Scrolling Headlines:

UMass professor wins big on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 23, 2017

SGA president selects new vice president -

January 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball blows 15 point fourth quarter lead, loses in double overtime to George Washington -

January 23, 2017

UMass club hockey falls to NYU 3-2 in first game back from vacation -

January 23, 2017

Cyr: Expectations for UMass men’s basketball remain consistent throughout 2016-17 season -

January 23, 2017

The death penalty is not the answer -

January 23, 2017

Donald Trump is gutting journalism with his Twitter -

January 23, 2017

Winter break’s most overlooked releases -

January 23, 2017

Hardly anything in ‘Rogue One’ scores a direct hit -

January 23, 2017

Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

Super Bowl 101: Your guide to the ‘Big Game’

Juliette Sandleitner/Collegian

Watching the Super Bowl is very much a communal activity. You’re apt to find an eclectic mix of people, all with varying levels of football fandom celebrating the game at any one of the countless viewing parties held throughout the country. Whether you’re a grief-stricken New England Patriots fan or not, if you’re anything like the record-setting 111 million Americans who tuned in to watch professional football’s biggest spectacle last February then you’ll likely find yourself watching again this year.

But if you’re not necessarily one of the pigskin diehards at your respective party this year, fear not. I am here to help get you through what can often be a very long and confusing night. You might even be able to impress a few of your friends.

The Basics

This year’s Super Bowl is being held at the Superdome in New Orleans, and it features a matchup between the Baltimore Ravens (in white) and San Francisco 49ers (in red). Both of these teams are very physical and employ strong defenses. You can probably expect to witness a concussion or two, so be prepared to engage in a discussion on violence in football during injury timeouts. As such, you might be facing a relatively low-scoring affair, and games of that caliber tend to be a bit more boring for the casual fan. Be ready with auxiliary discussion topics just in case.

If you find yourself surrounded by Baltimore fans, you should be prepared to hear about and discuss the following cast of characters: John Harbaugh (coach), Ray Lewis (linebacker), Joe Flacco (quarterback), Ed Reed (safety) and Ray Rice (running back).

For San Francisco fans, the list includes Jim Harbaugh (coach), Colin Kaepernick (quarterback), Alex Smith (quarterback), Patrick Willis (linebacker) and Aldon Smith (linebacker).

What’s that, you say? Both coaches are named Harbaugh? Yes, that is because they are, in fact, brothers. By the end of the game you’ll wish they weren’t. Be prepared for anyone and everyone to harp on this “Harbowl” storyline. A lot.

Another major discussion topic for Ravens fans will be Ray Lewis, maybe the best linebacker to ever play in the NFL. His baggage is extensive: a connection to an Atlanta murder in 2000 (he plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice in exchange for testimony against friends also connected to the murder), the recent revelation of his alleged association with performance enhancing drugs and his pending retirement after the game. Win or lose, expect to hear plenty of both hyperbolic praise and defamation of this complicated NFL figure. You’ll probably see a lot of crying and/or praying from Lewis during the game as well. Flacco will also be discussed at length because his contract is up after the season, and a Super Bowl win would likely earn him a substantial pay raise.

49ers fans will likely be focused on the play of Kaepernick, a second-year player who has surprised analysts with his play in relief of the injured Smith. Much will be made of the decision to bench the now-healthy Smith, especially if Kaepernick struggles during the big game. Also, for those of you who remember him from his days playing in New England, veteran wide receiver Randy Moss will be looking to cap his Hall of Fame career with a Super Bowl ring.

Things to say

Here’s a brief list of observational quips you can make to sound more knowledgeable: “Colin Kaepernick runs the pistol offense so well”; “Ray Lewis isn’t even the best linebacker in this game, Patrick Willis is”; “Did you know Jim Harbaugh and Ray Lewis were teammates in Baltimore back in 1998?”; “Ed Reed is going to bait Kaepernick into a rookie mistake, you’ll see”;  and “Aldon Smith isn’t as effective when Justin Smith isn’t playing well.” Just be sure to appropriately plan your comments around gameplay to avoid looking clueless.

Other viewing tips

Super Bowl halftime shows are usually pretty awful, but Beyoncé is performing this year, so you’ll have that to look forward to. Also, don’t be too concerned if you miss a commercial; they all end up online after the game and are never as good as they’re made out to be. Lastly, make sure to tune into Puppy Bowl IX, airing on Animal Planet all Sunday long. You can thank me later.

Confused? Scared? Don’t worry. When in doubt, keep your eyes open and keep Wikipedia up on your phone or laptop and you’ll do just fine.

 

Leave A Comment