The idiot’s guide to the Super Bowl 51

The idiot’s guide to the Super Bowl 51

Sport
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What is it? Who's playing? And who's the half time entertainment?

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The Super Bowl is the world’s biggest annual sporting spectacle – but it’s fair to say that it leaves many of us here in Australia scratching our heads.

After all – how many of us have up to four hours spare on a Monday morning to devote to a sport we don’t really know all that much about?

We know gridiron as the stop-start sport Americans play, covered head to in pads and helmets.

We know the Super Bowl as the event in which the half-time entertainment often delivers the global headlines, while the match itself often plays second fiddle.

But, in reality what we don’t know is enough to fill NRG Stadium in Houston (that’s where the game is being played).

So, here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know for the day.

When is the game?

The game is this Sunday in America, but due to the time difference will kick off at roughly 10.30am (AEDST).

Where can I watch it?

Unless you're planning to fly to Houston and watch the game there, the Super Bowl will be screened live on both 7mate and ESPN.

Who is playing?

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

The New England Patriots (who have won the title four times before) are playing the Atlanta Falcons, who have never lifted the trophy.

The Patriots feature the most well-known player of the modern era, Tom Brady, who will likely go down as the greatest player of all time.

If you don’t know who to barrack for, here is a quick guide to help you pick your team.

How does the game work?

While it’s finer points are extremely complicated, we will try and keep it simple.

In basic terms, a team has four plays called “downs” to advance 10 yards or more upfield.

If they succeed, they are given a fresh set of four downs.

The aim is to score a touchdown by catching the ball in the endzone or by running it into the endzone.

If they fail, they usually kick the ball away and make their opponents start their own attack as deep as possible.

If they are near enough to the goal line, they will probably attempt a field goal on that fourth down.

Field goals are usually attempted within about 50 yards and are worth three points.

A touchdown gives you six points and there is an extra point for a kicked conversion.

On the odd occasion, a team will elect to have one play to attempt to score what is effectively a second touchdown, which gives two points.

A lesser-seen safety – when a player is tackled in their own endzone – gives the opposition two points.

Who is playing at half time?

Lady Gaga will headline the show this year.

The half time entertainment has almost taken a priority over the game itself in modern times and is arguably one of the most scrutinised public performances of the year.

The hype around half time exploded in 1993 when Michael Jackson performed, paving the way for a number of famous performances since (for right and wrong reasons).

Let’s look back at some of the more memorable half-time shows:

MICHAEL JACKSON, 1993

PRINCE, 2007

BEYONCE, 2013

JANET JACKSON AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, 2004 (WHO CAN FORGET NIPPLE-GATE)

And of course, there is the gambling…

There are almost limitless bets you can place on the Super Bowl and you won’t believe how ridiculous some of them can be.

You can even bet on how long the national anthem will be sung before the game starts!

Here is a list of the some of the more obscure bets, including what colour Patriots coach’s jumper will be!

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