The Non-‘Mericans Guide to the Superbowl
The Tolkien-Nerds Guide to the Superbowl
These are exciting times.
It’s hard to believe that we’re on the verge of receiving a trailer.
Some of you all have been here for the wild ride of early wild speculation regarding Amazons acquisition, Young Aragorn, the original Welcome to the Second Age Tweet. We’ve endured the highs of rampant speculation fueled by hope, and wild guesses fueled by fear. We’ve seen the drama of controversies, and we’ve ate up every detail. But what is clear that we’re fans of Middle-Earth from across the globe.
And as ‘Mericans are do, Amazon has given all ya’ll foreigners the middle-finger and have chosen to drop the trailer during the championship game of an ‘Merican sport during a sunday evening, when you lot should be sleeping.
Bu as we’re an international coalition of fans and many of you are the type (read, fanatic nerds) who would go to a midnight showing of a production to see it first rather than wait for a more decent hour, I thought I’d give those of you unfamiliar with ‘Merican Football yet want to watch the trailer as it drops a bit of a viewing guide to the game that it will be sandwiched.
For non-‘Mericans, the sport can seem a little perplexing especially when contrasted to the variety of football you are most likely familiar with. Instead of delicate boymen with perfectly coiffed hair jogging around a field and feigning injury when an opposing player breathes on them, you’ll be watching a team of overly muscled terminators in body armor comparable to advanced militaries playing a game with an egg shaped ball, slamming head-first into each other over and over again. But ‘Merican Football is much more than tight pants, Mjolnir Spartan II armor, and steroid abuse.
To break it down for you, ‘Merican Football is 90% mental, incorporating detailed strategy, real time tactical awareness, and emotional fortitude whereas the other half is a physical test of strength and endurance.
Let’s kick things off with some info about the National Football League. With 32 teams, the NFL is the biggest ‘Merican Football league in the US. Each year, there are a series of games played to determine which 12 teams reach the single elimination tournament playoff. The final 2 teams then play in the Super Bowl championship.
Though you may think ‘Super bowl’ sounds like an oversized piece of porcelain, to ‘Mericans, the Super bowl is bigger than the World Cup Final, the Tennis Grand Slam combined, and our collective waistlines. Each year millions of ‘Mericans gather round for 4 an epic hours of sport, television commercials and a halftime show featuring huge pop stars.
Football has a language of its own. To help you find your way around, like an ‘Merican tourist visiting a resort in a foreign country, here are just a few of the more common terms you’ll hear during the game.
The marked area at each end of the field that the ball must reach to score a touchdown.
When a player carrying the ball passes into this area, the offense scores 6 points. Why 6? Beats me.
An attempt made to advance ten yards or more towards an opponents goal line. Offense has four chances to make this distance, though on the fourth they may choose to punt, allowing the other team the opportunity to place offense, or if they are within sight of the end zone they may elect to kick a
A goal scored by a place kick when a team fails to achieve a first down after 4 attempts within site of the endzone. A play call chosen by cowards and Worth three points. Not to be confused with the
After scoring a touchdown, the offensive team can elect to kick a ball through the uprights, yielding one point, or attempt to run/pass the ball into the end zone, worth two points.
At the beginning of each half and after a score, one team will kick the ball off to the other. Imagine the scene in Braveheart in which the two armies dash at each other and you’re not too far off.
A plan of action used to strategically get the ball down the field – or by the defense to stop it.
When a defensive player aggressively charges the quarterback with murder in his eyes.
The goal of the offense is to move the ball down the field and score, either methodically to use up as much as the time in the game as possible to deny the other team the opportunity to play on offense, or as quickly as possible.
The on-the field General of the team. Directing the team’s offensive play and responsible for making on field tactical decisions such as whom to throw to or give the ball to, the quarterbacks are often erroneously considered to be the best looking player on the field.
Massive men. Like Sumo wrestlers, their job is to push defenders out of the way to make a path for running backs, or to prevent defenders from murdering the quarterback. The true, unsung heroes of the sport and the best looking people on the field.
Balls of muscle whose job are to run with the ball. Whether this is around, over, or through defenders is a matter of personal taste and style of play.
Pretty boy, prima-donnas who make a big show out of the handful of times per game they touch the ball.
The hybrid between a receiver and lineman. Respect and fear them.
Obviously, the defenses job is to stop the offense from scoring. The best defenses are rarely on the field because they can force the other team to punt in only three downs.
Huge, freakishly athletic specimens of humanity. I went to school with one who played several years in the NFL. I was a track athlete and this 145KG (330lbs in ‘’Merican) could beat me in a 40 meter sprint. Responsible for clogging up paths for running backs, and crushing the quarterback.
The counterpart to the quarterback and the running back. Large, quick, and responsible for managing the in-game tactical performance of the defense.
Small (at least for the sport). Fast. Their job is to prevent wide receivers from catching a ball without preventing wide receiver from catching a ball. Confusing? Welcome to the world of pass interference.
Offsides: The defense passed the imaginary line before the center (middle offenseive lineman) gave the ball to the quarterback. the offense is moved five yards forward) and repeat the down.
False Start: an offensive player crossed the imaginary line before the center (middle offenseive lineman) gave the ball to the quarterback. The offense is moved five yards back and must repeat the down.
Holding: An offensive player was a little too handsy and grabbed a defensive player. Can be arbitrary and missed by blind officials.
Pass Interference: a defender was overzealous in their attempts to prevent a wide receiver from catching a ball. Arbitrarily called by eager officials and often missed by blind officials.
Targeting: A (usually) defensive player hit another player too hard. CTE is part of the appeal of the game, guys!
Half time show
A big chunk of the fun of the Superbowl.
This year looks to be a heck of a show to anyone who grew up in the 90s and 2000s because this show was custom-built for you (except me, I was into alternative rock). Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige. That’s … [checks notes] … 43 Grammy wins on one stage at the same time!
Seemingly every 30 seconds, the game will be interrupted so companies can pitch their goods and services. Usually marks the start of new advertising campaigns for these companies. We’re not uncouth savages like you Europeans, and can handle interruptions so we can use the lavoratory or get more snacks.
Sports are more fun when you have an interest in the game. How do you feign interest? By rooting for one team over another. Fandom can be arbitrary given for any of reasons: Who your parents pulled for, where you are from, personal relationship with the team, or you simply like thier colors because they go well with your eyes. Let’s examine the participants:
Los Angeles Rams
They began play in Cleveland in the 1930s, before relocating to Los Angeles following World War 2. In the 90s, they abandoned LA for the gleaming metropolis of St. Louis, than high tailed it back to LA 2016.
Ah, Los Angeles. If you’ve seen any ‘Merican media, you have a 1/3 chance of seeing this city as LA, along with New York City, and Washington DC are the only cities depicted in our media because that is where the people who create said media live. What else can I say that you haven’t seen in Transformers, Escape from LA, or the Big Lebowski?
- It’s in LA: Hollywood! Glam! Cocaine! Breast Implants!
- Their Quarterback is a veteran who has always lost the big game, and now it’s his last chance!
- It’s in Los Angeles. Is anything in that city real?
- The football franchise has been all over the place: Cleveland, Los Angeles, St Louis, and now in LA again. Can you in good faith root for a team like that? Imagine if a Soccer club just up and left its town.
Hailing from Sinsannati, which is a city somewhere in Ohio, which is in the Midwest region of the United States, which is an area just west of the East Coast rather than in the actual middle of the country. They began play in 1968, and since then have amassed one of the worst win-loss records in the NFL.
Popular attractions in Cincinanata include the Rock and Roll hall of Fame… wait, thats Cleveland. Ok, I have nothing. Don’t go there.
- This franchise has never won a Super Bowl. Gotta love that underdog story, right?
- Look at those Tiger Stripe helmets. Leopard print wearers, eat your heart out.
- No one knows how to spell Cinsinantati.
- There is a reason no one else has uniforms with tiger stripes.
- It is in Ohio. They put the “Meh” in Midwest ‘Merica
And there you have it.
I hope I have given you lot a little something to help you understand what you are watching, alongside the caffeinated beverage of your choice as you patiently await the unveiling of the Rings of Power. Or you could simply just go to bed and wake up to the trailer.