The Super Bowl: What You Need to Know Before 3:30 PM
So, hey. It’s the Super Bowl. No idea what’s going on? Neither did my Facebook friend, who had a perplexing Costco experience this morning.
“‘Perfect day. Cold, gray, gloomy, 2 p.m., place will be MINE,’” he thought. “Nope, the parking lot did not give it away. However, pretty sure that I figured it out as being either (1) Costco is now handing out samples of meth, or (2) there is an event in the not-too-far future that I should know about.”
Here’s what you need to know to get by and maybe even sound like you know what you’re talking about:
This is Super Bowl XLVII. (47.)
The San Francisco 49ers will play the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans. Baltimore is in Maryland, which is on the East Coast, by Virginia and whatnot.
The Ravens have only existed as a team since 1996, when the guy who owned the Cleveland Browns at the time announced he would move the team to Baltimore. A couple-a lawsuits later, Cleveland got to keep its team (the Browns brand, anyway), but he got to keep the contracts and players, and he called them the Ravens.
The 49ers used to be really good, thanks in large part to a quarterback named Joe Montana. Then they sucked for a long time. Now they’re alright, except their uniforms still suck.
Both teams are undefeated in previous Super Bowl endeavors – but the Ravens have only played in one, while the Niners have won five. Both are coached by a guy named Harbaugh — they’re brothers — which is why everybody’s chest bumping to exclamations like “Harbowl!”, “Superbaugh!” and “Super Harbowl!”
…Or rolling their eyes condescendingly about the plebes who are still on that whole schtick after two whole weeks since the phenomenon was born.
My recommendation is the chest-bumping, and Super Harbowl, because sports are supposed to be fun, goddammit, and Super Harbowl is the best of the puns.
Ray Lewis is a linebacker (big strong fast guy on defense) for the Ravens. He’s retiring this year, so everyone is all, “Aw, that’s nice that he gets to play in the Super Bowl.” Except for all those people who, despite his skillz on the field, can’t get past the fact that he most definitely murdered some guys with some other guys in 2000 and testified against his buddies in a plea deal.
Bountygate: Everyone in New Orleans is mad at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell because the New Orleans Saints had a shit year after he busted them on paying players “bounties” to take out (injure) players on opposing teams — which resulted in the season-long suspension and excessive pouting of Saints head coach Sean Payton. Four players and some other people were also suspended. This was the first suspension of a head coach in NFL history and some of the harshest sanctions a team has received in the NFL’s 92 years. The players’ suspensions were ultimately vacated (which means they get paid), with the onus being placed on the coaches — so the folks in New Orleans are, like, “Hey, you ruined our season for nothing.” They are crazy sports fans, so disregard. Concussions are bad.
49ers Quarterback Controversy: Usually, the same quarterback plays all the time unless that quarterback is injured or the team is really sucking. Quarterback Alex Smith had been playing really well in the past few seasons, giving the Niners a little hope that they might not suck as much as they had been.
Then, Smith suffered a concussion. Enter: Colin Kaepernick, the team’s back-up quarterback, who is apparently quite good. There was that awkward moment where nobody knew who the coach would put in, and then he just played the better guy because it’s football and not PBS. Now he’s the starting quarterback and Alex Smith is looking for a job.
Who to root for. Look. No matter what any douchebag in a jersey with a bunch of stinking facts says, peoples’ sports alliances are not only totally arbitrary, but downright emotional. Football may be tough, but fans are a bunch of bleeding-hearted sissies.
So go ahead and root for the team whose uniform you like (-1 Niners), the one with the fewest 100% guilty murderers (-1 Ravens), the team with the cutest quarterback (+1 Niners — Ravens QB Joe Flacco is literally the most vanilla player in the league, like he would probably be an accountant if he could make as much money doing that, but you know, maybe you’re into that), the team you think will win (49ers are favored on the books in Vegas, which is a fancy way of saying the odds are better that they’ll win, if you were going to bet on it, but gambling is bad so don’t), or whatever other criteria you choose. And tell anyone who tries to argue with you to fuck right off, because that will make you seem like a legit sports fan.
Also an acceptable answer: “I’m a sports atheist.” It is customary, then, to root for the underdog because again, bleeding hearts.
Or: “I’m really just not that excited about either team this year.” (Although this is what every single person in the world is saying this year, so don’t say that, because it’s been overdone.)
And remember: All the douchebags in jerseys are regurgitating what they heard on ESPN — or straight making stuff up.
Sports people really like to mark the importance of things by saying, “This is the first time ___ since ___.” For example, this is the first time two brothers have coached against each other in the Super Bowl since ever. Most of these stats are like getting into the Guinness Book of World Record for being the person to have organized the largest Where’s Waldo flash mob on a Tuesday afternoon.
The ones who really know their football are the guys in reasonable shirts who know a lot of history facts and calculate their credit card tips to round to the nearest dollar. You can tell because they will eagerly explain the origin of the “Tuck rule” to you, should it come up, not to make you feel dumb, but because they are super excited that it has come up and that somebody asked them to explain. (These are the moments they live for.)
So get out there and regurgitate shit, bump chests and eat stuff. This is supposed to be fun.
Bonus fact: All the commercials call it The Big Game because the NFL operates like a mini fascist dictatorship. They will send you to the gulag if you use their copyrighted language without
bribing them with purchasing the right to be an official sponsor for approximately one billion dollars.