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The Guide to Football: Super Bowl XLIX Edition


At Superbowl parties do you find yourself shoving your face while everyone else is screaming at the TV? Or feeling super confused for 4 hours? That’s probably because you don’t understand football, and why watch something you don’t understand…?



Which is why we hope that our guide can help you play the role of football fan without actually knowing anything about football.

What is the Super Bowl, you might ask?

  • It’s one of the biggest televised sporting events of the year. Here you will see the AFC champions go up against the NFC champions to see who is the best team of the 2014 NFL Season. If you don’t watch football that last sentence probably means nothing to you and the Super Bowl is just a really long block of commercials, a half time show, and a little football in between.

So who are we watching?

  • This year we will be seeing the AFC Champs, a.k.a the New England Patriots, and the NFC Champs, a.k.a the Seattle Seahawks, battle it out for this season’s championship game.


New England Patriots

Tom Brady #12, Quarterback

Rob Gronkowski “Gronk” #87, Tight End

Julian Edelman #11, Wide Receiver

Danny Amendola #80, Wide Reciever

Darrelle Revis #24, Cornerback


Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson #3, Quarterback

Marshall Lynch #24, Running Back

Richard Sherman #25, Cornerback

Kam Chancellor #31, Strong Safety

Bobby Wagner #54, Linebacker

FOOTBALL LINGO: What does it all mean?

  • Incomplete pass – when a throw falls to the ground because either no receiver could catch it or it was dropped by the receiver
  • Penalty  – when one of the teams (offense or defense) breaks one of the rules set in place. This usually results in some sort of punishment like extra yards – usually 5, 10, or 15 depending on the type of penalty. If the offensive teams get penalized then they have to move the ball more than 10 yards before gaining the 1st down again. If the defensive team gets penalized then it usually results in an automatic 1st down for the offensive team. For specific penalties (if you really want to learn more about football, here is a list of common penalties – http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/common-penalties-in-american-footb…)
  • Challenge – an action that can be carried out by the coaches if they disagree with a decision made by the referees
  • Red zone – the name used for the 20 yards right before the endzone area
  • Offense – the team that is in possession of the football and attempting to score
  • Defense – the team that is defending their endzone and attempting to stop the offensive side from scoring
  • Fumble – the act of losing possession of the ball while running or as a player is being tackled. Once a ball is fumbled, it can be recovered by either team
  • Line of scrimmage – an imaginary line on the field (usually yellow) that shows the location on the field where the football is & where the offense and defense will start the next play
  • Punt – when the football is kicked to the other side of the field, usually after the offensive team fails to gain the 10 yards they need after a 3rd down.
  • Down – the chances that each team has to move the ball at least 10 yards where they will gain all of their downs back. The offense gets 4 downs to do so and if they fail they must surrender the ball to the opponent, usually by punting the ball away on 4th down.
  • Rushing – when the offensive team moves the ball down the field by running, not passing
  • Sack – when one of the defensive players tackles the quarterback, which results usually in a loss of yards

BASICS: How does it work?

  • The game is divided into four 15-minute quarters with a break for the half-time show after the 2nd quarter ends
  • A coin toss that happens before the start of the game decides who gets the football first! If a team wins the coin toss, they can decide to run the football first or deflect to the other team. If they deflect, the other team gets the ball but the winning coin toss team gets the ball to start the second half of the game.
  • Each team has 3 timeouts that they start each half with (they get all 3 time outs back once the 2nd half of the game starts)
  • The clock stops running when (a) one of the teams takes a time out (b) 2 minutes are left in the 1st half (at the end of the 2nd quarter) & at the end of the 2nd half (end of the 4th quarter) (c) a penalty is called (d) a player runs out of bounds (e) the quarterback throws an incomplete pass
  • The coach of each team can challenge a play or call by the referee during the game
  • However, if the coach loses the challenge (the call/play isn’t overturned) then that team loses one of their timeouts.



When it comes to the field where football takes place, it’s always better to have a visual!

  • The field is divided into 10-yard increments because the objective of the game (besides scoring touchdowns & winning) is to move the football at least 10 yards at a time before your team runs out of downs
  • The offense has four chances (downs) to get at least 10 yards toward their end zone with the ball
  • Numbers you might see appear on the screen while watching the game….1st & 10, 2nd & 5, 3rd & (insert however many yards you have left to reach the next down)
  • The first number indicates which down they’re starting (first through fourth) and the second indicates the number of yards they have to take the ball to get the next down (10 yards or fewer unless penalties or lost yards are involved).
  • Please be aware that the yellow (computerized) line is where each down begins depending on the location of the play following the previous play!



Touchdown – 6 pts


  • After touchdown options

  • 2 pt conversation – worth 2 points (obviously) this is essentially the offensive team trying to score another touchdown except it’s worth 2 pts.

  • Extra point – worth 1 point


Field goal – 3 points

  • Kicker for the Seahawks – Steven Hauschka
  • Kicker for the Patriots* – Stephen Gostkowski (not to be confused with Rob Gronkowski, as seen above)

Safety – worth 2 points

  • This happens when the ball carrier gets tackled in his own end zone



When you might want to start screaming (yes, we football heads know they can’t actually hear us, but it’s just the way it works)


When “your” team scores

…and I use quotation marks because – let’s be honest – you’re only cheering for them for the day



This essentially means when one team has the ball and, through a twist of fate, the other team gets it. This is where you either go:



Oh, and if your team wins…but that was a given!



Victoria is a junior psychology major with an international studies minor at Siena. She hopes to spend the rest of the her life traveling the world & exploring different cultures. After graduation, she plans to join the Peace Corps (if she gets accepted) so she can live out her life being a humanitarian. When and if she ever returns to the states, she plans to attend graduate school to become a mental health or drug & alcohol counselor.Words to live by: "The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." - St. AugustineTwitter - @frayraymousInstagram - frayraymous
Dihcole Lieu is a Junior Psychology and Creative Arts double major who also dabbles in a bunch of clubs and activities on campus. She prefers Dii (dee), is always seen walking around with headphones on and squinting when people are waving to her. You'll see her at all the basketball home games with the Pep Band and in the choral performances on campus. She is usually down campus running around to different meetings for the several clubs and organizations she participates in. ~"People are like butterflies, they don't see their own beauty that everyone else sees."~twitter: @tiny_diiinsta: @thinkbutterfly
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