Everything You Need to Know About the Super Bowl if You Know Nothing About Football

My mood throughout the week from August to February hangs in the balance of how the New England Patriots play every Sunday night. I pride myself on having a team to root for, and actually knowing what they're doing when they're on the field, but I know not every girl feels that way about football, and that some people only watch the super bowl for the commercials. That's why I decided to compile a list of everything you need to know before the big game on Sunday if you want to impress your guy friends, or if you don't want to be bored and confused for the better part of four hours.

Where can I watch the game?

The game is being broadcast on NBC at 6:30 on Sunday. If you don't have cable, you can watch NBC's live stream of the game here. The game will be broadcast by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth

Where is it?

The game is in U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings' stadium. This is only the second time the game has been held there, and the last time was in 1992. The game is hosted in a different city every year so that fans from across the country get the chance to attend the event. 

Who's playing?

The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles

All about the Patriots

The team went 13-3 in the league this year, meaning they had 13 wins and 3 losses. They also were the winners of last year's Super Bowl.

Coach: Bill Belichick. This is Belichick's 18th year as head coach of the Patriots, and he has led them to five super bowls — this is the most of any head coach in NFL history. He is also the only head coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowl championships in a four-year span. Belichick is third all-time in regular season coaching wins in the NFL with 278, and first in playoff coaching wins with 28.

Key players: 

Tom Brady (#12) is the quarterback of the Patriots. Brady's job is to read the field and call plays that involve him throwing or handing off the ball to another player. Brady has just turned 40, which is an age that tends to a career ender for players. But Brady has taken measures to counteract his age, and has been working to keep playing at the level he is used to. He even finished the 2017 regular season as the NFL’s passing yards leader with 4,577 passing yards, making him the oldest player to ever lead the league. Brady has won five super bowls with Belichick, and has been playing for the Patriots for 18 years. He is only the second NFL player to ever have won five super bowls, and he is the only player to win all of them with one team. However, Brady is still dealing with a right hand injury that he suffered before the AFC Championship Game and had 12 stitches removed, but analysts don't think it will affect him.

Danny Amendola (#80) is one of the wide receivers for the Patriots and he is also the punt returner. This means that he catches balls thrown by Brady at the widest position of the field, near the sidelines, and as a punt returner, he catches the ball that is kicked away by the other team and tries to run it as far as he can without being tackled. He has been with the Patriots since 2013 and has won his only two Super Bowls with the team. He has been nicknamed "Danny Playoff" due to how well he plays in the postseason, and was named 2017 AFC Championship MVP. He averaged 4.1 catches, 43.9 yards and 0.1 touchdowns in the regular season, but in the playoffs is averaging nine catches, 98 yards and one touchdown.

Rob Gronkowski (#87) or "Gronk" is a tight end, meaning he sometimes plays as part of the offensive line, blocking players of the opposite team from getting to Brady, and sometimes plays as a wide receiver. He is known as one of Brady's favorite targets, and during last year's Super Bowl, Gronkowski was missing due to a back injury that devastated the Patriots fan base. In 2017, he caught 69 passes in the regular season. During the AFC Championship two weeks ago, Gronk suffered a concussion, and has only been cleared to practice and play Sunday this week. If there had not been a week between the Super Bowl and the championship, Gronk would have missed the game again. 

Brandin Cooks (#14) is another wide receiver for the Patriots. It was Cooks' first year with the Patriots, but he had 65 catches for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season; the best first year with Brady for a receiver since. Cooks also averaged 16.6 yards per catch in the regular season. His matchup with Ronald Darby and the Eagles' secondary has been marked as a matchup to watch during Sunday's game, with analysts noting that Cooks might be able to get by the secondary to score.

Dion Lewis (#33) is a running back, meaning that Brady will hand the ball off to him as opposed to throwing it and he will try to get around the Eagles' defensive line. In the 2017 regular season, he posted the highest elusive rating among running backs in the regular season, forcing 49 missed tackles. He has been on the Patriots since 2015, and played in the 2016 Super Bowl. This season, he was noted as one of the Patriots' primary workhorses, as the primary running back for first and second downs.

Playoff/Super Bowl history: The Patriots have won five Super Bowls under Belichick, and Brady thrives under pressure and is a four time Super Bowl MVP. This AFC Championship was the team's seventh straight, which just shows how used to the playoff pressure they are as a team. The AFC Championship win gave Belichick and Brady their eighth win as a duo.

All about the Eagles

Key Players:

Nick Foles (#9) is the quarterback for the Eagles. He was the back up quarterback for Carson Wentz, and has only played in three games this season after Wentz was hurt. He has never been to a Super Bowl, but led the team to their first playoff victory in nine seasons after beating the Falcons. Analysts have said that Foles might have the offense to defeat the Patriots defense. 

Fletcher Cox (#91) is a defensive anchor for the Eagles, and will be essential for them Sunday if they want to successfully put pressure on Brady. 

Zach Ertz (#86) is a wide receiver. He finished the 2017 season with eight touchdowns, and was a big part of the offense for Foles. In the post season, he and Foles were 11 for 13. He has been noted as skilled and hard to contain, which could mean trouble for the Patriots defense. His potential matchup with Patrick Chung on the Patriots has been marked as one to watch. More than half his catches resulted in first downs, making him extremely dangerous on the field. 

Alshon Jeffery (#17) is a wide receiver. He has been noted as "perfect in the playoffs" by analysts, because he has been the Eagles' best receiver in the post season. He has gained 146 yards in the post season alone and he and Foles are 9 of 10 in pass reception.

Jay Ajayi (#36) is a running back for the Eagles. Running backs will also be essential Sunday, as one of the most important things to defeat the Patriots is to keep Brady and the offense off the field. Running the ball takes longer than it would to throw the ball down the field. Though he hasn't been on the team long, he has been working well with the offense and the other running backs to score points. 

Playoff/Super Bowl history: The Eagles are the only NFC East team without a Super Bowl win

Who has the advantage?

If the Patriots win, they'll win their sixth Super Bowl since 2001 and their second straight championship, proving that they're used to playing on this stage. The Patriots will wear white uniforms and they are 3-0 in the Super Bowl when wearing white under Belichick. The Eagles will wear green, and they went 10-1 in green this season. The Patriots are 4.5-point favorites by analysts and bettors. Brady sports the league's best passer rating under pressure (95.5), but the Eagles generate pressure at 41.9 percent.

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