(RNN) – If you know nothing about football – or can't tell one Harbaugh from another – this is for you.
Super Bowl parties are known for a several things, including ignorant people who think first down means the drunk guy who passes out first and gets all sorts of untold horrors drawn on his face. They usually openly discuss their disdain for a sport they know nothing about (or worse claim to like it and then spout total nonsense) and claim to be interested in the commercials despite talking while they are on.
Don't be this person. You will lose friends.
Instead, read the following five tips to sound smart and stir up debates that will likely be more entertaining than the game.
Nothing will kill your credibility more than asking "what is a first down?" It should be illegal to ask this question while watching a game.
Teams get four downs to move the ball 10 yards. If they don't, the other team takes over. If they do, the downs reset, resulting in being awarded a "first down." This is also why teams generally punt on fourth down, because they are afraid if they don't get the yards they need, their opponent will be closer to scoring than if they kick.
If you are at a large party, someone will ask about this. Don't dignify them with an answer. If you must acknowledge them, snort in derision and tell them to look it up. You'll save yourself a lot of time and energy. Also, if you had to read this to know what a first down is, you will explain it wrong.
The first down is the only idiot-proof rule football has. The network broadcasting the game – this year it's CBS – will even digitally impose a neon yellow line on the field. If the guy carrying the ball reaches that line, it's a first down. They will always go out of their way to tell you the line is "not official," but it's rarely wrong.
Similarly, a touchdown is when either team reaches the large painted section of the field they were facing when the play started. It's worth six points, and they get to follow it up with a kick worth one point or a regular play that can be worth two. A field goal is worth three points, and is a scourge on humanity.
Don't cheer for field goals. They are weak and pathetic, unless they come at or near the end of the game. If that happens, they are beautiful and exciting.
John and Jim. Jim and John. John coaches the Baltimore Ravens (they wear purple and black). Jim coaches the San Francisco 49ers (they don't wear purple and black). John is older. You can decide for yourself who is better looking.
They are not only the first pair of brothers to coach against each other in the Super Bowl, they're the first pair of brothers to be NFL head coaches.
Someone at the party will announce their intention to "cheer for Harbaugh" or that they "think a Harbaugh will win." Don't be this person.
Someone will say this, and it is highly likely that voice will come from inside your TV. Ever since Lewis announced his retirement, people have been tripping over to each other to state his greatness. Some have called him the greatest linebacker to ever play and some have said he's the greatest defender to ever play.
Neither is true. Lewis is a great linebacker – one of the best ever – but to say he is the best bar none is overstating it. There's no need to bring up his, um, criminal record, just throw out names like Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Lawrence Taylor. You don't even have to know who they are, because the people who say Ray Lewis is the best ever obviously don't know who they are, either.
The absurdists in this category will say he's the greatest defensive player ever. When this happens, just say "Mean … Joe … Greene." Greene had a stellar career, a great Super Bowl commercial and his alma mater's sports teams are called the Mean Green. Coincidence? Well, maybe.
Just mention his name, and then walk away. You won.
You can even have a little fun with this and say that when you look at greatness in a position it's Lewis' teammate Ed Reed that is greater in the pantheon of his position – safety – than Lewis is at his. But, this is approaching graduate level. You may just want to stick to the entry level stuff.
Colin Kaepernick has become a sensation since taking over as quarterback for San Francisco in the middle of the season. He took over when Alex Smith was injured, and Kaepernick's athleticism ran Smith – and opposing defenses – off the field.
Smith was effective as the starter, and if he hadn't been injured would likely have never been replaced. Now, because of Kaepernick, trade rumors have Smith ending up in Arizona, Jacksonville or New York after the season. He's reportedly seeking a release from the team to pursue those options on his own.
Kaepernick is the latest in a string of athletic, running quarterbacks that are becoming a growing trend in the NFL. Michael Vick is still the most famous of these, but Cameron Newton and Robert Griffin III have advanced the cause.
Still, though, Kaepernick is the first to lead his team to the Super Bowl and did so with a 181-yard rushing performance earlier in the playoffs. That's an NFL record for rushing yards gained by a quarterback. And he can throw, too. (He could have played professional baseball.)
Defenses have a hard time with a quarterback who can both run and throw because it adds an extra dimension to an opposing offense. The Ravens are known for their defense, so the matchup is a good one.
Any party is almost guaranteed to have people cheering for different teams. Find them and use the above talking points to get them going at each other. Then just sit back and watch.
You are never guaranteed a good game, but the arguments will never disappoint.
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