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Super Bowl XLVII: The Collegiette Cheat Sheet

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

Are you that guy or girl every year that sits down to watch the Super Bowl with family or friends and has no idea what’s happening on the screen? It can get pretty exhausting, looking around to check that other people are cheering or trying to follow the storylines of the teams that are playing this year. This year’s NFL season was particularly exciting and it will culminate in the most dramatic Super Bowl showdown I’ve seen in recent years, so your viewing experience will be much more fun if you know a little about the game! Her Campus Occidental has got your back—read on for everything you need to know about Super Bowl XLVII (47).


What is the Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League, played between the winner of the AFC (American Football Conference) and the NFC (National Football Conference). The winning team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, also called the Tiffany’s Trophy because it is exclusively manufactured by Tiffany & Co. The Super Bowl is the second-biggest day of food consumption in the United States (right behind Thanksgiving) and “Super Bowl Sunday” is considered a de facto national holiday. The broadcast of the Super Bowl is often the highest-viewed program of the year. Super Bowl XLV (2011) became the most-watched program in history, with 111 million viewers.

Who’s competing this year?
The Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens are the AFC champions and went 10-6 in the regular season, 13-6 including the postseason. The Ravens are coming into this Super Bowl on the heels of a spectacular win over the Broncos, who were favored early on to advance to the Super Bowl. Ravens fans are frothing at the mouth for this shot at the championship: last season, they reached the AFC Championship only to lose to the New England Patriots after their kicker missed a field goal that would have sent the game into overtime. The Ravens enter the Super Bowl ranked the top offense in the NFL, and they will be wearing their away whites.

The San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers went 11-4-1 in the regular season, 13-1-4 including the postseason. The 49ers have only recently risen from their slump of the 2000s and appeared in the NFC championship game last year, but lost to the New York Giants. This season, their best unit was their tough defense, ranked 3rd in the NFL and 1st in the NFC. The 49ers are the home team and will wear their red jerseys with gold pants.

It’s the first time either team will make an appearance at the Super Bowl since 2001, when the Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants. The 49ers are projected to win by 3.5 points, so it’ll be a close game!

Football Basics: A Primer
The goal of football is to advance the ball down the field towards the team’s end zone where the team is given the opportunity to score a touchdown or a field goal, with four chances to move the ball ten yards. If the team is able to advance the ball ten yards, that is called a down. If in four tries the team can’t make 10 yards, the ball turns over to the other team. A play ends when the ball carrier hits the ground. Of course, other things happen besides 10-yard increments of play. Teams take advantage of all sorts of strategies to advance the ball, but that is the general idea. Games happen in four quarters with a game clock of fifteen minutes each.

Most common terminology guide
NFL – National Football League
AFC – American Football Conference
NFC – National Football Conference
QB: Quarterback
RB: Running back
DE: Defensive end, job is to rush the quarterback
TE: Tight end, does the jobs of wide receivers and offensive linemen
CB: Cornerback, lines up against the opposing wide receiver to disrupt passing
WR: Wide receiver, goes deep to receive the ball from the quarterback
FGA: Field goals attempted
FGM: Field goals made
1st & 10: new first down, starting point for a possession
2nd & 10: second down with 10 yards to go
1st & goal: first down where the line to gain (the next 10 yards) is the goal line
Blitz: defensive play in which linebackers or defensive backs rush the quarterback to disrupt him from running or throwing. Disrupting the QB is illegal if he has already begun throwing.
Field goal: 3 point score made by kicking through the goal posts
Flag: a yellow flag on the field indicates that a foul has been committed while a red flag thrown by a head coach indicates that he is challenging a referee’s call
Fumble: a dropped ball, sometimes picked up by the opposing team and turning over possession
Hail Mary: a last-ditch attempt to score a touchdown by throwing the ball towards receivers near the end zone
Pass interference: an illegal move where a player disrupts an eligible receiver’s chance to catch a forward pass
Pick: when a quarterback’s throw is intercepted
Punt: a kick that sends the ball as far down field as possible when all offensive downs are used up. Punts are returned by the receiving team to try and regain field position
Taking the knee: kneeling down to end a play while keeping the clock running, a way of running down the clock safely without having to run a difficult play
Sack: tackling a player carrying the ball before he can make a successful forward pass
Scramble: when the quarterback runs to avoid being sacked or blitzed or to gain forward yards

When to cheer
Like I said before, football is an essentially simple game (four tries to run the ball 10 yards towards your end zone), but there are a lot of things that can happen in a play. Here are some of the key times to cheer for your team!
When a first-down is made: this means your team has successfully moved the ball down the field and gained 10 yards, which means they are now 10 yards closer to the end zone. If they go to a second & 10, meaning they didn’t make 10 yards on the first possession, it’s not a big deal yet, but by the third you should be feeling pretty nervous.
When an interception is made if your team is on defense: this might mean that the opposing team’s receivers fumbled the ball. If your team gains possession of the ball while on offense, they get a major opportunity to gain back yards. Sometimes teams are so jarred by interceptions that big plays happen for the defense.
When a blitz is successful: this means your team’s defense stopped the opposition’s quarterback cold before he even got a chance to pass the ball. Always a good thing!

Players to Watch
Ray Lewis (LB): this Super Bowl will be the last game ever for the 37-year-old linebacker and 17-year Ravens veteran. Sidelined by injury last season, he came back bigger and better than ever and he leads his team for tackles, 44 in the postseason alone. He’s one tackle short of setting the all-time record for tackles connected in the postseason. He is also facing accusations of possessing illegal performance enhancing drugs, which he and his coaches adamantly deny. He’s a big personality off-field and will most certainly be giving great interviews after the game that will also most certainly be spoofed on SNL next weekend.
Joe Flacco (QB): he’s gotten passed over by the media in favor of bigger star quarterbacks, but in the playoffs he made eight passing touchdowns and threw no interceptions (a lesson another star quarterback, Tony Romo, might learn from). After his stunning performance in the AFC championship game against the Broncos, any eyes that aren’t on Ray Lewis will definitely be on Joe Flacco.
Ray Rice (RB): He’s a versatile running back and makes big plays for the Ravens’ offense. There’s a lot of hype about Ray Lewis passing the torch of leadership to Ray Rice, so definitely watch out for pre- or post-game interviews with “Little Ray.”
Dennis Pitta (TE): He’s a close friend of Joe Flacco off the field, and it shows. Flacco relies on Pitta when the Ravens are in a tight spot, and he’s got a good eye for catches.

Colin Kaepernick (QB): He’s a versatile QB that became famous overnight when he replaced 49ers QB Alex Smith (who is now trying to leave the 49ers two years ahead of his contract expiring). He can play with his legs and his arms and is the centerpiece of the 49ers offense. He ran 181 yards and for two touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers threw for 127 yards against Falcons. Look for him to connect well, and connect often.
Justin Smith (DT): Justin Smith won his team’s Len Eshmont award, the most prestigious 49ers award given to the player who displays “inspirational and courageous play.” He’s a fantastic blocker but he won’t be anywhere near 100%: he’s playing through a torn triceps tendon. The media will be playing up his heroic dedication to the game, and this will be his last game before he undergoes surgery for the torn tendon.
Vernon Davis (TE): he’s fast and a big nightmare for the Raven’s slower linebackers. Not the greatest catcher, but he’s shown he can make big plays against strong defenses and is a good clutch player.
Michael Crabtree (WR): The 49ers have two receivers out with injuries, but Crabtree is the best receiver on the squad. He had more than twice as many catches and receiving yards as anybody else on the team. He’s been playing well and teams up nicely with QB Kaepernick, so I’m excited to see if he’ll play to his potential. If he does, this Super Bowl could be his breakout performance.
Randy Moss (WR): Randy Moss is a veteran player and is a highly capable deep field threat for the Ravens’ defense. He’s fast and considers himself the best wide receiver in the NFL; this Super Bowl we’ll see if he can still put his money where his mouth is.

Battle of the Brothers
This might be the biggest story of the game. John Harbaugh is the head coach of the Ravens, and Jim Harbaugh is the head coach of the 49ers, and they’re brothers. John is older by 15 months, and the two have met on the field just once before: John’s Ravens beat Jim’s 49ers last season 16-6. The game is being called the HarBowl. Judging by sideline antics, John is the more mentally stable, but Jim is a master chess player with his 49ers and it’ll be interesting to see the brothers match up against each other!


National Anthem & Halftime
This year, Alicia Keys is set to perform the national anthem. She says she’ll be doing her own rendition of the song. The halftime show will be performed by Beyoncé, and its rumored that Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland might join her for the Destiny’s Child reunion concert that all of us who loved “Soldier” as middle schoolers have been waiting for. Beyoncé is fresh from performing at the Inauguration, where rumors flew about her lip-syncing; watch for her redemption at the halftime show.

The bet-makers in Las Vegas are saying the 49ers will win by 3.5 points, and the teams did not play each other in the regular season so it’s a little harder to make good matchups of the players. Both teams are high scorers, but the 49ers defense is hard to argue with and in the playoffs the Ravens have faced teams with much weaker defenses. I’m predicting a 49ers victory (as much as I hate to say it as a Seahawks fan). MVP will most likely go to Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers QB, but it would be fun to see Ray Lewis of the Ravens get it. Justin Smith of the 49ers and Joe Flacco of the Ravens could also deserve the MVP title.

Random Facts
This is the first year that both teams are undefeated in previous Super Bowl appearances. The 49ers have won all five of their previous Super Bowl appearances, while the Ravens have won their only other appearance.

This is the first Super Bowl held in the Louisiana Superdome since Hurricane Katrina, and the first Super Bowl held in the Superdome after its name changed to the Mercedez-Benz Superdome.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a pet turtle named Sammy that weighs 115 pounds.

Joe Flacco’s own father called him “dull” in an interview; Joe Flacco then agreed with him.

Broadcast Information
Super Bowl XLVII will be broadcast on Sunday, February 3rd by CBS. Pregame coverage begins at 11:00 AM EST and kickoff is set for 6:30 PM EST.

What did you think?
I know I left out some key players to watch: Bernard Pollard, Torrey Smith, NaVorro Bowman, and Aldon Smith for example. Did I leave out your favorite Ravens or 49ers player? Who do you think will win? Leave your comments below and get pumped up for Super Bowl Sunday!!

Madi Tsuji is a former Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Occidental. She is originally from Seattle, WA and now lives in New York City, where she works in PR.