Your Guide To Knowing What You’re Talking About At A Super Bowl Party

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Super Bowl XLIII imageThe Super Bowl airs this Sunday, so if you don't know anything about it yet, you're running out of time to ingest that information and you need to read through this post-haste to avoid looking and sounding like an idiot at whatever party you go to this weekend.

Oh and by the way, that was your first lesson, that the Super Bowl airs this Sunday. And here comes your second one, so think fast — the Super Bowl is football. If you didn't know that, you're in worse shape than I thought.

But don't despair, I'm kind of right there with you. I don't follow football (or any sports at all, really) throughout the year, but I can't resist a near religious ceremony honoring the sacredness of the chicken wing, so I inevitably roll into a party and hide myself away in the corner with a heaping plate. But wings can only last so long, and stomachs can only stretch so much, and sooner or later you will be expected to socialize with fellow wing-eaters around yourself. So rip open a series of wet-naps, clean up your slob mouth, and come along with me on a Journey Of Knowledge.

1. The Game

This is Super Bowl XLVIII (forty-eight, for all you peons out there like me who struggle with Roman numerals), and will be held at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, February 2nd, 2014. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:25pm EST.

It's the first Super Bowl ever to be played outside in a cold weather environment (thanks, Polar Vortex!), the first in which two cities (New York and New Jersey) share hosting duties, and the first in almost forty years to be played on artificial turf.

And most importantly, it's only the second time in the past twenty seasons that the two top-seeded teams from their conferences will meet at the championship.

2. The Teams

Those two teams are the Denver Broncos, the league's top-ranked team in offense, and the Seattle Seahawks, top-ranked in defense. Both teams finished their seasons with thirteen wins and three losses, aka even if you don't care about football, it's quite the match-up.

If you want to drop names, that will spur more knowledgeable people into conversation and not require too much of you, you might consider the Broncos' Peyton Manning, so famous that even I've heard of him. He's in his sixteenth year with the NFL, but still had one of the best seasons of any quarterback ever, so…talk amongst yourselves.

Russell Wilson for the Seahawks is probably also a good bet. He's only in his second year as quarterback, but people seem really impressed with him. There's also the ‘Legion Of Boom', or LOB, which is the team's secondary, made up of Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor…and Richard Sherman.

Crabtree pushing Richard Sherman's helmet January 2014 GIF(via)

3. The Controversy

If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because Richard was the subject of a controversy after the game that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. He has an ongoing issue with another player, Michael Crabtree, and went straight into an interview after intercepting a pass to him and essentially winning the game for his team.

I've written it all up in better detail here, but basically people called him a ‘thug' for not being sportsmanlike, which felt unfair and racially-motivated to a whole lot of people (including Sherman), given that he's is currently getting his Masters from Stanford while also playing pro-ball. Quite the multi-tasker. And definitely worth a few rounds of conversation.

4. The Halftime Show

Halftime is being headlined by Bruno Mars, with a little visit by the Red Hot Chili Peppers as well, since this is the late 1990s. But feel free to talk about Beyonce‘s aggro-faces from last year, when poor Michelle Williams popped up out of the stage like a jack-in-the-box, or when they had to carry frail old Madonna around the year before that.

5. The Commercials 

And finally, the commercials– my personal favorite part. You can either wait  for them to crop up on their own, or get acquainted with some in advance. Like these ones that have already been aired, or this one by Ellen DeGeneres, which is just as charming and wonderful as you'd expect.

Now go forth! You're prepared! Just don't ask me anything about the rules, because that information simply will not stay in my head.