It’s time for Super Bowl LIV! Of course, there’s so much more to this particular game. Between all the parties, the food, and let’s be honest, lots of yelling, there’s a bunch going on. And there will always be people that just watch the game for the funny commercials or the halftime show, but when you understand what’s happening in the game, it just makes the whole event so much more interesting.
Contrary to popular belief, most girls actually like football. Personally, my family and I are die-hard Steelers fan (I’m not kidding. These people have Steeler logo tattoos on their bodies) so I’ve been watching and breathing the sport since I was born. And while it’s disappointing that my team isn’t in the big game this year (next year boys!), I’m still excited for the biggest Sunday of them all.
For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to get into the game before, now’s your chance! In order to help everyone that has any questions about the sport, I have a compiled a short guide of key players, positions and penalties to be aware of for this Sunday’s game, as well everything else that will help you be ready to upstage anyone who says a girl doesn’t know her football!
Alright, let’s start with the basics:
Any Rules I Should Know About?
Basically, football is about getting the ball as far down the field as quickly as you can. There is a lot of strategies, running, and rules involved, and essentially, each time an offensive team takes control of the ball they get four “downs” to try to advance the ball at least 10 yards to the endzone. If they don’t make those yards, the other team gets the ball. Seem simple enough?
Here are a few other important rules that result in penalties:
Pass Interference: Pretty self-explanatory. It’s when one player interferes with another’s ability to catch a pass. Illegal Contact is a less serious version of this because it generally happens before the ball is thrown. Both result in a first down when committed by the defense, and a loss of 10 yards when committed by the offense.
False Starts and Offside: These are when players move before the center snaps the ball to the quarterback and the play begins. It is a five-yard penalty for both offense (false start) and defense (offside).
Holding, Illegal blocks: These sounds exactly like they sound like. It’s illegal for players to grab hold of each other in some way and impede how they play. There are various forms of illegal blocking that result in differing penalties.
Targeting: When a player lowers his helmet and hits another player in the head or neck area. This is a 15-yard penalty for either side.
Roughing the Passer: They don’t come up with very creative names in the NFL. If a defensive player engages in rough or dangerous play against the quarterback, such as hitting him too high, low, late, or hard, will result in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
Of course, there are so many more rules to talk about, but I’m linking another useful guide here that will go more in-depth about every one of them! Or if you want to go right to the source, here is the official Football 101 from the NFL.
First of all, you definitely need to know who’s playing. This year, the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the San Francisco 49ers in Miami Gardens, Florida. Both teams were the best of their conference this year, but the road to the Super Bowl wasn’t without it’s bumps for either of them. They each lost star players during a grueling time during the season, but both managed to persevere and earn their spots as the best in their leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
The Chiefs made their way to the Super Bowl by coming back from double-deficits twice, first beating the Houston Texans 51-31 in the divisional round, then defeating the Tennessee Titans 35-24 in the AFC title.
Quarterback (player that throws the ball)- The Chiefs’ quarterback is Patrick Mahomes. He is widely considered the best quarterback in the league, and in just his second season there is already talk about him being the most talented quarterback in NFL history. Mahomes is an incredible athlete capable of making plays with his legs, where he actually takes off downfield or gives his receivers more time to get open. He will be a key factor on the Chiefs’ way to victory.
Tight end (player who is a receiver and a blocker) Travis Kelce is considered one of the two best ends in the NFL. He has caught at least 80 passes for at least 1,000 yards in the past four consecutive seasons, the most for any in the history of the league.
Wide receiver (player who eludes defenders to catch ball) Tyreek Hill is arguably the fastest player in the NFL, and the best big-play threat in the league right now. He and the quarterback connect on more deep passes than any other receiver combination in football right now. Once he gets moving, it’s over for defense.
Running back (player who runs with the ball) Damien Williams missed several weeks due to an injury during the season, but he has almost completely taken over the backfield in recent weeks. He is an excellent pass-catcher, which makes him a good fit on offense. Although the Chiefs don’t run the ball very often, they are usually very efficient.
Safety (player who is the last line of defense) Tyrann Mathieu is one of the best and most versatile defensive backs in the league. Nicknamed the Honey Badger, he may be pretty small for a defensive player, but he is a big, strong hitter that also has excellent coverage.
Fun Fact: The Chiefs are trying to end the second-longest drought between championships in NFL history, their latest win being in 1969!
San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
This year the 49ers made easy work of their NFC opponents on the way to the Super Bowl, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 before moving on to beat the Green Bay Packers 37-20.
Quarterback- The 49ers quarterback is Jimmy Garoppolo. He served as Tom Brady’s backup for several years, before being traded to San Francisco in 2017. Garoppolo is a good, but not a great quarterback who instead is a complement to their dynamic running game rather than being its main focus on offense. It’s likely the 49ers will need much more out of him if they want to beat the Chiefs.
Tight End (player that both receives and blocks) George Kittle is a dynamic receiver and one of the NFL’s best blockers. He is nearly impossible to tackle in an open field due to the combination of his size, speed, and strength. He is a key to the 49ers running game and is arguably the best tight end in the league.
Cornerback (player who lines up on wide parts of field) Richard Sherman is a former Super Bowl champ from the Seattle Seahawks, is one of the smartest players in the league. He is more than willing to engage in trash talk and is very noticeable on the field for his long dreadlocks.
Wide Receiver (player who eludes defense to catch the ball) Deebo Samuel began the season as a part-time player before coming into his own in the second half. He is very dynamic when the ball is in his hands, and if the 49ers try to run any kind of trick play, expect Samuel to be involved.
Defensive Linemen (prevent offense moving closer to endzone) on the 49ers may have the best defense in the league. It includes Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and others. Bosa will most likely be Defensive Rookie of the Year and a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
There are obviously more notable players on each team, but this list is a good start.
Fun Fact: The 49ers offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers is the first ever woman to coach in the Super Bowl!
When is Super Bowl LIV?
Super Bowl LIV (which stands for 54) will be on Sunday, February 2, 2020. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET., and 3:30 p.m. PT.
How do I watch it?
The Super Bowl will be broadcasted through the following channels:
Stream: fuboTV (try it for free and stream live on any device!)
Kansas City is favored to win by one at the time of writing this. That means betting experts generally think it will be an incredibly close game, but that the Chiefs are the slightly better team at the moment. Odds aren’t everything though, and there have been plenty of underdog Super Bowl stories!
And the Most Important Question…
Who is Performing in the Half Time Show?
This year, Jennifer Lopez is the star of the show! J-Lo will also be accompanied by Shakira, and I’m sure it will be a great performance for the start of the decade.
Whatever you plan on doing this Sunday, whether it actually be watching the game or just tuning in for the commercials (but if you made it this far, I hope you know enough now to be vaguely interested!) I hope you have a fun and safe time participating in the most-watched event in the nation. Whoever you’re cheering for and whoever wins, let’s just hope for a great and fair game!