Beginners Guide To The Super Bowl

Beginners Guide To The Super Bowl [Friday Five]
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Beginners Guide To The Super Bowl [Friday Five]

It seems pretty silly to have to explain football, but just in case you have forgotten what you learned in PE class in school. Am I the only one who had to take written tests for PE? It never made sense then, but I guess they had to have some written stuff to grade more than just your participation score.

Most moms are thinking about the entertainment end of things.  Despite just having spent an enormous amount of time and energy on Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, we are gluttons for punishment.  Somehow we’ve forgotten the amount of work that has gone into feeding a houseful of people.  We somehow make the excuse that it’s not that big of a deal.  Somehow because 90% of the food we eat on that particular Sunday are finger foods, it doesn’t seem like work.

On mom’s shoulders is the responsibility to find things for the kids to do while usually the daddys of the family are in front of the game.

Here are 5 things + two bonus tips to make your Super Bowl watching experience more enjoyable, in case you actually get a chance to sit down and watch:

1) Each team has eleven men on the field.

It’s basic information, but there are twenty-two men on the field at a time.  They face each other on the line of scrimmage.  The eleven who “have possession of the ball” are the offense.  They are trying to move the ball down the field to score.  The other eleven trying to stop them from scoring is the defense.

Offense consists of:

  • Quarterback – the person who tells the other players what play they are going to run.
  • Center – starts the play by giving the ball to the quarterback.
  • Tackles – Left and right side of the field, block along with the center so that the quarterback can run the play without getting hit.
  • Guards – Left and right side of the field, block along with the center and tackles to protect the quarterback.
  • Tight End – can either be a person who can catch a pass or helps block for the quarterback depending on the play that is called.
  • Wide Receivers – run patterns on the field so the quarterback can throw the ball to them if they are open.
  • Full-back/Running Back  – starts behind the quarterback and tries to get open so that the quarterback can throw to them.
  • Half-back/Running Back – starts behind the quarterback and tries to get open so that the quarterback can throw to them.

Defense on the field consists of:

  • Middle Linebacker – is usually the player in charge of the defense, helping them adjust to cover all the players on the offense.
  • Tackles (left and right) – rush the passer (if they can get past the offensive linemen blocking them), and stop running plays
  • Ends (left and right) – sides attack the passer or stop offensive players that go to outer edges of the line of scrimmage
  • Outside Linebackers (left and right) – often used to rush, or blitz the quarterback, or may need to cover a running back on pass plays.
  • Cornerbacks (left and right) – shadow the running backs on the offense and try to block them from scoring.  When a ball is overturned these players usually are the ones who catch a pass thrown accidentally thrown to the wrong spot on the field out of reach of the running backs.
  • Saftey Positions (left and right) – are the last line of defense.  If a long pass is thrown to an offensive player they try to make sure that it’s not caught.

Special Teams are any specialty players including:

  • Kicker – kicks the kick off kick and the Point After Touchdowns and Field goals.
  • Punter – kicks the ball on the 4th down to help get the ball down the field.  They also will most likely be the person who holds the ball for the kicker.
  • Kick Off Returners/ Punt Returners – many times are running backs who catch the ball and run the ball down the field to score.

2) When a team has possession of the ball they have four tries or “downs” to score the ball before the other team gets it.

The point of a possession is to move the ball at least 10 yards.  The offense must move at least 10 yards or the other team gets the ball.

It’s not a written rule, but most times when a team reaches the 3rd down without scoring they will kick the ball.  This is not however done by the kicker.  The ball is punted down the field instead.  This is most likely because after the 4th down (kick), the other team gets possession of the ball.  This is a good strategy to get the ball farther away from the opposite team’s scoring end.

3)  There is more than one way to score points in a football game

A team can score when the ball crosses the goal line or goes through the goal posts.

  • 6 points – when they score a touchdown.
  • 1 point  – when they kick the ball through the uprights after a touchdown.
  • 2 points – when they run instead of kick the ball after a touchdown.
  • 3 points – when you kick it through the goal posts.
  • 3 pints – if you catch the ball in the endzone when you’re on defense.

Also there is a thing called a safety where they can score two points. A safety occurs when the offensive ball carrier is tackled behind his own goal line.

4) One thing that always puzzled me was when a team will decline a penalty.

I had to refer to Wikipedia for the answer to this so I could explain it correctly.  The simple answer is that a football team will decline a penalty anytime they think that the loss of down with the result of the play is better for them than rerunning the down and taking the penalty yards.

5) The Super Bowl came about because there used to be two football leagues and this was a way to see who was the best team in the country.

The first Super Bowl was played January 15, 1967.

  • Bonus tip 1: If you’re completely lost in trying to follow the game in smaller pieces.  Focus on one player or one position.  See if you can try to figure out what the person is doing during the game.
  • Bonus tip 2: Watch Hard Knocks on HBO. It’s a documentary series about a different team each year leading up to the start of the football season. It’s a great way to learn about players in the league.

Are you planning to watch the game?  How would you rate your understanding of football?  Let me know if this has been a helpful #fridayfive post in the comments!

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About Patty Gordon 383 Articles
Mommy Blogger | Patty Gordon California SAHM: 📚educating the littles. 🍷living an enriched mom life. 📝sharing product reviews. 💌 Find more at my blog:


  1. I love this. I’m from Ireland, but I’ve watched a few Superbowl games with a friend of mine who’s from the US. It’s definitely a difficult game to understand at first, but this is really helpful 🙂

    • Considering how many people in the US watch the game, I literally had to look things up to figure it out and I’ve been watching football for about 35 years now!

      Glad it could help you kinda figure it out. My husband played football in high school so he knows a ton about it. I hope I got to spread a little of that out to everyone else since I’m forever asking him questions about it.

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