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A Collegiette’s Guide to Football: Everything You Need to Know for Super Bowl XLV

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mizzou chapter.

Collegiettes™, man’s favorite holiday is quickly approaching – Super Bowl Sunday. If you’re like me, you look forward to this day simply for the endless supply of chips and queso and the awesome commercials. Yet every year, I’m put in the awkward position of pretending I know what’s going on in the game. The reality is, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a field goal and a fumble.

With the Super Bowl days away, we’ve created a crash course in football for you collegiettes™ who need to brush up. Everything you need to know for Sunday is right here. Study up, and don’t be that girl who calls a touchdown a homerun (not that I’ve ever done that…).

The Basics

The Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers

Players to Watch: The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (quarterback) and Clay Matthews (linebacker) and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (quarterback) and Troy Polamalu (safety).

Object of the Game: Score more touchdowns than the other team. To score a touchdown, the players bring the football into the end zone.


Down: one of the four chances the offensive team has to score or carry the ball 10 yards; if the offensive team doesn’t get a first down, the other team takes possession of the ball

Fumble: an offensive player drops the ball; whoever picks it up gets possession

Kickoff: the free kick that happens after each touchdown and also starts the first and third periods

Interception: the defense catches a pass made by the offense

Punt: a player kicks the ball; usually on a fourth-down play

Return: a player who has caught the ball tries to advance it down the field

Rush: running at a player to keep him from kicking or throwing the ball

Sack: a defensive player tackles the quarterback

Safety: an offensive player gets tackled with the ball in his own end zone; the defensive team gets two points and possession of the ball

Touchdown: the homerun of football; worth six points

Turnover: the offensive team loses possession of the ball to the defense from either an interception or fumble

Football Terms Translated

“Turnover Margin” – how many more times a team forces a turnover (interception/fumble) than commits one

“Going for it on Fourth” – instead of punting or kicking a field goal on fourth down, a team runs a play to try to get a first down

“Going for Two” – normally teams kick an extra point field goal after they score a touchdown, but they also have the option of running a play into the end zone for two points instead

Still confused? I’d suggest a marathon of The Blind Side, Remember the Titans, and Rudy.

Kelsey Mirando is a senior at the University of Missouri, class of 2011, studying Magazine Journalism, English and Sociology. Born and raised in Tulsa, Okla., Kelsey enjoys travel, volunteerism and any Leonardo DiCaprio movie. She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta women's fraternity and has served as President of the Society of Professional Journalists, MU chapter. She has reported among the Tiger fans of Columbia, Mo., the hustle and bustle of Beijing and the bright lights of New York City. Kelsey recently completed the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) summer internship program and is now soaking up every moment of her senior year at Mizzou.