Everyone watches the Super Bowl – husbands, wives, auto mechanics and beauticians. It’s the social event of the year. Of course, those who know little about football will try their best to blend in with the crowd, but often without success. Make the mistake of asking how many points a touchdown is worth (six), or if this is the first time an AFC team has met an NFC team in the big game (representatives from the two conferences meet every year), and the uninformed fan will get laughed out of the room. But, show up to the party armed with a handful of insightful bits of information, and any party guest can become the envy of everyone else trying to join the conversation.
Here are five things to help everyone look like a football expert during this year’s game from 'The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Understanding Football' author Mike Beacom:
1. Where is David Tyree?
The Giants and Patriots met in Super Bowl XLII, played in February 2008. The Patriots were 18-0 heading into that game and were heavily favored. The Giants pulled off one of the great upsets in football history, thanks in part to a catch wide receiver David Tyree made in the fourth quarter. That catch extended the Giants drive and led to the go-ahead touchdown. Someone in your party will recall the catch and Tyree, but no one will know what Tyree is doing today (he retired from football in summer 2010). Tell them that, among other things, he is a born again Christian and speaks out against same-sex marriages.
(See numbers 2-5 after the 'Jump')
2. Tom Brady’s shot at history
New England’s quarterback Tom Brady is making his fifth Super Bowl start – only Denver’s John Elway has started as many Super Bowls. If the Patriots win, Brady will join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only NFL quarterbacks to guide their teams to four titles in the Super Bowl era.
3. What’s in the name?
Few know that the term "Super Bowl" came from the late Lamar Hunt, who owned the Kansas City Chiefs. His team played in the first Super Bowl as the American Football League (AFL) representative. The NFL and AFL merged in 1970 and today the league has two conferences, NFC and AFC. At first it was known as the AFL-NFL Championship Game, but like many Hunt believed the game needed a name. According to legend, Hunt overheard his kids talking about their Super Ball and pitched calling the game the Super Bowl.
4. Correct your friends about Bill Belichick
Friends will point out that this is the Patriots coach’s fifth Super Bowl. That is true of Bill Belichick – as a head coach. He was an assistant coach for three other Super Bowl teams – the Giants in Super Bowls XXI and XXV, and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. Tell them that, technically, Belichick has coached in eight title games, not five. Another fact to know about Belichick – if New England wins, he will join former Steelers coach Chuck Noll as the only coaches with four Super Bowl titles.
5. Not just Peyton’s little brother
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has often been overshadowed by his more recognizable older brother, Peyton, who ranks among the best ever to play the game. But in terms of postseason success, Eli has the edge over his big bro. He has a 7-3 record in 10 postseason starts (Peyton’s record is 9-10). And if the Giants win, Eli will own more rings than his brother.