Column: How to watch the Super Bowl when you don’t know anything about football

Column: How to watch the Super Bowl when you dont know anything about football

Julia Putman, Staff Writer

Football, one of America’s favorite past times to watch, play, listen to or talk about. Though many people enjoy this sport in many ways, how many people really know what is happening during the game?

As an honorary watcher, I know this much: the objective is obviously to win and in order to do this a team must score points, which usually come in either touchdowns or field goals, but these are only minor parts of the game. Currently, the most points ever scored in a regular season game by one team is 72 which is roughly ten touchdowns (with extra kick included) over the span of 60 minutes of gametime. So if scoring doesn’t take up the majority of the game, what does? 

The answer is, as my family likes to call it, the blob. The blob is basically a pile of grown men jumping on top of each other to stop the other team from gaining yards down the field. My family came up with this term many years ago and it stuck, because, well, it’s brilliant. What better name for this ridiculously funny scenario. 

Though I do like to joke about football, it’s actually quite entertaining and fun to get into once you understand  the vocabulary and plays. With Super Bowl LV (55) coming up this Sunday, what better time to learn a little bit about the sport that will impress not only yourself, but also the people around you.

Let’s start off with the basics of this specific Super Bowl. The two teams that are playing this year are the Kansas City Chiefs from the AFC and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who represent the NFC. Even if you feel no connection towards any team, my first tip is to wear the color red because it is the primary color of both teams. Wearing red is a simple way to look like you know what you’re doing even if you don’t. 

My next tip is to pick a team to cheer for. Even if you have no ties to either team, it adds a level of engagement to what you’re watching when you want a certain outcome to occur.  According to the Yahoo Fantasy Football app the fan vote is currently in favor of the Chiefs over the Buccaneers, 62% to 38%. Though the Chiefs are projected to win, each team has a superstar that could potentially take them to victory. Varsity Head Coach Sean Drendel gives us his input as to which team he plans on rooting for.

“I’m rooting for Tampa Bay. I like the underdogs and you can never root against Tom Brady. He is the greatest football player ever,” Drendel said.

The Chiefs have 25-year-old young phenom quarterback Patrick Mahomes, while the Buccaneers are led by 43-year-old and all-time great quarterback, Tom Brady. Mahomes took the Chiefs to victory at last year’s Super Bowl winning against the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. If Mahomes wins again he will become the youngest player to win two Super Bowl titles. Meanwhile if the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl, Brady will have won seven Super Bowl rings, giving him two more super bowl wins than any other player in NFL history. As you can imagine with two great quarterbacks leading their teams, both the Chiefs and Bucs have a good chance of winning this year’s Super Bowl. 

Some things are easier to understand when it comes to football such as your gameday outfit or the team you are going to cheer for, but understanding the game itself can be a little harder to comprehend, especially with the clock stopping every few seconds, 11 men running and trying to tackle and cover the other team, and flags being thrown. Naperville North High School’s varsity football captain and offensive lineman and long snapper, senior Ben Kuefler, explains the true objective of moving the ball on offense.

“When a team gets the ball they are on offense [and] they then try to move the ball down the field. They get three plays [downs] to move the ball ten yards, [and] if they don’t get itthere [on the third down] they either punt the ball off to the other team or try to go for it on the 4th down. If they don’t get it, the ball goes to the other team on the spot where they were tackled,” Kuefler said.

Along with knowing how the game works, it is also important to know how the point system breaks down. Each team has the ability to score two, three, six, seven or eight points on a single possession. A field goal by itself is three points, a touchdown is six points, and a touchdown with a kick attempt (extra point) gives the team seven points on the possession. A touchdown with a two-point conversion awards the team eight points on their drive. Teams also have the ability to score two points on defense if a safety occurs. 

Another important thing to note is the blue and yellow lines that pop up while watching the game on TV. Naperville North varsity quarterback, senior Jon Bell, explains the meaning and importance of these imaginary lines.

“The yellow line signifies the first down, and it really just gives a visualization for those watching the game through TV to see how many yards the team needs to get a first down. The blue line is what separates the two teams and it is in line [of scrimmage] which is where the ball is before the play is starting, and neither [team] can cross that line before the play is started without getting penalized,” Bell states. 

If you’re still not convinced that watching the Super Bowl is for you, there are plenty of other attractions that the game offers. One of them is the half-time show. The half-time show is known for its extravagance and list of famous performers. In past years,Travis Scott, Lady Gaga, Jenifer Lopez and Shakira have performed. For Super Bowl LV, The Weeknd will be performing. Another unique part of the Super Bowl are the commercials, which are usually 40 to 50 minutes of the whole game. Super Bowl commercials are some of the most entertaining and creative commercials seen for the whole year. And they should be; together companies spend an upwards of five million dollars on advertisements alone. 

Other ways to stay engaged during the Super Bowl is to play games that correspond with the football game and learn some of the lingo. My family has annual games of Super Bowl Squares. Super Bowl Squares or Football Squares are an easy and simple way to stay focused and engaged into the game (click here for directions and grid for Super Bowl Squares). Lastly, learning any new words and phrases is always fun, but especially when you can apply them to your vocabulary immediately. NNHS Varsity captain, linebacker, and senior, Adam Sturtz gives us insight to five of the most commonly used football vocabulary terms. 

“(1) A fumble, [which is when] the ball carrier loses the ball and the other team recovers it, an (2) interception, [is when] the quarterback throws the ball and the defense catches it. (3) A sack [is when a] defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. (4) Touchdown [is] when a player carries or catches the ball in the endzone. Lastly, (5) a field goal [is] when the kicker kicks the ball through the goalposts. Not to be confused with an extra point which is the kick attempt after the touchdown,” Sturtz said.

In the past year it has been a challenge to find new, exciting experiences, but the Super Bowl is a lasting tradition that can be enjoyed from the safety and comfort of your living room. If you are a football enthusiast or not it’s an exciting event that has attractions for everyone, and to make the most of it make sure to keep these tips, terms, and games in mind when tuning into the Super Bowl this weekend.