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Surviving Super Bowl Sunday

A crash course of the rules, fun facts and yes, even team hunks....

February 2, 2014
By SHAUNNA DUNDER HERSHBERGER - Lifestyles Editor ( , Times Leader

More than 45 percent of the NFL's fan base are women. If you happen to fall into that category, then this is your day! Super Bowl Sunday! Even if you're a fan of one of the 30 teams sitting at home, you're still excited to watch the NFL's crown glory of the season.

However, if you're a woman and you fall into the OTHER 55 percent, then read on.

As an avid football fan myself, I find it hard to fathom how anyone could NOT like football. But I do appreciate that I have many female friends who don't feel the way I do about the sport. Usually Super Bowl Sunday party crowds consist of a mix of fanatics, fair-weather fans and those who'd rather be doing something - anything - else but watching the game.

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Do the commercials save it for you? Some women watch the Super Bowl just to watch the commercials. According to Super Bowl snack facts published on, one out of 12 Super Bowl watchers is only there to watch the commercials, and it's estimated he or she will consume more calories than others out of sheer boredom. The Calorie Control Council and Snack Food Association report that the average fan will consume 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat just from snacks - that doesn't even include daily meals!

Well that doesn't sound very promising, does it? But if you're stuck heading to a Super Bowl party with your boyfriend, husband or group of football-loving friends, all is not lost. You don't need to hover over the guacamole or offer to run errands to retrieve food items. Instead, here's a quick, crash course in what you need to know to watch the game.


Fact Box

Super Bowl Fun Facts

$4 million - the cost of a

30-second commercial for

Super Bowl XLVIII. (For a

commercial during the first

Super Bowl, the cost was


$2,600 - the top face-value

price for a Super Bowl XLVIII

ticket, but prices are most

likely higher on the open

market. (Tickets cost $6, $8

and $12 for the first Super


185 - the number of

countries where the Super

Bowl XLVIII will be distributed.

The broadcast will also be in

30 different languages.

$92,000 - the amount each

player on the winning team

will receive. Each losing

player gets $46,000.

$25,000 - the estimated

value of the Vince Lombardi

Trophy, which stands 20 3/4

inches tall and weighs 6.7

pounds. It is made of sterling

silver by Tiffany & Company.

This is the first Super Bowl to

be played outdoors in the


This is the third time both

nicknames of the teams in

the game are animals.

(Chicago Bears-Indianapolis

Colts in 2007 and Denver

Broncos-Atlanta Falcons in


The Super Bowl has never

gone to overtime, nor has

there ever been a shutout.


The object of the game is to advance the football down the field by running or throwing to score a touchdown. The team with the football (offense) has four chances (called downs) to advance 10 yards. If they successfully get 10 or more yards, they get another set of four downs. If at any point they fail to make 10 yards in four downs, the ball then goes over to the other team.

I'm not going to get too technical about downs, so just remember that downs 1, 2 and 3 are running or passing plays, and 4th down is usually a kick.

Now I realize that this might already be too much to digest, but trust me, you'll at least want to have some knowledge as to why everyone starts whooping and hollering over a first down. Now you know what that means!


Please don't make the mistake of thinking that everything is a touchdown. A first down is not a touchdown. A sack is not a touchdown. Don't ask people after every big play, "Was that a touchdown?" A touchdown, worth six points, only occurs when a player enters the endzone with the football. You seriously can't miss the endzone - it's those big painted rectangles at either end of the field.

But wait a minute? I thought touchdowns were worth seven points?

No - a touchdown is worth six, but then teams must kick an extra point. Extra points are often automatic, thus bringing the scoring play total to seven.

Well, what if a team wants more than one point after a touchdown? Can they try something else?

Yes - a team has the option to attempt a two-point conversion. This is exceedingly more difficult than an extra point because it requires running another play to get into the endzone. Most teams kick the extra point unless they're down and there's not a lot of time left.

The other scoring option is a field goal. Sometimes teams don't make it into the endzone, but they get close. At this point, the team can kick a field goal, worth three points. FYI - some of these field goal kickers can really boom these kicks. Average field goals range between 30 to 45 yards. Anything over 45 sometimes becomes dicey, especially depending on the field conditions, wind and weather.

Some kickers are better than others. Here's a fun fact you can pull out to impress your friends: Denver's kicker Matt Prater this year set the record for the longest field goal in NFL history - a 64-yarder.


Just like you should not assume every good play is a touchdown, not every player is the quarterback. In this Super Bowl, chances are you know Denver's quarterback is Peyton Manning. And if you didn't know that, you probably still know who Peyton Manning is, as he's on the television every other commercial advertising for Papa John's, Buick, DirecTV, pretty much every endorsement known to man.

Anyway, the quarterback's job is to hand off or pass the football. He hands the ball to a running back and throws the ball to a receiver. The offensive line are the five guys lined up nose to nose with the other team's defense (the team without the ball). The offense and defense of each team can only have 11 players on the field at any one time.

On defense, there really isn't one spotlighted position like the quarterback on offense. Because offenses run plays that are a mixture of runs and passes, different parts of the defense need to work together to stop the offense from advancing the ball down the field.


Just a few housekeeping items:

1. Be prepared to be inundated with statistics the instant Super Bowl coverage begins. FOX is showing the game today, and its stat and graphic department has been hard a work crafting the appropriate numbers for important points in the game - winning percentage of the team who wins the coin toss, scores first or turns the ball over seem to be the standards we see every year. Pay attention to these facts - you just might learn a little something to help you in your viewing. On the other hand, they might be totally random and useless to every day NFL watching, but a little extra knowledge never hurt anyone.

2. You will notice a bright yellow line drawn across the field. This line is electronically imposed on the field by the television network and indicates how far the offense must go in order to get a first down. The key point here: THE LINE IS ELECTRONIC. Please don't embarrass yourself by suggesting that the yellow line is physically real! If you actually attend the game and sit in the stands, you will NOT see the yellow line. There is no "yellow line crew" to paint it or lift it up and move it. It's all television trickery - got it?

3. Don't expect to see any endzone dances or wacky celebration routines. The NFL will penalize a team for having too much fun - a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty. I don't know about anybody else, but I sure do miss some of the arm flapping and leg swinging dances of yester-year. But of course, a few individuals took things way over the top (like pulling cell phones out of their socks) and thus ruined it for everyone. This is why you may sometimes hear the NFL referred to as the No Fun League.

4. Identify early the team you're going to cheer for and commit to memory its colors. The Seattle Seahawks will wear white jerseys with dark blue pants. The Denver Broncos will wear orange jerseys and white pants. Here's an easy way to remember: the Seahawks are blue, and blue is the color of the SEA. Seahawks equal blue. I have no idea how to relate orange to a bronco, so just go with the sea analogy, and if you know one, you know the other by default.

Don't know who you want to cheer for? Chances are you have no allegiance to either team. You can't really root for the "good guys" or "bad guys" because there really aren't any. I know what you're thinking. Admit it - you're wondering which team has the better crop of attractive players.

Well, guess what, ladies? I'm here to help! The folks at compiled this helpful list of most attractive players for each team (guys, you might want to skip over this girly part):

Denver Broncos - #17 Brock Osweiler, backup QB (you'll probably see him a lot on the sidelines, as he never gets to play behind Manning); #83 Wes Welker, wide receiver (he's one of Manning's favorite targets, so you'll see plenty of him as well); #4 Britton Colquitt, punter (he and his pregnant wife made snow angels in the confetti after the AFC Championship Game - aawwwwww!); #58 Von Miller, linebacker (looks great in practice gear, better in a uniform); #5 Matt Prater, kicker (and he can kick it far too... remember the longest field goal in NFL history I mentioned earlier?); #31 Omar Bolden, cornerback (hello, biceps!); #87 Eric Decker, wide receiver (could be the next Mr. GQ).

Seattle Seahawks - #29 Earl Thomas, defensive back (calm, cool and very easy on the eyes); #25 Richard Sherman, cornerback (he can have post-game rants all he wants - I won't look away!); #18 Sidney Rice, wide receiver (tall, muscular and focused); #81 Golden Tate, wide receiver (because with a name like Golden, you better be fine!); #82 Luke Willson, tight end (this rookie has that wild hair that some women swoon over); #89 Doug Baldwin, wide receiver (a chiseled freak of nature); #3 Russell Wilson, quarterback (under that helmet is an adorable face your mother would love); #24 Marshawn Lynch, running back (when he goes into "beast mode", hearts go aflutter for this buff bad boy).

So there you have it - enough information to get you through your first Super Bowl as an actual interested viewer!

Of course, if this was all too much for you, Animal Planet is airing its 10th annual Puppy Bowl featuring romping puppies playing on an obstacle course starting this afternoon at 3. Or, if you're a cat person, check out Hallmark Channel's inaugural Kitten Bowl starting at noon today. Baby animals make everything better - even Super Bowl Sunday.



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