As you may or may not know Super Bowl XLVII (47) is less than three weeks away. This may seem quite a while away, especially since it’s not something a lot of people in the UK pay much attention to, but here at Her Campus Exeter we’re all about embracing new things so we thought why not have a closer look at this monster of a sporting event that our American cousins are so fond of? Plus if we do get you interested, it’s best to know the basics before you open yourself up to the flood of Super Bowl hype that’s sure to be in abundance in the week or two prior to the big day. So what should you know about one of the biggest events in the North American calendar?
“Super Bowl Sunday” is virtually a national holiday, it’s the second-biggest day for food-consumption after Thanksgiving and many people host parties or go out to watch the match with friends and family. It has become so much more than just the game - it is frequently the most watched American broadcast of the year and the famous halftime shows are a spectacle in themselves featuring performances from some of the biggest names in music (past performers include Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and Madonna, and who can forget the infamous Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” of 2004?). New Orleans won the bid to host the event this year in their Mercedes-Benz Superdrome and newly reformed Destiny’s Child will be taking the half-time spot performing their new song Nuclear as well as a medley of old hits, if that’s not reason enough to watch I don’t know what is!
But of course, at its heart, it’s all about the football, the winners are the ‘champions’ of the season so it is the ultimate goal of any team – so who could be facing off this year? Right now out of the 32 teams in the NFL we’re down to the final 4, two from the American Football Conference and two from the National Football Conference who will all play on January 20th, the winners of these games will then play each other on February 3rd in the Super Bowl. Here’s a quick rundown on those final four teams, how they did in their last play-off match and their chances to make that coveted trip to the Super Bowl:
Atlanta Falcons (NFC)
Top-seeded Atlanta Falcons faced off against the Seattle Seahawks last weekend and just barely managed to cinch a victory after they let a 20-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter. The game was won by a 49-yard field goal by Matt Bryant with just 8 seconds of play left leaving the score at 30-28. It was also a significant match for quarterback Matt Ryan who achieved his first play-off run of the post-season. However the closeness of the victory and the strength of their next opponents, the San Francisco 49ers, has them at a slight disadvantage odds-wise but there's still all to play for.
Baltimore Ravens (AFC)
After a nail-bitingly close game last weekend against favourites the Denver Broncos the Ravens came out on top with a 38-35 victory. One of the stand-out moments of the game was the “Flacco Fling” a game-saving throw by quarterback Joe Flacco which stands to grant him NFL immortality. This along with a poor-decision by Bronco’s Peyton Manning resulting in a cross-body throw that didn’t reach its mark meant this double-overtime game was one of the most exciting and unexpected of the season and people can’t wait to see how the Ravens will play next. However they will be facing the mighty New England Patriots and will have to play far better if they have any hope of winning against this powerhouse of a team, but perhaps the Ravens will be able to ride the wave of their recent success to victory.
San Francisco 49ers (NFC)
Despite a tie in the third quarter the 49ers were clearly a stronger force than the Green Bay Packers in their game. Thanks to a dominating offensive line and quarterback Colin Kaepernick boasting an extremely strong performance San Francisco tallied the third-most yards in Super Bowl era playoff history with 579. Since they also have a very impressive linebacker corps the 49ers make for a well-balanced team and are definitely ones to keep a close eye on, the odds are slightly in their favour to best the Falcons and make it through to the finals but it could go either way.
New England Patriots (AFC)
There’s not much the Patriots lack, their defence is stout, they were the second most turnover-happy team of 2012, their passing and throwing games are looking good and they have the near-legendary Tom Brady (in his ten seasons as a starter with them the Patriots have reached the Super Bowl five times, winning three, and he won two Super Bowl MVP awards). They are strong favourites to beat the Ravens and make it to the finals again.
We can’t wait to see who comes out on top, whoever makes it to the finals it’s sure to be a monumental game! Now if all this has inspired you to do a bit more than grab a beer and some nachos to watch the game why not try these exercises from MaxFitness inspired by those done by American Footballers to liven up your routine:
Box Jumps: Stand in an athletic position, with your feet shoulder-width apart, at a comfortable distance from the box. When you’re ready to jump, drop quickly into a quarter squat, then extend your hips, swing your arms, and push your feet through the floor to propel yourself onto the box. Don’t “stick” your landing. Instead, envision the way cats land when they jump from something you, too, should try to land this quietly.
Weighted Squats: Every muscle works when you squat: your legs move the weight, your abs and lower back stabilize it, your arms squeeze the bar, etc. The squat is NOT just a leg exercise, it’s a full body exercise. Bend through your knees with the bar on your back until your hips come lower than parallel. Once your hip joint is lower than your knee joint, push yourself up again.
Resistance Sprints: Resistance sprint training takes the concept of using resistance to hold you back while you sprint so that when the resistance is gone your body’s muscles will still fire faster, as if the resistance was still there. This drill can be made football specific by adding a ball for the player to run with or try to catch. Place the harness around the player and the coach/trainer holds the rope behind the athlete. When the coach says go the player will sprint forward while the coach holds him back slowly moving forward until the players completes the sprint. Another way to do this drill is to have a break away rope attached to the player so that when the coach releases the rope the player will sprint through the line without the resistance.
Image Credits: nme.com, bleacherreport.com