Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Super What?! A Guide to the Superbowl for Non-Football Fans!

As most of you know the Super Bowl is in just a few days!  But not everyone watches football all season long and by the time the Super Bowl comes around they're clueless as to what's going on.  So if you're invited to a Super Bowl party or if you're hosting one of your own it's always a good idea to brush up on some football terminology before the big game on Sunday!

Super Bowl Facts
  • Super Bowl XLVI (46) will held on Sunday, February 5th, 2012.
  • Kickoff will be at approximately 6:30pm EST
  • New England Patriots (NFC champions) vs. New York Giants (AFC champions)
  • The game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • The Patriots, as the AFC representatives, will have the home team advantage
Football Terms You Should Probably Know

Pigskin - That would be the football.
The Gridiron - The football field
Yard Equivalent to 3 feet or 36 inches.  This is a unit of measurement of the field.  The field itself is 100 yards. 
End Zone - This is the area that the teams are trying to get the ball to.  There is one on each end of the field and you will find the goal post on each side.  Whenever the team gets the ball into the end zone they score a touchdown (worth 6 points).
Line of Scrimmage - In football there are two lines - offensive and defensive.  This is the spot on the field where the offense and defence line up with the ball in the middle to get ready to start the next sequence.
Touchdown: When a team scores by touching down the ball in the end zone by either carrying it in or catching it.  A touchdown is worth 6 points and after the scoring team makes a touchdown they have the opportunity to add an extra point by kicking a field goal or two extra points by going for a 2 point conversion. (A 2 point conversion is run just like a regular play.  The scoring team will either pass or run the football into the end zone again and if they succeed they are awarded two points.)
Field Goal - When a team kicks the football through a goal post.  If the team successfully completes the field goal attempt after scoring a touchdown they are awarded one extra point.  If the team completes the field goal attempt without scoring a touchdown they are awarded three points.
Field Kick - The kick that awards them the three points as described above.
Quarterback - This player is generally the teams star player.  He is in charge of throwing or passing the ball.
Down - The offensive team has 4 chances or downs to get the football 10 yards down the field.  Each time they pass the 10 yard mark they are awarded a 1st down.  If the offensive team does not succeed in gaining 10 yards in 4 downs the ball goes back to the other team.  This is called a Turnover on Downs.  So for example, if the offensive team gets a 1st and 10 this means this is the first down and they have 10 yards to go to gain another first down.  If the offensive team is 2nd and inches it is a second down and they have just inches to the first down.  And if the team is 3rd and goal that means this is their 3rd down and they are within 10 yards of the end zone.
Passing Play -  This is a play where the Quarterback either runs the ball himself or pitches it to the Running Back (the player that runs the ball).
Receiver - The person that catches or receives the pass.
Incomplete Pass - When the Quarterback throws the football and it is not caught.
Interception - A pass that is successfully caught or intercepted by the other team.
Fumble - When the player has possession of the ball and drops it before scoring or being tackled.
Play Action Pass - This is just a fancy way of saying fake out.  The Quarterback will pretend to hand off the ball so the defense will follow the guy with the pretend ball and give him a little extra time to either throw it down field or find a gap to run the ball.  
Snap - The players bend over at the line of scrimmage and when the ball is snapped they jump up and head chest first into the player in front of them.  The Center (the player in the middle of the bending lineup) passes the ball between his legs to the Quarterback or player standing behind to start the play.
Play - The sequence that starts after the snap and ends when the ball is either scored, fumbled, intercepted, or if the player is tackled.  Then the next sequence or play starts.
False Start - The movement of a player before (or sometimes after) being signaled or otherwise permitted.  So in other words, when a player moves past the line of scrimmage, into the other teams line up, before the play starts and the ball is snapped.
Kick Off - At the start of the game, at half time or after a score, one team kicks the ball off of a tee at their own 30 yard line.  The other team catches it and tries to run it back to the end zone. 
Onside Kick - A kickoff in which the ball is is carried just far enough, at least ten yards, to be recovered legally by the kicking team.
Punt - This kick is not kicked off of a tee like the kick off.  The player drops the ball and kicks it as hard as he can down the field to make the other team chase after it.  Once it's caught by the other team it is their job to run it as far down the field as they can, trying to get to the end zone.  
Touchback - When the punter kicks the ball far enough down field the receiver on the other team can catch it in the end zone and kneel down or if the ball is not caught but ends up being kicked into the end zone, the receiving team is allowed to start at the 30 yard line.  
Blitz - A defensive play where the players attack the offense by rushing one or more players who are not defensive linemen.  This play is used to put pressure on the quarter back to force him to either throw the football abruptly or throw it away.
Sack - When the quarter back is tackled before he is able to pass or throw the football, behind the line of scrimmage.  This results in a loss of yardage, so wherever he is tackled is where they will have to start the next play.  The offensive team will also have travel more yards to gain a first down. ( Ex. If it's 1st and 10 and the QB is sacked and loses three yards the next play will be 2nd and 13)
Tackle - When a defensive player hurls his body into the body of the offensive player carrying the ball to try to knock him down to end the play.  If offensive players are not careful a fumble can occur!
Blocking- Unlike tackling this is used by defensive players to prevent offensive players from tackling the player carrying the ball.
Holding- Illegally restraining another player who is not in possession of the ball.  Holding is banned in most football leagues because it doesn't allow fair play and increases the risk of injury.  Holding by the offensive team results in a more severe penalty than holding by the defense.  While in the field of play it results in a 10 yard penalty or half the distance to the goal line when the offense is less than 20 yards between the line of scrimmage and the end zone.  If holding is committed within the offense's own end zone, the result is a safety.  If holding is committed by the defense the penalty is 5 yards and an automatic first down.
Red or Yellow Flag - If a yellow or red flag is thrown during the game that simply means the officials have called a foul and will usually explain what's going on right afterwards.
Do's & Don'ts for the big game

DO provide a lot of great food and drinks!  Tailgating food is always popular for sporting events so make sure there is plenty of beer, brats, burgers, chips and other goodies for your guests to choose from!  If you'd rather serve something a little healthier or something a little different there are tons of delicious recipes available online to get ideas from!  I posted a few scrumptious recipes for the big game just a few days ago!  You can find them HERE.

DO pick a team to cheer for before the big game and stick with them!  Do a little research on your new favorite team a day or two before hand and remember a couple key players and key facts about the team so you won't feel left out when everyone starts talking about their favorite teams!

DO get excited and cheer on your team but don't go overboard.  If your team is losing don't flip out or go nuts.  And if they're winning don't act pompous and arrogant, offer words of encouragement and stay positive!  The game's not over til it's over!

DON'T ask all kinds of questions in the middle of the game.  Again, do a little research so you're not completely clueless as to what's going on.  If you do have some questions wait until a commercial or until half time.

DON'T comment the whole time about how hot some of the players are.  Most likely you'll have a lot of guys at your super bowl party and they don't want to hear how hot Tom Brady is or how cute his butt looks in those tight uniform pants! ;)

DON'T talk about how excited you are for the halftime show or talk about how much you liked certain commercials, during the game.  Every party has that one person that talks way too much, try not to be that person!

Most of all have fun!  The Super Bowl is a very exciting experience and now that you know a little bit more about football, hopefully this Super Bowl will be the most enjoyable yet!  If anyone reads through and sees any mistakes (I'm no football expert) than please let me know! :)  Have a fantastic Super Bowl Sunday!!  Who are you rooting for?

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