse than not knowing how points are scored. A few important terms:
Touchdown= Offensive team scores in opposing teams’ end zone, 6 points
Extra Point= Offensive team’s kicker knocks the football through the opposing teams’ goal post (shaped like a “U”), 1 point
Field Goal=Offensive team’s kicker knocks football through opposing team’s end zone, 3 points.
Safety=Defensive player tackles an offensive player carrying the ball in the offensive team’s end zone, 2 pts
Two-Point Conversion=Instead of going for the extra point, opposing team can score two points via running the ball or passing to another player to the opposing team’s end zone.
Down=Offensive team has four chances to score a touchdown, or can settle for a field goal if in opposing team’s territory.
3. Mark your favorite commercials
This is the real reason to watch the Super Bowl. Advertisers reportedly spend upwards of $2 million for a 30-second campaign, and I can’t wait to see what the execs from Budweiser, Pepsi and the like will come up with this year. Along with countless beer ads, you may see some familiar faces: Rumor has it that Ferris Bueller may be making a comeback for a Honda commercial, and a new female M&M color will be revealed.
4. Enjoy the Performances
The halftime performance is sometimes the boring part of the game, but at the Super Bowl, it’s the best part. This year, Madonna will hit the stage. Let’s just hope her performance is better than last year’s painful one featuring the Black Eyed Peas.
And rumor has it that Kelly Clarkson will be singing the National Anthem. Let’s just hope she doesn’t mess up the lyrics to America’s most famous song a la Christina Aguilera’s fumble (no pun intended) last year.
5. Watch the Puppy Bowl
If the idea of watching a football game makes you queasy, there’s another Bowl to watch: The 8th annual Puppy Bowl, hosted by Animal Planet, features tons of adorable puppies, kittens and chickens, so if you’re an animal lover, this is a great alternative.