Get ready for Super Bowl Sunday
Next Sunday, chances are you and millions of other Americans will be invited (or forced) to watch the Super Bowl. Even if you haven’t paid attention to a full game of football in your life, there are plenty of things to enjoy about the big game, which pits the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers.
Here is a quick primer on what to expect on Super Bowl Sunday for the nonfootball fan.
Super Bowl storylines
When the conversation turns to football before the game starts, here are some talking points to know, so you won’t be completely out of the loop.
Brotherly love: The coach of the Ravens is John Harbaugh. The coach of the 49ers is his younger brother, Jim Harbaugh. It’s pretty rare for two brothers to coach against each other in a championship game at any level. The fact that it is happening in the Super Bowl is expected to be the biggest storyline of the game. Ray Lewis’ retirement: Win or lose, this will be the final game of Ravens’ middle linebacker Ray Lewis’ 14-year career. Lewis is well-known among football fans for three reasons. First, he is considered one of the greatest players at his position ever. Second, he has incredibly outlandish pre-game speeches and his signature pre-game dance, which can’t be described in words. Third, for pleading guilty to obstruction of justice after being indicted on charges of aggravated assault and murder in January 2000. Shooting for six: If the 49ers win, it will be the sixth time San Francisco has won the Super Bowl. The only other team with six Super Bowl wins is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
During any football game, casinos will post a series of “prop bets,” which are wagers people can make that have nothing to do with who wins or loses. For the Super Bowl, casinos post many bets to appeal to nonfootball fans. The following is a list of actual bets people will wager money on at casinos in Las Vegas or offshore gambling websites. Feel free to laugh.
How long will it take Alicia Keys to sing the national anthem? Will the opening coin toss land on heads or tails? Which team will win the coin toss? Will the team that wins the coin toss win the game? What color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach? Who will be the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player? Who will the Most Valuable Player thank first during his speech? Options include God, parents, teammates, coach and the ever-popular “doesn’t thank anyone.”
Advertising companies know more Americans watch the Super Bowl than any other television program all year, so they pull out all the stops to showcase their best commercials. For many veteran nonfootball fans at Super Bowl parties, the actual game is merely an interruption between commercials. Here are a few of the most memorable commercials from previous years, according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell:
McDonalds, 1993: Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird in an out-of-this-world game of HORSE. Budweiser, 1995: Frogs croaking “Bud . . . Weis . . . err. Incredibly simple but extremely memorable. Reebok, 2003: The Terry Tate, office linebacker spot featured a football player tackling people in an office. It was much funnier to see at the time than to read about now. Apple, 1984: It’s an iconic commercial where a person takes down “Big Brother,” in an allusion to George Orwell’s novel “1984.”
Want to just say ‘Forget football’?
Here are a few other activities you can enjoy if you absolutely refuse to watch the Super Bowl:
Go shopping: Super Bowl Sunday is an ideal time to shop for clothing, appliances and anything not related to food because the lines will be nonexistent. Read a book: If the rest of your family and/or friends are watching the game, consider using the free time alone to catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to read. See a movie: Same idea applies as shopping. It’s highly likely you will have the entire theater to yourself. Watch “The Puppy Bowl”: The ultimate in Super Bowl-themed counter-programming. “The Puppy Bowl,” which airs on Animal Planet during the Super Bowl, features dozens of puppies, from animal shelters playing around on a makeshift football field. It also features a halftime show with kittens, and baby hedgehog cheerleaders. Veterinarians and referees are on-site to make sure the game stays friendly. This show has near-universal appeal, as long as you don’t hate puppies.